And off we go
Back in 2016 me and my best friend Jenny travelled on our own for the first time. It was our first time ever leaving Austria to explore our neighbor countries. We were thinking about where we wanted to go for a while, then we finally settled for Budapest. Close to Vienna, easy to reach, cheap. So the decision was made.
We hopped onto the bus early in the morning and a few hours later we were warmly welcomed by pouring rain in Budapest. Our first mission there was to find our AirBnB apartment. We had gotten a map of the city earlier and were walking around trying to find our way. Eventually we asked a guy on the way – in English. He, however, just spoke Hungarian, but nevertheless made a real effort to help us. A few minutes of pointing and gesticulating in different directions in Hungarian later we had a vague idea where we were going.
Close to our AirBnB, however, we realized we were a bit too early and couldn’t check in yet. So, as we somehow had to pass the time we decided to do what we do best – search for food! We started checking out supermarkets around the area, then eventually found one and bought a ton of stuff to eat. Quick reminder – it was still raining, and we were carrying our suitcases with us! Walking in the rain with all our groceries through Budapest – and the streets there being not that flat, rather a bit bumpy with a lot of holes. Dragging our suitcases through water and mud we finally arrived at the apartment and got in with no problem. We stayed in a tiny little room with a bunkbed – just enough for two people and two suitcases, not more. You literally couldn’t fit in a third person. It was only then when I realized that my shoes were dripping wet and I had to do something to get them dry as I only had this one pair. So I simply took Jennys hair-dryer, sat down on the floor and blew air into them – and they dried within minutes. Quite a life hack I would say.
Budapest in the rain
After drying my shoes, we decided we needed to distress from that adventurous journey for a bit and wanted to go for a massage – which is ridiculously cheap in Budapest. In Vienna, I would have never treated myself for one as it is too expensive, but here… If I remember correctly we paid around 10 euros for half an hour. On top of that, it was actually my first massage ever. When we walked into the studio we entered a relaxed, calm atmosphere. Quiet music was playing and the lights were dimmed. All furniture there was made out of dark wood, a few decorative statues were standing around. Before we started our massage we had to change our clothes into wider ones a white shirt and pants. Every masseuse there had their own kind of “chamber”. They were lined up
one after the other, but separated by curtains. In there I got stretched and torn apart like never before – at least that’s was what it felt like. Still, I knew the pain was necessaire to have a positive effect later. Leaving the studio our bodies were already hurting–and we would be feeling the effects of the massage until we were about to leave.
However, we were still fit enough to discover the city for a bit. I was walking around with my pink umbrella while Jenny was taking tons of pictures. The umbrella being a big contrast in the greyness of the rain. We didn’t go far, just far enough to get an idea of what the city looked like. On our way we remarked a lot of bronze statues, yellow trams, a lot of cool bridges – and the parliament we didn’t even realize was a that important building at the time. We were just looking at it like “Oh yes, that looks cool, must be something important.”After a while of walking, we decided we would be back the next day. For now, we were tired and just wanted to go home.
City parc and Garden castle Vajdahunyad
Luckily, we woke up with perfect weather the next day. We left soon and walked around a bit clueless, we just wanted to get some good pictures of the city as we are both really into photography. So, that’s what we did. Our first stop was the heros square with a lot of tourists already taking pictures of it.
We were more interested in the city parc behind the square anyways – a very old parc created in the 19th century – the world’s first public parc ever. Jenny, being a big fan of colorful flower pictures, was in paradise there. As everything was blossoming, we had to stop a lot on our way to take some flower pictures. Finally in the parc, we were amazed by its beauty. The majestic castle Vajdahunyad was appearing in front of us, marking the entrance of the parc. A little lake to the side, boats in the water, everything around blossoming. We walked through the garden for a while, admiring the old buildings and the beautiful, big garden. We were walking by a lot of bronze statues –as we’ve seen so many of them the day before already, Budapest slowly but surely became the city of statues for me.
The market hall
The market hall. A thing about Budapest the I really loved – and not only because you can take the most amazing pictures in there. We went in and were struck from the first moment on. I just love markets – there’s always so much to see that you need a lot of time to absorb everything. We made sure to do that. The market offered everything – from of fruits and vegetables to souvenirs of Budapest and traditional clothes. It really is no wonder it has become a tourist attraction as well. We even would be back there twice.
After spending a few hours in the market hall, we left and went strolling around the streets, taking some pictures to remember how the city looked like. In the evening we decided we wanted to go for shisha as we felt like having a relaxed night out and weren’t really in the mood to dance. So shisha it was! We found the place easily and sat down to smoke on the streets. Meanwhile we could watch Budapest slowly lighting up during the night – especially the chain bridge appearing in a beautiful, blue glow.
The next day we went up to the Fisherman’s bastion – a castle on top of a hill in Buda, where the old fisher’s market in Budapest could once be found.”In Buda?” you might ask. Yes, the city is divided in two parts – Buda and Pest, which are separated by the Danube. As we were staying in Pest, we had to walk all the way over the bridge to get to the castle. However, it was worth the way. You could even go up the hill by taking a cable car, but we decided to walk all the way up. Passing by beautiful gardens and portals we finally reached the top. There you had an amazing view over the city.
The Fisherman’s bastion is a big attraction in Budapest and you’lln soon see why. With it’s many unique white towers it is a demanded place to have your wedding pictures taken. We even spotted a couple shooting there – and took some pictures of them as well. Jenny and I also did our little personal photoshoot – including me flirting with a pillar – yeah that’s another story.
We stayed there for a while and waited until the evening, then walked down to a garden where we had an amazing view over the Danube and could watch the sunset as well. Seeing glowing Budapest in the yellowish light of the setting sun is definitely something you have to see.
Then it was time to go home. In our AirBnB, we weren’t the only ones to stay there – but we never really interacted with anyone as we just met briefly and exchanged some “hi!”,”by!”s. However, when we noticed a lady from Australia staying there all by herself, that was something different. Jenny and I felt like we should invite her to join us for a drink or something.
– Want to ask her to do something with us? Must be so lonely being all by yourself the whole time.
– Sure, let’s ask her! But you’ll ask.
– No you!
– Ok, together.
We were literally so shy, no one wanted to ask her all on her own. Oh well, when I look back I’m certainly happy to see that changed now. We were convinced she must be lonely travelling by herself. Of course, she was not and I know better now, but at the time the thought of travelling alone never even came to my mind. Anyways, she was happy to join us, introduced herself as Amanda and we all went out for a drink in a tiny, but nice bar where we talked the whole evening. She was travelling on her own for a while now, wanting to see as much of the world as she could. Currently she was exploring a lot of different cities in Europe. Considerably older than us (me being 17 at the time, she was 38) and the first solo-traveler I’ve ever met. I wonder what she would think if she knew I’ve become one now, too. We just had a chance to go out once – but that wouldn’t remain the last time we ever saw her. Because Amada was coming to Vienna after we left as well! She had planned to visit the city in advance and we were more than happy to show her around. That way we experienced Vienna form a touristic point of view and learned what tourists love about Vienna – which is completely different from what we enjoy about our city.
Parliament and guards
The next day we passed by the parliament were a military demonstration was taking place. We had no clue what we were experiencing, but we stayed there to watch what was going on. Guards were marching up and down in front of the parliament. A crowd of people was already
watching and we joined them to see the guards marching and taking their places in front of the parliament. Then they stood still so we could take pictures with them. I don’t know if that really was the purpose of it, but I needed to get a picture with this guard anyways – you don’t get this experience everyday, right?
Bridges and Yoga Events
In the evening, we reached the chains bridge – the most beautiful of all the bridges over Budapest – and the very first one connecting Buda and Pest as well, as it was already built in the 19th century. When we got there, a yoga event was taking place directly on the bridge. People were rolling out their yoga mats, wearing sports clothes and preparing for the class. The bridge was blocked, so cars couldn’t get through, just pedestrians. Sadly we didn’t have a yoga mat nor sports clothes, but we still stayed to watch the class. Therefore we climbed up the bridge – yes, you could really climb on top of it. This event really fascinated me as in Vienna you would never be able to just casually climb up a bridge and sit there for hours. We stayed on the bridge until the sun was going down, just watching the city and the yoga class. Next time, I promised myself, we would be arriving well equipped and were going to participate as well.
Coming to an end
The last day we decided to go to a thermal bath. These baths are generally famous in Budapest, so we surely had to try it out. However, we ended up not going to a traditional thermal bath, but to the aqua world – which isn’t historical at all, more about water slides. So many different kinds of waterslides we couldn’t even test out all of them – but it was a lot of fun trying it. Relaxing there for a bit we knew we had to leave soon – a fun trip that was coming to an end. But as Budapest is close to our home we can always come back easily – who knows, maybe one day we will.