Wow is Budapest ever a beautiful city! I almost felt like I had already been there mentally from hearing years of Jesse’s trips out there with his family and having spent many a family dinner with them.
I instantly fell in love with the city and was reminded of how nice and helpful the Hungarian people are (especially when I was attempting to master my fifth metro system in 2.5 weeks)!
For this leg of my journey I stayed in the Wombats City Hostel which is located near the Jewish District. I also came to my senses and stayed in a four bed all female dorm which was a wonderful change from sharing with anywhere from seven to fifteen people in mixed dorms previously.
I arrived in the early afternoon and immediately hit it off with a solo traveller from Australia in my dorm which was awesome. Annie and I headed down to grab a drink from the bar – or an orange juice in her case (shoutout to the flu) and we ended up meeting two other solo travellers – one from Canada and another from Australia. It’s always nice to have a group to chat and hangout with in a new city!
We adventured out to grab dinner – a slice of pizza and then pad thai (so cultured, eh?) which we ate in the lobby of the hostel. This night I also got to FaceTime with the whole family for the first time since I’d left which was a nice piece of home. I ended up calling it an early night and I think I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow.
The next day I grabbed breakfast at hostel with Natasha (the second Aussie I met) and discussed our plans for the day. I went out and joined the Jewish district walking tour to see the synagogues of Budapest while I waited for Annie to rally and feel better for the afternoon.
The tour was very interesting with lots of information to attempt to absorb! It was really cool to see the synagogues and learn more about their histories.
After the tour, Annie and I grabbed lunch before going to join the afternoon general walking tour.
This was an excellent tour – we saw the majority of the must see sights on both the Buda and Pest sides.
That evening I went to grab a traditional Hungarian dinner with Natasha before she headed off the next day. We went to a cute bistro where I had nachos instead of a traditional Hungarian dish.
However, nachos over here were very different from those at home in which they were just tortilla chips and spicy cheese sauce. It was still really yummy though (because I’m very easy to please).
The next day after grabbing breakfast Annie and I headed out to the Gellert Baths which were incredible! It’s a huge stunning location with numerous hot and cold pools to pop in and out of. The best one in my opinion was the outdoor thermal pool which was just the perfect temperature to hangout in. The toughest one to stomach (as seen on my hilarious face below) was the pool that was only 18.2 degrees Celsius!
After leaving the baths we took a wander through the amazing Central Market Hall which is massive. There are hundreds of stalls across the three levels selling everything you could imagine wanting or needing.
I also found these delightful bottle openers that fit the tongue-in-cheek theme of this blog. Europe is wild, guys.
After we grabbed lunch (I had chicken paprishka with dumplings – so yummy) I headed out on my own in search of the Elisabeth look out tower on the Buda side.
I took the chairlift up and even the views from it were incredible – even though I kept having to turn around to Pest getting smaller behind me.
I took a wander around the park that’s at the top of the hill before starting my trek up to the tower.
It’s a steep climb on these awful wooden stairs that includes a lot of climbing over roots and huge rocks. It honestly seems like the stairs are never going to end!
You then finally reach the top of the hill and the bottom of the tower and then realize you’re going to have to climb more stone steps to reach the very top.
However, all of those steps were SO worth the panoramic views!
The stairs up to the very top of the tower and barely wide enough for one person to go up and are so incredibly steep, I was worried I was going to slip and come tumbling back down.
After getting my fill of the views, I started the trek back down the stairs and hill (the wooden stairs are even worse on the way down) to grab the bus back to Pest.
That night I just grabbed a chimney cake (with ice cream and Oreos) for dinner because I am a proper adult. It was delicious and I have exactly zero regrets.
The next day I was on my own so I decided I was going to spend my day museum hopping like the true nerd I am.
I started at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in the morning to learn more about the plights of the Hungarian Jews and gypsies. The museum itself was interesting but the grounds and the synagogue on site were stunning. My favourite part was a memorial of glass benches that each had a photo and story of an individual person or family that had died. It was incredibly moving.
I then headed to the Hungarian National Museum and took my time wandering through there. That’s probably my favourite part of travelling solo – no one can tell me when to leave museums or that they’re bored of being there! After having a coffee and some cake (my European diet), I started a slow wander through the massive building. I learned a lot about Hungarian history through the ages and it was fascinating because Hungary was never a country I focused on during my history minor at university.
After leaving the museum I went and got packed and organized for leaving for Croatia the next morning (I am currently writing this on the bus to Zagreb!). I then went and grabbed dinner from a fresh pasta place in the Jewish District which was incredible. You can truly never go wrong with pasta.
To end my last night in the city, I joined an evening walking tour to be able to see the city at night. I ended up befriending a couple from California (shoutout to Michelle and John if you are reading this!) and it was nice to have someone to chat with and share a few of my favourites from my quick visit to the city. Budapest is truly stunning at night with everything all illuminated. I’m happy that this was how I spent my last evening.
Budapest was fantastic and I will definitely be back in the future to do more of the things I did not have time for on this trip!
(My last view before hopping on the metro to the train station this morning!)