Posted By Kristabella on October 23, 2013
Sorry for the absence in continuing my vacation series. I was housesitting/cat-sitting for my friend last week and didn’t bring my laptop. Mostly because this cat hates me and no other cat has ever disliked me this much and I spent all my time forcing that cat to love me. (He still bites me when I try and pet him.)
And then I spent the last two days working outside, right when Chicago decided that fall was for pussies and skipped right to winter. That and I had to be outside starting at 6:30 AM, which is WAY before I even get up on a normal day. Needless to say, I was useless the last two evenings.
Anyway, where were we? Oh, yes! Budapest. Which, don’t call it Budapest. Pests are bad. It’s Budapesht. Which I only referred to it as when I was there, because otherwise as a non-Hungarian speaking American, it just makes me look douchey.
On the second day, we did the free walking tour. We actually only planned to catch the first part of it before we had a planned tour at Parliament in the afternoon. But the tour was really great, so we actually decided to cancel that tour and eat the $30 or whatever it was because we knew that whatever we saw on the Buda side was going to be way better than a tour of Parliament.
(We were right.)
The tour was great. I learned on this whole trip that I would rather do a walking tour over any kind of bus tour any day. You get to explore so much when you walk around.
It was also interesting to see, as our guide pointed out, what was left over from the Communist days. They have all these beautiful buildings that are old and historic. And then, right next to it would be the ugliest building known to man.
Apparently any unused space in town and the Russians would build these ugly, economical buildings with the cheapest supplies and with the least amount of money spent. These were usually apartments. There are so many places where these ugly buildings ruin such a beautiful location in Budapest.
After walking all around the Pesht side, we then crossed the famous Chain Bridge and then went over to walk up the hill to the Castle Hill District. Our guide told us there was a bus option, but that unless we were honestly disabled and could not walk, we were not to take it. There was also this tram option, but the lines were insanely long. Being young people, we decided we could make the trek up. I mean, Zoltan the guide told us it was just a measly 250 steps up! That’s easy!
It was a pretty walk, with amazing views, but that was a lot of steps and it was not the last time in Europe that I thought I would die from being so out of shape and was forced to tackle hills. Bonus being we look all dewy in the photos from ALL THE SWEAT.
After our tour ended, we got some suggestions for lunch and headed outside the city’s center to grab some authentic Hungarian cuisine. We took the subway and made it out to this cute little place called Paprika.
On the tour, Zoltan the Guide told us about some authentic Hungarian things that we must try. One was obviously goulash, but that the REAL stuff would be referred to gouyash on a menu. (Always look for the Y in it.) I thought that goulash was like stroganoff. It has noodles, right? Wrong. It’s like a meat stew and it is delicious. (I stupidly only tried a few bites in Hungary and then ate it in all the other countries, which was a mistake, because it was the best in Budapest.)
After lunch we raced back to town because we had tickets for a wine cruise on the Danube.
One of the things my friend Melissa was adamant about doing was going on a boat in every city. This was a good plan. And Budapest being the party town was more than happy to oblige. Not only did we go on the wine tasting cruise (seven Hungarian wines in an hour with beautiful views of from the Danube!), but we also went on a party boat cruise that evening.
In a lot of the things I read about Budapest, I heard that the views from the river at night were amazing. They were not lying. The views of the city are beautiful at all times when you’re on a boat, but at night, with everything lit up, it was so pretty!
On the cruise we met this adorable couple from Ireland, Kevin and Mary. They were newly dating and this was their first trip. They were fun and immediately pegged us as Americans before we even opened our mouths. I wanted to know why, since it seemed that everyone knew we were Americans from one look. He told us it was because of our “giant, American heads.” Ohhhhhkay……
After the cruise we went out to the real ruin bar, Szimpla, which is the most famous, and was definitely exactly what they told us about ruin bars. It has a hodgepodge of stuff and even has a car in the middle of it. We were all pretty hammered by the time the party boat ended and ended up taking a cab to the bar, which was exactly what everyone in Budapest tells you NOT to do. (We were fine, thankfully.)
The rest of the evening is pretty fuzzy. We were out until after 3 AM and stopped again at our gyro place around the corner from our hotel. (I never want to eat gyros again. My stomach was a mess for days after two late nights of gyros.)
Next post I will finish our time in Budapest and we will move on to Vienna!