Passport to Budapest: Part One

I have traveled to many cities but never thought I would find that one city that tugged at my heart. That one city that had me falling in love with it at first glance…. Or make that a couple of glances after I walked through the city that first day. That is how I felt about Budapest!

Actually I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the city since I chose it because it was inexpensive to fly from San Francisco to Budapest versus other cities I wanted to see. It ended up being the best choice I ever made!

After choosing it, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to see while I was there. I mean, I knew there were a couple of things I wanted to see since I did a bit of research on the city after I purchased my plane ticket. Other than that, I decided I wasn’t going to purchase tickets for tours or anything like that. Those would be purchased after I arrived in the city if I saw something I absolutely had to see.

So now where to begin? I guess at the beginning is always a good place to start. My first moments in the city or should I say making my way to where I needed to be was upon arriving at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. Upon stepping foot off the plane, I found my way to the ground level where I was purchased a combination ticket for the bus and metro which I would need to get me near Maverick Hostel where I would be staying. It was actually pretty easy to take bus 200E and then switch to the M3. In saying that, I was nervous at first that it would be complicated or difficult to find my way into the city. Not at all…. It had to be the easiest transportation system I have found anywhere. The metro was especially easy to use….

Take note…. You need to validate your tickets before using the bus or metro.

Did you know that Budapest is comprised of two cities that merged together in 1873 to form one distinct name? Buda and Pest are separated by the Danube and even though they are now one city, they still have that distinct flair that helps you tell one from the other. Buda is more of climbing a lot of steps to get to the top and Pest is definitely on the flat side. But each one is special in its own right though I tended to stay on the Pest side while I was visiting the city. No, it didn’t have anything to do with climbing a lot of steps to see anything. I think it had more to do with wanting to see more on the Pest side while I was here.

A bit of a history lesson there on the city of Budapest….

After arriving at Maverick Hostel; should I say finding my way there? Come on, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t get a little lost trying to find my way around an unfamiliar city. It literally only took me walking past the big green gate, walking through Vaci Street, before I wound my way back to the metro to retrace my steps and find the gate leading to the hostel.  Usually I would panic in this instance but I had downloaded an ‘offline’ map I could use without using up any of my data. It took a few minutes but was able to guide me back in the direction I needed to be for the hostel. Sometimes maps are great in these instances.


In retracing my steps, I found the hostel, checked in, and then took off for the remainder of the day to explore some of the city. Why, you ask when I had been on a plane the previous day into the night and was extremely tired from lack of sleep? I guess because I was finally here and wanted to see something my first day before it got dark and I couldn’t see much of anything. Anyway, sleep is overrated…. It just means I will hopefully sleep through the night after walking through the city during the day.

Not sure where I wanted to go but ended up walking to Gellert Hill, via Elizabeth Bridge, and seeing the Citadella which is at the top of the hill. All I can say is that I didn’t realize how many steps there would be to get to the top of the hill. No, I didn’t count them, but I should have to see how far I walked to get to the top.  I still can’t believe I ended up walking 14.5 miles that day. What was funny is that I would walk in one direction up those steps thinking it would get me to the top faster. It might have but it always ended up being the harder way. For instance, sometimes I would take the steps when I should have climbed the steep slope to get to the top of Gellert Hill and vice versa. I will tell you that getting there was exhausting but more than worth it. The views from the top of the hill were amazing because you got to see some of the best views of the city from there.



What is it about Budapest that you love if you’ve ever visited the city? Is it the architecture that surrounds you as you walk towards one bridge to the next?


Is it the food you may have heard about and want to try while you are here?


Is it being in the city around the holidays and wanting to see what surprises await you as you walk down one street to the next? Will it be stalls being created right before your eyes that will hold souvenirs and food during the holiday season; stalls broken down again after the holidays are over?




Check back later for part two of Passport to Budapest.