Thursday, August 30, 2012

Budapest: You are the Buda to my Pest

 Saturday August 18 - Monday August 20

Arriving by the shortest train ride, we've had so far, we got off the train and jumped straight in a taxi to take us to our hotel. We were staying on the Pest side of the Danube river, on a boat hotel. Of course it was my idea and not J's, because I wish I could've photographed his handsome face the moment the taxt stopped in front of our crappy looking boat hotel (well it looked more like a crappy motel you find in Australia). It was goddamn hilarious, his facial expression. I had to admit my hopes of it being a charming little cruise ship fell quickly too, especially when were greeted by the male receptionist, whom five seconds later J and I nicknamed the 'crypt keeper.' Thank god we were only staying for two nights till the Monday morning.

Needless to say our hotel definitately motivated us to explore the city, we immediately hiked through the Pest side to a underground station to buy public transport tickets, then we walked to this grassy square, near a couple of bars and sat down and ate a McDonald's sundaes. From there we headed to the Szechenyi thermal pool.
The Szechenyi Bath is the largest thermal bath spring complex in Europe, let alone Budapest.
After it taking us a while to walk there and to also figure out how to lock our lockers in the change rooms, J and I were relieved to dive in to the pool(unfortunately the heated spas had closed for the afternoon). We swam for a couple of hours until it changed from dusk till night fall. I think our bodies needed it after carrying our heavy backpacks.

We then walked back to the square we sat in earlier, and found a restaurant that we knew from watching patrons earlier sold icy cold looking mojitos. We chose to have a three course meal package for 2700 forints each (about 30 euro). I can no longer recall what I ate, but it had onion rings, mash potato and delicious sliced rump steak. J and I both had tasty desserts, J had a lime tart and I had a basil and melon sorbet. Both were great palette cleansers, nice and light too. And of course the mojitos were pretty good too. It was a great start to our time in Budapest.

The next day we walk across the Pest side of town in search for A-List Day Spa so we could book a massage for the afternoon. After making the booking we also bought a ticket and jumped on a hop-on-and-off bus to tour around Budapest(the bus stop was right near the day spa). I wasn't quite enthusiastic to go one of these highly touristy city, we were a little tired of walking everywhere, and we wanted to see a lot of the city sights in a short time. We hopped off the bus at the castle on the Buda side of the city. We were pretty hungry and decided to look no further than right in front of us(biggest mistake) and walked straight into the worst tourist trap we've come to find on our travels. We waited 40 minutes for a crappy burger and chicken salad. The waiter had forgotten our order, and the food was definitely not worth the wait. J and I both did grab a home-made lemonade(something that you kind everywhere in Budapest).

After being late getting down from the castle because of the horrible cafe experience we arrived at A-List Day Spa for a relaxing experience, our tired shoulders were highly looking forward to. J and I both had a 30 minute relaxing back massage(so wonderful) and then we both had a fish pedicure(the same one as you can get in Thailand and Indonesia). And then I really got pampered with a manicure and pedicure.

Walking back to Fortuna Boat Hotel, we walked past a parade of Hungarian military men and women preparing for the next day. Which would be their national public holiday. I have know idea what it was called, but it's kind of like their independence day, a lady from the spa said it's when they celebrate their first king.

After the most self-indulgent afternoon I've had in awhile(actually who am I kidding I'd been on holiday for a week) we went to McDonalds for dinner, but not just any McDonalds, Budapest is home to a beautiful building that has been done up where you can get your favourite greasy fried food inside. 

Then we went to Szimpla, a ruin bar on the Pest side of the city. Ruin bars are basically hipster-made bars that have been thoroughly decorated with recycled goods. J and I even got to try their own beer(which was pretty tasty). After I had turned to the mojitos(Budapest does them well) we met an American guy who had just started working at the American Embassy in Budapest, after talking to him for awhile we were joined by an Irish backpacker from Dublin. After hilarious and great conversation, J and I were spent and made our way to the creepy boat hotel.

We had packed and stored our backpacks on the boat hotel prepared to make use of our last moments in Budapest before we had to board our train to Rome in the afternoon. We walked out of the hotel and to our surprise found a heap of people gathered under the nearby bridge, looking up I soon saw what the commotion was all about; an airshow. A spectacular airshow that ended up including: stunt planes, old military planes, para-gliders, parachuters and fighter jets. It was a pretty awesome experience, especially because I've never seen an airshow of that calibre.

After watching the show from our side of the river we hopped on a tram and headed over to the Pest side where we continued seeing stunt planes flying through the air. We found(because this national holiday was in full swing) food stalls, one in particular caught J and my eye, as they were frying lots of potato in a huge pot. Buying a plate of that along with two cups of home-made lemonade and we were in heaven. Hungary's national holiday gave us a great morning to remember Budapest by.

Specators of the St. Stephans Day air show

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing two days, you did so much can imagine James face priceless
    Love A
    P.s this is a great way to experience your trip