I finished my last final exam for second year and had 3 days to pack and leave for Europe. Of course I spend 2/3 of those days seeing friends, and making the most out of the last few days. And classic me left myself only one day for all my last minute shopping, planning and packing. But your girl got it done! Budapest, here I come!!!
Welcome to my blog. I don't know what I'm doing. I am no professional blogger, not that good of a writer, and I don't know if people actually read this. But if you're reading this, I'm so glad you're here! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy my little travel journal entries! You can read about all my adventures, or just look at the photos! What I saw, ate and experienced and all the in between! Follow me on Instagram to see more photos and stories! :) Also stay tuned for my Hungary travel video!!!
Sunday, April 22, 2018:
We picked up my good friend and travel buddy, Emma, from the ferry terminal and headed to the airport! Getting ready to spend the next 24 hours in airplanes and airports. Woooooo! Our 10 hour flight to Frankfurt only had one word to describe it: long. I watched a couple movies, slept, slept some more. Thinking sleeping knocked off atleast 2 hours from the plane ride, I wake up to find I only slept for 15 minutes. Did that a couple more times. Eventually, we hit the ground. It is now Monday evening. Finally, haha!
WHO I'M TRAVELLING WITH:
Emma and I joined our university's Hungary Field School, which is a Study Abroad program that we applied for last fall. Basically we do a course all of spring's semester and then take our case studies to Hungary and get to visit the university and students here! We started off in Budapest just to explore and visit, before heading to Pécs where we actually have to do coursework. I'll be making a separate post all about Pécs, so watch out for that!
We checked into our hotel, got the CUTEST window seat and view, and went out for some late night exploring. Emma and I were on a new high! Jet lag had nothing on us! We woke up bright and early the next morning, to Budapest by George Ezra, and joined our group to begin touring the city with our Hop On-Hop Off bus tickets!
WHAT I SAW:
Eventually, Emma and I left the group and went out on our own to explore the city. It was BUDA-ful!!! There are two parts to Budapest: Buda and Pest, divided by the Danube river, Europe's 2nd longest river. We spent the first day exploring all of Buda and the 2nd day exploring Pest!
Some attractions that we checked off were:
- Buda Castle
- Matthias Church
- Fisherman's Bastion
- Heroes' Square
- St. Stephen's Basilica
- Hungarian Parliament: the third largest Parliament building in the world!
- Budapest Eye
Fisherman's Bastion (top)
St Stephen's Basilica
Budapest is named one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and ranked as "the world's second best city" by Condé Nast Traveler. I couldn't agree more. There is so much culture, history and mesmerizing architecture all over the city. Walking the streets of the busy city, you see a bar or pub on every corner, filled with locals and tourists alike with beers or wine in hand, whether it's 11am or 11pm.
WHAT I ATE:
Budapest is full of restaurants and pubs and there is no shortage of food options. Unless you're a vegetarian. The diet consisting mostly of just meat and potatoes, Hungary seemed to use a lot of pig meat in every dish, whether it was pork or lard. As the only vegetarian in the group, I had to resort to bread and cheese to fill my tummy. Being vegan for a year, I felt extremely guilty resorting to cheese, but it was the only way I was going to survive. However, we did manage to find some nice restaurants and vegetarian-friendly dishes in the area!
Some places we ate at:
- Tom Yum Andrássy Thai Food (best Pad Thai I have ever had)
- Drop Glutenfree Restaurant (best cappuccino eveeerrr)
- T.G.I Friday's
- Puli Restaurant
- Pesti Disznó Bisztró
- Vintage Garden
Overall, it didn't feel the most fitting for a vegetarian/vegan. Most places were able to make a vegetarian meal, however your options were very limited. I don't remember eating so many mushrooms than I did during this trip. Mushroom soups to mushroom based mains. There's more vegetables out there, folks! Maybe one day Budapest will up their vegan game like Vancouver!
WHAT I EXPERIENCED:
Budapest differs from Vancouver in many ways. Nightlife begins at 12am and goes on till 6am. Which is insane, but such a cool experience at the same time. The rule "pedestrians first" does not apply here. I remember being in a cab one evening and I felt like I was in one of those car chasing video games, where the driver was literally dodging bikers and pedestrians, without slowing down at all. I was holding my breath the entire ride haha.
Don't even get me started on cross walks. Apparently those are chosen to not be seen by drivers, so cross at your own risk, even if it's your turn to cross! Although the city is beautiful, the air is not so much. Unless you're a smoker, because you'll find everyone smoking, everywhere, at all times of the day. My lungs.
This may just be a European thing, but since this is my first time in the continent, I was shocked to find out that you are charged for water and to use the bathroom at a lot of places. Asking for a glass of water while you wait for your meal at a restaurant ends up costing you the same price of a soda. After being charged for water a couple times, we started ordering "tap water" instead of the fancy bottles of expensive water made of gold, apparently. And each time, we got a look of judgement or concern from the waiter. Lol. Sorry. We're broke. But, I am definitely not taking free water for granted when I return back home.
I was in awe of the buildings. And doors. I would pass all these buildings and each door was so different and had so much character. The different colours, shapes, heights, and styles always caught my eye. Some were vandalized, some were clean. But each had a unique story to them. I found the doors to be superrr cool.
Hungarian is hard. I picked up a couple words so that I was able to communicate with the local Hungarians, but damn, it's hard to learn. Here are the words I learned:
Thank you = köszönöm
Hello = szia
No = nem
I wish I was able to learn more, but I think knowing "thank you" helped me get by most of the time!!
My Overall Thoughts:
I would definitely recommend visiting Budapest, Hungary to anyone who is a new or experienced traveller. There were so many sights and attractions that I wasn't able to see, but still felt super happy and satisfied with what I did. It was a beautiful city, looking over both sides of the river, that offered so much culture, history and art. The parliament at night time was magical. Emma and I did a lot of walking around the city and it felt completely safe and fun at the same time! If you weren't satisfied with your day, you can continue your experience throughout the night time until 6am. The architecture here was unbelievably beautiful, and always left me mesmerized. We spent a total of 3 days here, so I'd recommend at least 3-5 days to see the whole city. Oh also, be sure to wake up to a dance party featuring George Ezra's Budapest every morning to get you all in the right spirits for the city!
After Budapest, we visited a little city called Pécs, about 3 hours outside of the capital city. It was the cutest little place I have seen and had many great options for food, nightlife, and relaxing. If you are interested in reading another blog post all about my experience in Pécs, comment below or send me a message! Make sure to subscribe to this blog so you are updated every time I publish a post! Also follow me on all the social mediaaasss to stay updated with my posts, videos, coffee adventures and life!
I really hope you enjoyed this! I have a video recapping the entire Hungary trip coming soon too! You can subscribe to my Youtube to be the first to know when it's out here.
Parliament at night
Till next time,