Budapest, Hungary in late January/early February is very very rainy, snowy and frigidly cold. But I loved every second of it. Even when my oxfords filled with water and my feet froze and I was forced to buy a pair of fleece-lined ankle boots, or when I went to the pharmacy because I started to get really sick and everything was in Hungarian and I couldn't find anyone who spoke English so I just bought some random medicine with oranges on the front hoping it was Vitamin C (the people at my hostel confirmed that it was) or when I went to go brush my teeth in the hostel bathroom and two people were, um, getting busy in the shower and it was super obvious. I still loved this trip and Budapest is a city I will forever hold fondly in my heart.
First, the architecture was absolutely magnificent. The country itself has had so many influences throughout the year so there was everything from Roman amphitheaters to Gothic-style Cathedrals, to Classic, Baroque, and Romantic styled buildings and then there's the Turkish-inspired baths as well (and so so much more). There are two sides of the city, the buda (think rolling hills, quiet and settled) and the pest (bustling, busy with restaurants and shops and flat) sides but were mostly stayed on the pest side since that's where most of the main shopping was and where our hostel was located. I tried so many delicious things from some type of ox meat (who knows what was even in it), to lamb with mushrooms, to goulash, to a very alcoholic trifle dessert and to stuffed cabbage and more!
The best part of the trip was definitely the thermal baths. The day that we got to the Szechenyi thermal baths (pictured below) it was snowing off and on and there was something so surreal about standing outside in a bathing suit while snow is coming down on you and swimming in a hot thermal spring. The whole spa day seems like a dream and was one of the best days I've ever had. Even if that is when I started to get horribly sick with a cold that lasted me for weeks afterwards. Worth it.
We did a lot of shopping at Zara during this trip because it was significantly cheaper than shopping in London. We sort of felt like queens after spending so many weeks in London where everything is so insanely expensive. The last day we went to the Great Market where there were soooooo many food options it was absolutely overwhelming. I had heard a lot about stuffed cabbage on our walking tour so I tried that but was absolutely obsessed with Langos (one of my newfound favorite foods). I obviously got a hungarian pancake as well, which ended up essentially being a rolled up crepe which means I loved it. I don't discriminate against crepe-like desserts.The very last thing we ended up doing before heading to the airport was checking out Szimpla Kert, a famous ruin bar in the city. Ruin bars were usually more than one floor and filled with cheeky, mismatched furniture and old pieces including antique-ish carnival ride pieces and bar stands.
Below are a few bits from my trip to Budapest.
How the people of Budapest are protesting a monument that they feel is "rewriting history." The hand made monuments are for people who were victims during the holocaust. On the state, the eagle is supposed to be Germany swooping down on a Hungarian symbol. Many people are aware that Hungary was once allied with Germany and don't like how the statue is portraying them as "innocent" and makes it seem like the Hungarian government is in denial. But you can read more about that here.
Looking across the river at the Buda side of the city.
Lamb with potatoes and mushrooms at Koleves.
Hungarian Parliament Building
Szechenyi Thermal Baths
Hungarian Goulash and then a traditional Hungarian trifle dessert and espresso for dinner and dessert on the last night.
View of the "Pest" side from the "Buda" side.
Stuffed Cabbage and Hot Wine at the Great Market Hall
Szimpla Kert, a ruin bar.