Last week, I was lucky enough to be taken to the lovely city of Budapest for an early 21st birthday present off my boyfriend. We're all about the city breaks after we had the best time on our trip to Amsterdam last year, and both think that we've both got too short attention spans for a beach holiday, so we love having things to look at and places to explore! However, after marching our way around Budapest for a few days, some sunshine and less walking may be on the agenda for out next holiday...
I didn't really know much about Budapest before I went, so researching all the different places to visit before going, and of course, what coeliac friendly restaurants Hungary had to offer was really exciting! We spent the first day mainly getting lost in the rain, which wasn't really what either of us had in mind as we were ignorantly under the impression that Budapest would be really tourist friendly with the obligatory English sign here or there, but no. It was shockingly all in Hungarian (who would've thought hey?) so if you're off to Budapest, investing in a translation app will definitely come in handy! I'm embarrassingly British.
The rain stayed off for the rest of our trip, thankfully so I was able to get my camera out and take a few snaps of the beautiful old city. The architecture is quite dark and worn which makes everything looks like it's so full of history - and set against a bright blue sky it was even more breathtaking. There's so many things to look at and it's very easy to get lost, so I would definitely advise that you get a Budapest Card which entitles you free travel on all of the metro links. We visited both Buda and Pest and found our way around quite easily, but this is entirely thanks to Ben and his ability to actually reads maps and navigate the metro; both skills I seriously lack.
Aside from getting a bit lost and looking at beautiful buildings, we made it to the natural history museum where we saw a new dinosaur exhibition they were holding, the House of Terror which taught you all about horrible side of the history of Hungary and to a huge Zoo and Botanical Garden where they let gorgeous little lemurs run around at your feet - what's not to like?!
According to some local people, the weather was very mild for this time of the year as they've usually had a lot of snow by now. Snow-dodging aside, it was still pretty cold, so hat, gloves and fur coats were my every day staples without fail, and the best pick me up after walking round in the cold was going to one of Budapest's famous thermal baths, which are naturally heated open air springs and were the most relaxing and gorgeous way to end a busy day.
In amongst being a dinosaur geek and bathing, I of course managed to squeeze in a trip to a traditional Hungarian market hall which is filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious (albeit a tad questionable) looking meats and gorgeous trinkets where I picked up some Hungarian-themed souvenirs for the fam! Everything there was really reasonably priced and they have everything from handmade headbands to traditional embroidered tablecloths - certainly worth a visit to spend some money!
On the last day of our little trip, the sun was shining and we spent it walking around, taking in the sites, making our way around a few cafes and generally just being on holiday. We ended the day just as the sun was getting lower by walking along the front of the Danube, which gives you an amazing view across the water of the city. It's also here that you can see the Shoes on the Danube, which is a memorial that honours the Jewish people that were shot into this very river in the second World War. Sounds like a bit of a sombre note to end your holiday, but it was very beautiful.
I can imagine Budapest is a completely different place in the summer, more tourist friendly and a lot more English voices around, but I really liked going during February as it gave the city much more atmosphere and also got me out of my comfort zone a bit which is always a mini triumph for me!
And a shameless selfie of me and the Budapest boy to end the post with!
Have you ever been to Budapest? What was your favourite bit?