As promised, more about Budapest and my love for this city especially in not knowing how I would feel about it. If you must know, I had chosen it because the price to fly into Budapest was less expensive than other cities I was thinking of visiting. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with this city, so much so, that I know it is one city that I will want to visit again and again.
What is it about this one city that had me fall in love with it? What is it about it that moved it to the top of my list of favorite cities in Europe that I’ve visited? It isn’t just one thing I can pinpoint and say that is why I love this place. It is many things; metro system very easy to use, able to figure out where places are without a map, food and distinct differences between Buda and Pest but loving both sides.
Where to start on my journey through this amazing city? It should help if you know where I stayed in case you want to look it up on a map to see where everything is that I walked past or stopped in to explore. Staying at Maverick Hostel was the best choice since it really is centrally located. It is on the Pest side near Elizabeth Bridge. Basically you walk out the door of the green gate to the hostel, walk towards Vaci Street which is the next block over and you can’t miss Elizabeth Bridge. While staying here, I used the bridge as a reference point on getting back to where I was staying.
One of the places that I found was really close to where I was staying was Central Market. Of course, I would find it on accident. I remember walking down Vaci Street on Sunday since I had time to kill before I could check into my room. Anyway, at the end of this street was this building and I had no idea what building it was since I didn’t go through the building that day. At the time, I thought maybe it was a train station LOL. Not sure why I thought that but I did. Now the next day, I was walking around the area where I was staying and found the same building. As you can guess, this time I took the long way around since I was exploring and coincidentally found it along this walk. Yes, it would have been easier to walk straight down Vaci Street to it but at the time I didn’t realize it was the same place when I was walking away from the hostel to see what else there was in the area around Maverick Hostel.
Upon reaching Central Market; I found out it has three levels to it. The ground level which I didn’t spend any amount of time walking through had Hungarian products and came across more of smaller sections of a grocery store. I think they had products such as cheese on this level. As I walked up to the main level which I spent a fair amount of time walking through had stalls upon stalls upon stalls around every corner of this floor. Can you imagine seeing meats, cheeses, pastries, fruits and vegetables all in one place but not at the same stall? You would see someone selling meat where the meat was hanging down in front of the stall and another person would be selling fresh fruit. It was amazing to see all of this literally spread out before you. I have never seen so many stalls in one place….
After I got done walking through this floor, I wound my way up to the next floor or the top level if you will. Here is where you would find what I like to call the food court and souvenir shopping. I didn’t buy any food from here but wish I had. Maybe next time I make it to Budapest I will have to stop in here for lunch and spend all day walking to each stall to see what is being sold. Seriously, I am not kidding; you can spend all day here and still not see everything.
Besides finding the market by accident; I was able to make my way to the Ruin Pubs which is something I had heard of when I was doing a bit of research before my trip. As much as I wanted to do this, I knew I didn’t want to go alone. I ended up hanging out with one of the girls staying in the same room as me so we headed to Szimpla Kert to check it out. You might be asking yourself ‘what are Ruin Pubs’? They are formerly abandoned buildings that have not been renovated but have been turned into a place to serve drinks. Szimpla Kert has more than one pub located in the same area… Two stories so we started on the 2nd floor where we tried Palinka which you have to take as a shot. It isn’t something you should slowly drink. Oh and before we went to Szimpla, we stopped at this place for dinner where I ordered what I thought would be a white Russian and it turns out it was straight up vodka. It turns out there wasn’t any place you could order a mixed drink or what I like to call a foo-foo drink. As you can guess, I ordered orange juice to mix with the drink.
Another place I visited while in Budapest was Matthias Church. It isn’t on the Pest side so one guess as to where it is located. You would be right if you guessed the Buda side. It is located on Buda Hill and no, while I was there, I never did walk through the castle. I did see Fisherman’s Bastion but the Church is the only place I walked through besides walking through Castle District and trying one of the Langos for lunch. That is for another time to talk about the amazing food I had when I was in the city. I highly recommend walking through Matthias Church if you get the chance to go there. Be prepared to walk up a lot of steps unless you take the Funicular up to the top of Buda Hill. I didn’t take the Funicular to the top since I wanted to get as much walking in as I could and am so glad I did.
As you can see there are many things to love about Budapest…. There was a lot more about this city that had me falling in love with it with every step I took. I have yet to talk about walking through the Basilica to my time spent on Margaret Island.
You will need to check back later for part three of Passport to Budapest where I talk about more of my time spent in this enchanting city.