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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

BACKPACKING EUROPE: Budapest - Part 1

The famous 'Chain Bridge' in Budapest
Saturday 9th May, 2016

After a two week 'holiday' in Croatia, it was time to move on. Jack and I didn't plan on spending so long in just one country, and as we had pretty much visited every destination in the Adriatic (or at least thats what it felt like), we were ready for a new country and a new culture. So we packed up our shit and set off for Budapest.

As we made our way to the train station in 30 degrees of humid heat, sweat trickled down my back and butt, and I was looking forward to a nice, air-conditioned bus ride. It was a 3 and a half hour journey to Zagreb so I tried to make myself comfortable but the air conditioning was so pathetic that I couldn't wait to get off the bus, and out of Croatia. I was sick of the heat and sick of buses, 'get me on a train ASAP,' was all I kept thinking.

Darting to the platform because our train was quickly approaching, we completely forgot to exchange Euros for Hungarian Forints and as we weren't arriving in Budapest until 9:30pm, every exchange place would surely be closed by then, shit.

Dormitories in Avenue Hostel (NOT my picture, taken from their website)


We were pretty fortunate that our hostel was situated on a 24 hour tram route, and the 'Bank of Jack' had enough money on his debit card to cover us for two metros and one tram. The closer we go to Avenue Hostel, the more excited I got. Firstly, every kind of shitty food restaurant that I had been craving since I left the UK was displayed either side of me and secondly, our hostel was right next door to Subway. I was on such a high that I wasn't sure whether it was because the surroundings were familiar and comforting or because I'm such a fat bastard who thinks about food 24/7... Probably both. Either way, I was happy and I was looking forward to demolishing some greasy goods tonight.

Our dorm room was pretty weird but I liked it. Although, the bunk beds were made out of chipboard and resembled storage containers, it was very creative and comfortable.

We only left the hostel for an hour or so on the first night, to pinpoint the nearest exchange place for tomorrow... and also a much needed McDonalds. I was enjoying Budapest already and couldn't wait to get up tomorrow.

Turning the perfect corner, what a view



Sunday 10th May, 2016

I woke up feeling cheerful and refreshed. The sun was shining bright, the sky was a striking blue and it was the perfect day to be a tourist. I had heard so many good things about Budapest and I couldn't wait to experience it. After taking full advantage of a continental breakfast provided by the hostel, Jack and I set off for the day. Conveniently, the exchange place that we found last night was less than a minute walk from the hostel.

After walking along the streets for a little while, we found ourselves staring at one of the most amazing monuments I had ever seen, St Stephens's Basilica. Of course we were going there first and holy mother of god (apologies for the blasphemy), the inside was just as impressive as the facade. The entire church was decorated with some of the most beautiful art that I had ever seen, it was inspiring. The ceiling was embellished with rich, gold details and the various ornaments placed within this majestic dome were truly beautiful. I enjoyed wandering around in silence, observing the Sunday mass and all of the fine details.

302 steps later, we found ourselves admiring the panoramic view of Budapest. It was incredible from every single angle and a lot bigger than I had imagined, I was amazed to find out that Budapest is actually a twin city, with Buda on one side and Pest on the other. Both sides looked equally interesting.

Front of St Stephen's Basilica, Budapest
The majestic dome, which dominated the church of St Stephen, Budapest
Panoramic views of Budapest






A statue of a policeman who loved food and women and brings lots of luck apparently, Budapest

Beautiful building in Budapest

Street musicians in Budapest

Is there really such a thing as too much carbs? Market in Budapest.

Too much deliciousness in one picture
Throughout the day we came across various statues and towering monuments, talented musicians and artists, a range of different stalls and markets, and many elaborate buildings and bridges, it was fascinating. We indulged on wine and beer, meat and pastries and embraced the Hungarian traditions. It quickly became my new favourite city.

After a day of sightseeing, Jack and I decided to check out Budapest's oldest and most famous ruin bar (Szimpla), which I was quite curious about. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in. I was expecting a dingy shit hole that smelt of stale smoke had last night's shame still lingering about but actually, it was pretty awesome. Szimpla was strangely attractive, even if it was decorated with what you would usually throw in the bin, I had only just arrived and already I really liked it. I could see why it was so busy and well-talked about.

After a few too many beers, Jack and I headed back to the hostel. We had a whole five bed dorm room to ourselves so I knew that I would have an excellent sleep tonight. It was a great end to a great first day.

Chillin' in a bath in Szimpla Bar


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