Finally arrived in Budapest, and the contrast here couldn’t be any bigger. From grand buildings in Vienna to decrepit buildings Budapest. Everything here looks a lot more ancient, worn and torn. Some buildings even look a bit unsafe. That being said, it is still pretty. But I feel like I’ve just arrived in some abandoned ghost town (although there are plenty of people around), it’d be the perfect scene for one though. Our walk from the station to our hostel (Unity Hostel @ Udvar(rom)) was very easy, although finding how to get into the hostel was a different story. Although very easy in hindsight, on first glance you’re welcomed to a busy bar which was slightly confusing, but after having a snoop around and lugging our bags we finally found the hostel entrance through the bar. Our room, was not as nice as the previous hostels but it was still adequate. We have our own bathroom, small kitchen area and the 2 guys staying with us seem nice enough. It’s pretty loud though, from the bar. Music, and chatting. I don’t feel like I’ll be sleeping well in this place.
We’ve been travelling for over a week now, and already on our 5th city so we decided to treat ourselves to a relaxing day and head to the famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths. We decided to walk from our hostel, it felt like it took forever, at least 30-45 minutes but on the way we got admired from some ‘nice’ Hungarian men, who called us “Miss Hungary” and called things out to us in Hungarian (some people are so sweet). But at the baths, it was amazing. Never before have I sat in water for so long (not even at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland). We literally spent 5 hours there going around almost every single pool (which all ranged between 18-38 degrees celsius, some inside some outside). My favourite by far were the warm pools inside, but as it was such a hot sunny day we spent most of our time in the large outside pool which was lush. It even had a whirlpool, so we just spent hours going round and round. It was so lovely to just rest for a moment. It was so peaceful and relaxing, I could have stayed there forever. But spending so many hours here meant that we missed lunch, and it was nearing on dinner time so we were getting pretty hungry.
After the baths we headed back to our hostel and found an Italian Restaurant to eat at, we thought it would be nice if we sat on the tables outside on the street. However little did we know what was about to happen. A great victory some may say. Before we knew it people were running down the streets, cheering, laughing, high five-ing people as they passed. They were celebrating. Hungary had just won a match against Austria in the Euro 2016 (football for anyone who doesn’t know), and of course they were delighted. The excitement built up rapidly, the streets were getting rowdier and rowdier, not before long a huge mob of football fans took to the street walking down the middle of the roads. It was chaos. Absolutely bloody mental. Cars were honking, trams couldn’t get passed. The roads were at a standstill but the people just kept coming. Running from every direction. I’ve never seen so many people looking so happy, so proud of their country. It was slightly scary but at the same time so exciting to be in the middle of it. And we literally were in the middle, still sitting in the middle of the street eating our dinner. And as foreigners we weren’t left out, some guy came up to my friend and gave her a friendly pinch on her cheek as she ate her carbonara. It was all very funny, her reaction was hilarious! Eventually the police came and moved them on, however on our way back to the hostel it was clear where they had all gone, they had all congregated to the main road. The police had given up, and just left them to do their thing just standing idly by. They weren’t doing anything bad, just shouting some sort motto/chant thing in Hungarian.
After a rest at the hostel (it had been a busy day), we decided to head to a local bar and had some nice Shrek themed shots (yes they were green, and no they weren’t too bad actually). My friend thought it would be a good idea to try a traditional Hungarian spirit in shot form called Polinká as well (fyi, I had a sip. It was not a good idea at all. It was vile. It even burnt my lips and mouth and I only had a sip!). As the bar was closing, we moved on to the biggest ruin bar in Budapest called Instant. We didn’t really know our way, but these 4 teenage boys came up to us as we “looked a little lost” and thankfully pointed us in the right direction (shout out to you guys, thanks for being so helpful and friendly!!). It was pretty cool, it had about 4 floors and several rooms in each one. We stayed there for a bit, chatted to some very boring Hungarian guys one of which looked out of his mind and creepily stared at us in silence. I felt drained, and was in no mood to stay here all night and morning so we left after a few hours and headed back to our hostel for a good nights kip (even though we got back at 2am). Men in Budapest are so friendly, on our way back to the hostel some guy thought it would be really appropriate to stroke my shoulder and call me beautiful as he walked passed. I love guys who like to invade my personal space (please note the sarcasm here, in no way do I like this. Honestly thank you for the compliment, but no thank you).
After a disturbed night, thanks to the noise from the bar below and the massive Brazilian guy who snored through the night (no kidding I’ve never heard someone snore so loudly, I think the room shook from it. It was actually beginning to scare me), we woke up at 12pm and felt somewhat relaxed. Took forever to find a place to eat (apparently Hungarians don’t really do breakfast or light lunches??), finally found one and ate, torrential rain set in, took forever to find out bus stop in said torrential rain but finally found our bus and got on. Things were strange this morning. We literally saw a woman pissing in the street, full on squatting in the middle of the pavement in the torrential rain, in front of everyone, no shame. She didn’t even try to hide or try to look a little bit less obvious. Weird. Super weird. Slightly disturbed by it. Then on the bus, there was this little old lady who literally looked like she was dying (bless her soul, I hope she’s still ok) and the bus smelt potently of piss. It was an uncomfortable time. But after holding my breathe as much as I could for 15 minutes we finally got off at our stop and had arrived at the Gellért Thermal Baths. It was so beautiful here. The design was so different from the Széchenyi Baths yesterday. It was a lot smaller, a lot quieter and it was just so prettily designed. There were mosaic tiles everywhere. You really have to appreciate the architecture and design of a place like this. I was in awe the whole time. I could live in a place like this, and it would be heaven.
After bathing for a good while, we headed to the Fisherman’s Bastion. I couldn’t work out the transport links, so we walked. It took forever, tired, hungry, exhausted, moody, every bad feeling we were feeling it. But thankfully we found a place to stop and eat, and got there. It was beautiful. And despite how long it took to get there we actually arrived at the most perfect time for sunset. It was so lovely seeing it. The setting was amazing, and the views of Budapest were stunning. It was well worth it, seeing all the buildings glistening in the sun below. We learn’t from passed mistakes, and decided to get a metro back to the hostel. An early night it was for us, as we’re due to head to Bratislava early in the morning.
5 cities down, 6 more to go.
Previous stop: Vienna, Austria
Next stop: Bratislava, Slovakia
Top tips for Budapest:
- Go to a thermal bath
- Go to a Ruin bar
- Go to Fisherman’s Bastion at sunset
- Women be prepared for lots of male attention