Bored in Budapest!?

So near but yet so far. There are some places that seem only a stone throw away, yet we've never walked on their paths. Budapest was such city for me, or perhaps the whole Hungary itself. I've visited it before, the country, but only slightly crossing the border to see a small town fair, everyone still speaking the language and let you use euros. So I proudly counted it as a piece of the world I've conquered, but I knew that those few hours didn't feel so genuine.
And while finding myself at the same place for way too long where things weren't going so smooth, I just needed a break from reality and ran away. To Budapest, my last trip of this year, the last trip of the decade.

Hungarian parliament palace

Taking a night bus I've arrived in the capital early in the morning, even before the scheduled time, and before the sun has risen. I found myself walking towards the city center, passing the stadium with great statue of eagle in front, park with photography exhibition and National university of public service. The place in the morning was really tranquil and leisurely exploring it around, I discovered a lake, adrenaline park, and several statues.

Groupama Arena

I continued with my walk and eventually made it to the Danube river. Looking towards Buda part of the city and hill with Liberty statue gave me a really fab first impression of city that was just waking up. I reached New Budapest gallery and Central market hall, firstly checking the stalls with traditional food. My place of stay was located in a building just across the street and high ceilings of an old apartment gave a special period feeling to it.

statue at Ludovika campus

When sun finally reached somewhere up in the sky, I joined one of the walking tours starting from Elizabeth Square. It took us through the old town center, admiring St. Stephen's basilica and beautiful architecture we passed on the way, after which we crossed Széchenyi chain bridge and reached the east side of the river, the more fabulous Buda quarter with the castle hill. We walked by the presidential palace and followed the main road ended by the Fisherman's bastion.

Matthias church and tower of Fisherman's bastion

The former lookout point built around Matthias church was redesigned at the beginning of the 20th century to celebrate 1000 years of Hungarian state, and is now one of the most visited places of city, with magnificent views over Danube river and house of the parliament. The image of last was one of the few things I knew about Budapest, and when the tour finished, I descended back to the river to get a full frontal view of majestic building. As the second biggest parliament palace of the world, covered in amazing architectural design, its reigning over the river is certainly breathtaking.

Hungarian parliament over the Danube river

Strolling around town you'll spot many structures with wonderful architectural details, and that of metropolitan library is just one of them. 19th century mansion in neo-baroque style acquired its today's function in early 30's, and while living and service rooms were turned into offices and stacks, the staterooms remained in their original glory. Ornamented ceilings, golden chandeliers and majestic fireplaces within saloons, dining and smoking rooms and ballroom, create an incredibly peaceful environment that can become your study place for only 30 € a year.

Golden room of Ervin Szabo metropolitan library

Deeply impressed (and jealous of people who can actually just go there on daily basis), I continued with my daily stroll. The weather wasn't the nicest, but that didn't stop me from climbing Gellért hill, with majestic Liberty statue on top of it. 46 m high lady holding a palm leave is there to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives for independence, freedom, and prosperity of Hungary.

view at Liberty bridge from Giellért hill with statue of  king Stephan

While the views from there could also be wonderful, rain kinda chased me away, and after a long journey I found myself on castle hill once more, where I visited Labyrinths that spread underneath, and served as wine cellars, shelters and prisons, where even Vlad the Impaler was supposedly captured.  Now they are turned into immersive attraction, full of dark corners, foggy air and historical figures that you can freely explore while muted operatic music is playing in the background.

view at parliament palace from  Castle garden bazaar

But what would a visit to a country be without tasting of some traditional cuisine. I garnished my evening firstly with langos, a fried pastry covered with garlic oil, sour cream and cheese. You can get all sorts of sweet and savory versions, but this traditional one is still my favourite.

Széchenyi chain bridge at night

And later on, we went out and tried some Hungarian spirits, beers and the whole culture of Ruin bars. Started in early 2000s when youngsters were looking for affordable places to hang out, the culture of turning old abandoned buildings into places of socialization and nightlife started, and the trend stuck and lives on to this day. With the most famous place Szimpla kert, that's like a little alley of different places, offering you food, drinks, shisha, various dance and live music, bars and outdoor decorated with alternative arts, plants and lights, creating a unique vibe where everyone can feel like they belong.

lights inside one of the Szimpla kert rooms

But even though Budapest is today a youthful spirited city with great nightlife, it wasn't always like this. In memory of times during and after wars, they opened a special place called a House of terror, where one can, trough very interactive and picturesque way, get an insight into the Hungarian life during the Nazi and communist times.

roof of the House of terror museum

The sad weather hasn't really helped wash away the sad feeling after all the stories, yet I decided to stroll down to the Heroes square, from where you have an incredible view down the Andrassy street. Located by the entrance to the city park it was a place worth visiting despite the rain. But I soon found the shelter in Vajdahunyad castle, located by the grand lake, where you can also find museum of agriculture. Right in the time of my visit they were having an exhibition of orchids. The main halls above grand staircase were to the last corner decorated with colorful blooms of all shapes ad sizes, with decor hanging from the statues and ceiling, surrounding the chandeliers.

orchids over the grand staircase

Warmed up with rain almost gone I walked around the lake to the other side of the park, where Széchenyi baths are located. Budapest is also famous for spa culture and its thermal baths all around the city, with Széchenyi probably being the most famous one. Although I didn't enter to enjoy mineral rich water, the beautiful historic building with warm feeling and hot springs vaporizing in the air charmed me anyway.

the Vajdahunyad castle

After a long day I decided to take metro for my return to accommodation. The transport system might seem a bit old, but certainly well organized, with wooden walled stations keeping their charm.

My last day was reserved for a visit to parliament. I reached a place by taking a beautiful tram ride along the Danube river, from where you can enjoy hilly panorama of Buda side. Being taken straight to the parliament palace's square, standing in front of the grandiose building made me once more realized how fascinating it truly is. Divided in two symmetrical wings, with grand entrance hall under the dome in the middle, while half of it is reserved for its political functions, the other wing is opened for tourists to enter magnificent halls, hallways and saloons where important functions were taking place.

main entrance of the parliament palace with the grand staircase and hall

Finishing my fulfilling morning, I wondered away looking for a delightful snack and by coincidence stumbled upon Szamos chocolate museum located on the south corner of the square. Hosting a beautiful collection of everything you could associate with chocolates, candies, pastry or afternoon tea, from production machines and molds to posters, tin cans and crockery, my favorite parts were impressive sculptures made of marzipan, including the life size statue of a lady, Hungarian state crown and detailed replica of house of parliament.

Parliament palace made of marzipan

Beside museum you can also find a chocolate shop and cafe offering all sorts of delicious cakes and pastry, and after admiring it for so long, I settled for wonderful piece of chocolate cake with caramel and marzipan that I enjoyed out on the sun between the Danube and the palace.

Not far from the parliament, by the river, there's also located one of the most powerful monuments. 60 pairs of iron shoes fitting men, women and children were created in memory of WWII victims. To these days people are bringing flowers and lighting candles on its side.

iron shoes memorial by the Danube river

Heading north to Margaret's bridge, you'll also reach Margaret's island, 2.5 km land of tranquility, where you can find sports center, parks and gardens, fountains, small zoo, ruins, hotel, spa and casino, open-air theater and different seasonal bars and restaurants. The little city getaway was especially charming with autumn coloured trees shading their leaves over paths, and a man playing violin among them.

water tower over the open theater
After such a long day, I treated myself with one final Langoš, this time at probably most recommended spot in town, Retró Lángos Büfé, where at a very affordable price you can choose variety of toppings. Located by Arany János utca metro station and square, I was also able to admire fantastic animal photo exhibition they were displaying there at the time.
A perfect ending to a wonderful getaway before the return journey from my last trip of the dacade began.


   




Comments

  1. Oh this trip looked wonderful, how spontaneous! I wish I could travel more. I wish I could park myself in Paris ( I have stepfamily there) and then travel around to other areas. Your photos are great and I am glad to see that Budapest is thriving and vibrant but yes one should not forget the past. It is good that you also visited the House of Horror as well.

    Allie of
    www.allienyc.com

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  2. So good that you were able to take this needed trip. I really want to go somewhere new soon!
    See you in 2020!

    www.fashionradi.com

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  3. I've always wanted to visit Budapest, it looks like such an amazing city xx

    GemmaEtc.com

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  4. What a great travel post! I would love to visit Budapest some day. The architecture is so amazing. Thank you for showing us around.

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  5. I was in Budapest in 2018, I really liked this city
    Happy new year
    http://www.recklessdiary.ru

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  6. Lovely post!

    Carina | https://carinazz.blogspot.com/

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  7. Budapest is such a fantastic city! All the buildings are very spectacular.

    xx Simone
    Little Glittery Box

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  8. How good you took this break! Personally, I have never been to Budapest but now I want to! Thanks for sharing.
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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  9. This trip looks amazing! Fabulous pictures <3 Wonderful Post! Have a great day!
    Allurerage
    Rampdiary

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  10. I love all of these photos! Budapest looks like an amazing city and a great place to cap off the decade with. Hope you have a great new year!

    - Avalon from www.simplyavalon.com

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  11. Great travel post, I love this wonderful city!
    Kisses, Paola.

    Expressyourself

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  12. So lovely pictures- I have never been in Budapest but it's on my list :-)

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  13. Amazing trip and pictures! Budapest is almost always on our vacation way and we love to visit this city due to gorgeous architecture and thermal baths!
    Happy New Year!

    jointyicroissanty

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  14. I went in Budapest few times and every time I was amazed how beautiful city is. Last year I went on night boat trip and city from Danube river look event prettier. Your photos are stunning, thank you for sharing and Happy New Year.

    New Post - http://www.exclusivebeautydiary.com/2020/01/elizabeth-arden-sparkle-on-holiday_4.html

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  15. Budapest is a beautiful city! The architecture of the parliament building is amazing!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

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  16. What a fun trip! The architecture is amazing and so different to anything we have here in Australia! :) Thanks for sharing!

    Hope that your week is going well :) It's a busy week here as it's my first week back at work after the Christmas break! I've got what I wore for Christmas up on the blog now.

    Away From Blue

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