The last stop on our Spring Break was most surprisingly my favorite city by far. Berlin has a cool hipster scene with loads of history to immerse yourself in. Prague is visually stimulating with an enticing nightlife. Vienna is pretty stuffy but still has lots of culture and history.
Budapest has character. The people were friendly. The shops were quirky, ranging from vintage floral shops to huge thrift stores that dreams are made of. Breathtaking views and a new cuisine to explore.
Our first night we went out to one of Budapest’s most famous “ruins” pubs. These huge old warehouses are converted into these bar/clubs and they are a wonder to be in. Walls are covered with strange art, tables adorned with candles and hookahs, there are huge open air spaces so you can’t tell if you’re inside or outside, and in this particular bar a black and white foreign film was being screened on a huge wall.. Apparently it was ranked the third best bar in the world. And it didn’t disappoint.
Fun Fact: Did you know the Rubik’s Cube is a Hungarian invention?
We went on a really great free walking tour on our 2nd day in Budapest. We learned about the pride that Hungarians have in their culture, history, and complicated language. Did you know the first metro line in Europe was built in Budapest? Now, it’s rickety rackety metal boxes strung together underground, but it serves as a reminder that it was the first one ever built. Hasn’t changed much.
After lunch and a quick nap, we decided to decompress at the famous Szechenyi baths.
For about 3 hours, Liza and I sat together in silence and we relaxed in the number of outdoor and indoor pools. We hopped in and out of pools that ranged in temperature and that were filled with natural medicinal water. We people watched. Surprisingly, there were a lot of people there who didn’t look like they were tourists. Like the group of guys with hairy chests that played chess in the pool. Or the old ladies that were running against the swirling water in a lukewarm pool (of course I hopped in there with them for a mini “work-out”). We left feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, like royalty.
The next day, we climbed Gellert Hill
Like so many things while traveling, the photographs are unable to do it justice.
On our way to St. Stephen’s Basilica, we ran into a market celebrating springtime.
Last stop- St. Stephen’s Basilica.
Budapest is Europe’s biggest hidden gem, in my humble opinion. I think there isn’t enough hype that surrounds this city. The city is so walkable, with so many activities to do, things to see, and a delicious new cuisine to try all at very reasonable prices. That’s why I think it is absolutely perfect for students traveling in Europe. GO to Budapest!