Buda – Pest
I feel like it has been years since Matt and I bought our interrail ticket. It’s been at the back of my mind for months, and we’ve been organising things here and there… I can’t believe the time has finally come! 😱
I’m currently writing this a day before we leave our first stop in our European adventure…Budapest. It has been a jam-packed last 5 days and a fantastic way to kick-start our 18 days around Europe.
I don’t usually like blogging when I’m away, but nowadays, I’ve found it even more therapeutic to do so. It’s also a nice way to reflect, as it has been quite a start!
We first booked our interrail ticket from the interrailing website at the end of last year, after browsing through the tickets and seeing that were on sale. I’ve always wanted to explore more of Europe, and doing a huge block in a short space of time sounded like an exciting adventure! Organising the most efficient route took a few sessions – there were times we found ourselves being very ambitious… turns out, Budapest to Athens to Prague didn’t make any sense. 😂But we got there in the end! Here’s what the first part of the trip looked like…
🎬 Budapest in under 4 minutes
Day One: Arrival into the city
Flying from East Midlands Airport, we arrived into Budapest at around 5PM local time. The flight was interesting! Apparently someone got engaged to on the plane and it seemed like no one was really sat down – it felt like an overly-excited bus on a school trip. 😂
When we arrived, we were greeted by our taxi driver who took us to our Airbnb. We thought that it would be easier just to organise a taxi beforehand rather than trying to figure out how public transport worked.
There was a bit of confusion on getting to our Airbnb and as a first-time Airbnb user, I have to admit I was quite nervous. We eventually got there in the end, after I embarrassingly rung different apartments 😅
We didn’t do much on day one apart from settling into our Airbnb and exploring our local surroundings.
Day Two: All the green space
I had planned each day with areas to explore and landmarks to see in each of those areas to ensure efficiency. When folks ask me how I do so much, this is it – excessive planning 😉
I started off the day with quick HIIT workout at the Airbnb; which really set off the day well!
On this day, we walked to Heroes Square, one of the most iconic squares which contain statue complex featuring the Seven chieftains of the Magyars and other important Hungarian national leaders. Around the area, we explored some gorgeous green spaces, Vajdahunyad Castle and spent most of our day at the Budapest Zoo.
I hadn’t been to a zoo in years, so it was quite a fun day looking and learning about the different animals.
Over 26,000 steps later, we called it a day!
Day Three: We-must-do-everything
Waking up with an achy body, Matt and I both wondered how we managed to get around the same number of steps for 10 days straight in New York. 🤷🏻♀️ After having some breakfast, we headed out to start another day in Budapest.
I hadn’t looked at my scheduled plan that morning and just went from memory. And I don’t know what it was but for some reason, we thought that we only had a day left in the city so made the decision to tick off as many landmarks as possible. And that’s what we did!
Our walking route was:
- Parliament Building
- Shoes on the Danube Bank
- Park Szabadság tér
- Deák Ferenc tér
- Elizabeth Bridge, crossing to the Buda side
- Gellért Hill (we hiked up here and found some fantastic green space to chill out! We also saw the Liberty Statue here)
- Castle Garden Bazaar
- Buda Castle
By the end, we were absolutely exhausted but pressed on with an exploration of Buda Castle via a bus tour. The whole palace complex showed off Hungarian Architecture and was swarmed with tourists (and locals I suspect as it was bank holiday weekend!)
The buses promised to take around 5-10 minutes at each stop, but ended up quite slow. This resulted in a few people getting quite frustrated, some folks even stopped in front of buses to try and get answers. 😨
There was one Filipino lady that we just couldn’t forget. I always find it cool hearing Tagalog around me! Anyway, this lady was so frustrated that she had missed a few of the hop-on-hop-off buses because she was too busy yelling at different drivers. It was hilarious to watch, but also I felt a little bad for her – she only wanted to get on a bus to the next step but was too busy being mad at the delays therefore missing her chance. 🤣
We quickly found that it is quite easy to walk around the Castle without the cars which made the whole thing even funnier. It was definitely a you-had-to-be-there moment. 😂
After we finished exploring the castle, we walked back down towards the Széchenyi Chain Bridge along the river to Margaret Bridge back to the Airbnb. Once we realised that we actually had more time than we thought, it was definitely a facepalm moment because we could’ve spread the activities a lot more – making it less exhausting. Oh well! 😆
Day Four: And relax
After two pretty hardcore days, we took things easy on our fourth day. We spent most of our day at the famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths which was built in 1913, with a cupola, massive swimming pools and massagers.
Before going to the Thermal Baths, we actually read up on reviews (bad mistake) which gave us quite a negative impression of the whole place. Although some of the reviews were right, I think that in the future, we’d like to experience things first and make a decision of our own before getting an idea from others. It turned out fine, and we both enjoyed ourselves in the end! The lesson from this was that reviews are useful, but always try it for yourself first.
Day Five: A gloomy day
Our final full day in Budapest was unfortunately colder than the other days.
In the morning we did make an effort to make the most of our remaining time and we walked to Margaret Island as recommended by Jade. Margaret Island reminds me of Central Park in New York – on the map it looks like it too! Except of course that it is its own island. 😆
We decided to do some exploring around the island via a tandem bicycle. Initially, I was driving but within seconds of being the main person steering, we crashed into the other bikes. The woman running the stall went up to us and asked if I could drive, I was honest; said no and she proceeded to angrily force us to switch. In my defence, it was difficult to control 😂
One of the first attractions in the park (if you’re coming from the Margaret Bridge) is the Musical Fountain, which is a water show in the fountain playing different kinds of music. When we were sat watching it, it was all Disney songs which immediately brought sunshine into my life. ☀️
Unfortunately, it started to rain and didn’t really stop for the rest of the day which was a shame. But it also gave us an excuse just to chill out at our Airbnb and organise our things for our train journey to the next stop.
Thanks for the memories, Budapest ✌🏻Here we come Vienna!