Or how to visit Budapest and see neither the Castle nor the Parliament
I have visited Budapest once before, as a child, but don’t remember much from that trip. This time we went to Budapest for a Lindsey Stirling concert, which took place at the Sport Arena. I wasn’t too familiar with Lindsey and her work but he wanted to go and I wanted to see Budapest so, hey, why not! Since I already mentioned her, I have to say a few words about the concert first.
I was crying for the first 10 minutes of the show. Which means it was great. That’s kind of my thing, I am very sensitive to people with musical talent, whether they are great at singing, dancing or playing some kind of an instrument. And Lindsey’s talents? Well, she will amaze you by playing the violin while dancing, at the SAME time. As if playing the violin wasn’t hard enough itself, Lindsey does it with such an ease that even if you do not believe or regularly talk with God, after seeing her perform, you got to ask him- “Really? You couldn’t give ME some of that stuff?” I have this thing with musical talents… I do not have them. At all. But I can’t live without music in my life. So, that’s kind of sad because all I can do is listen to the music and go to the concerts. And cry. Or sing karaoke in front of my friends and make them cry (not for the same reason). Ok, that’s enough about my non-existing musical talents, let me tell you a thing or two about the topic I know something about- traveling.
What I like to do when traveling – top 5
In this post, I will write about my most recent travel, the one to Budapest. But before you start reading, please know that I will not mention famous sites such as the Parliament or the Castle because we all know they are there and they are beautiful. Plus, I cannot really tell you anything that’s not already said on the Internet about these attractions. And, if I want to be completely honest, it’s because I haven’t even seen them. I had one day in Budapest and I was going to spend it doing what I like, not running from one tourist site to another just to take a photo in front of it. And what I like to do when visiting a new place is:
- see something different,
- try something new,
- roam around the city and
- hopefully get lost. 😊
So, this is a story about my day in Budapest or we can just call it –
How to visit Budapest and see neither the Castle nor the Parliament?
We came to Budapest on a Sunday night. Even though we had planned to grab a late dinner, by the time we came to my friend’s place it was already too late for that. Slightly exhausted from the trip, we decided to call it a night and wake up early to be fresh and make the most of our day in Budapest. I woke up at 7 am, 2 hours before the scheduled alarm clock. Obviously, I was too excited and didn’t want to waste time on sleeping. The first thing, we took a walk to the nice and cosy coffee shop/breakfast place that our friend recommended. We were told Kelet Kavezo is a place to go in Budapest if you want to read a book, work on your laptop or have a nice conversation with your friends over a coffee or a cup of tea. And that’s exactly what it is. They also serve breakfast all day and you can choose from a few types of sandwiches, soups and cakes, if you have a sweet tooth. All the food is served with a special touch and it is unique in some way. You should try their homemade lemonade with a green apple. It is served in a huuuge glass, which I loved since in most places I always have to ask for a refill.
After a filling breakfast, we continued on to the green bridge above which stands impressive La Citadella- (Hungarian word for some type of fortress). The walk to the fortress is not particularly long, but the hill is straight-up and if you are not in a good shape it can be a bit of a challenge to hike up. However, that shouldn’t deter you, it is completely manageable and you have a few spots with benches to rest and enjoy an amazing view while hiking to the top. Reaching the top is completely worth it for the view overlooking the city, the Danube river and bridges. From up here you can fully enjoy Pearl of Danube’s entire beauty.
This is me, making a souvenir out of my 5 forints. It’s super fun, all you have to do is to put 200 forints into the machine and twist the handle. Machine presses the coin. What it comes out is your 5 forints in a shape of a souvenir with the picture of Budapest! Quite cool and cheap souvenir!
After the fortress, we went down to the bridge and walked over it. On the other side, we found the most amazing place in Budapest! Budapest has this huge and impressive…(I already told you it’s not the Castle)…market!!! I would say it is the second best market in Europe (sorry Budapest, but Barcelona is still winning here). If you are a meat lover, you’ve come to the best place in Budapest! The best thing about these huge markets is that you can eat great local food right there on the spot. If you are looking for something local and authentic, don’t trouble yourself searching Trip Advisor to find the best restaurant with “local cuisine”. Just go to the market. The vibe and the authenticity is much more than what you can get at a regular restaurant.
Abounded houses turned into cool ruin bars
If you haven’t been in Budapest, you probably don’t know about the “ruin bars”. At least I didn’t. So, what are the ruin bars? World War II heavily destroyed this beautiful city and took its toll on the buildings, which were left empty and in ruins. In the early 2000s a group of artists decided to take up the old building in old Jewish quarter and turn it into an artistic bohemian bar called Szimpla Kert. They decorated the place with all kind of abounded stuff- grandma’s chairs, old bicycles, furniture and plenty of other, unique details. It was a new concept made of old things. It was different and as such attracted the attention of an urban Budapest youth, soon to be known as hipsters. Not long after, new ruin bars started opening up in the old, abounded buildings of the Jewish Quarter, although the Szimpla Kert is still the most famous one. Today, this quarter is the city’s most vibrant and artistic neighbourhood full of art, culture and nightlife.
Strolling through the Jewish Quarter I was thinking about all the horrors that where happening here not so long ago… Yet, with a little help of the imagination and good will, today this place is the liveliest part of Budapest. Budapest is that kind of city where you just enjoy being in. Hopefully I will visit again soon, next time for longer… and maybe even get to see that Parliament.
If you are not a traveling hobo like me (perfectly understandable) and you are short on time in Budapest, the best way to see it, is to take one of the Budapest Sightseeing Tours.