*Catching up on old blogs*
(In May, we took a trip to Budapest, Hungary! Just getting around to writing about our visit there now)
Photo taken on the “Buda” side
What’s great about living in Europe (and one of the main reasons for our move) is the opportunity to travel without having to worry too much about flight prices (or being jet-lagged). There are many different low-cost airlines that exist here, you just need to be wary of how much baggage you take with you. If, for example, your carry-on is over the restricted baggage size, you may be forced to pay to check it in (and the bag fee can be almost as much as a ticket price!!)
The Irish low-cost airline, Ryan Air, flies from Gothenburg to a number of different cities. It was the first time we took a flight with Ryan Air and our first time to fly out of Gothenburg’s city airport – which is one of the smallest airports I’ve been to (and I’ve seen many small airports in SE Asia).
It’s about a 2 hour flight with Ryan Air from Gothenburg to Budapest. As soon as they announced it was time for boarding everyone rushed to line-up. It wasn’t until we boarded the plane, we realized why our tickets didn’t have a seat number and why everyone was rushing to line-up! It was our first experience with “first come, first serve” on an airplane. It wasn’t too bad though, we were able to get two seats next to each other – one aisle, one middle.
One notable thing to mention about the flight was that the plane was almost diverted to Bratislava!
There was a rain storm at Budapest and the Captain had tried to land but ended up just circling. He announced that they had 20 min before they needed to decide if they would land at an alternate airport.
We were preparing ourselves for disappointment. As we sat there, the teenage girl next to me, started telling us about the dog competition she was flying to Budapest to participate in. She and the dogs were both flying from Estonia. The dogs, however, were flying on a different plane that may have faced the same landing trouble.
To our relief, there was a brief opening and we were able to land in Budapest!! The plane erupted in applause and cheering upon the safe landing. We had no idea if the girl made it with her dogs to the competition but there were show dogs all over the city that weekend.
It was still raining when we arrived and we were already late to meet the AirBNB host to pick-up the key. We took a bus from the airport after withdrawing some money to buy our tickets. The machine at the bus stop only took coins so we bought a bottled water to get some change.
*Note: it’s better to have some coins to pay, as the machine does not take bills. In that case, we were only able to buy one ticket at the machine. The other ticket we purchased from the driver who charged us more for buying it on the bus…
Our Day in Budapest
Budapest (pronounced “boo-dah-pesht” in Hungarian) is the capital of Hungary and like many cities lies along the Danube River. The “Buda” side lies on the west bank of the Danube while the “Pest” side lies on the east bank. We stayed in an AirBNB place on the “Pest” side, which is also relatively flat compared to the hilly “Buda” side.
We had one full day in Budapest and we weren’t going to waste it! We had brunch at a cafe down the street from where our apt and walked along the riverfront.
We saw a building where the balcony had started falling apart. Pieces of concrete had crumbled to the sidewalk below and the fire dept was called to assess the damage and safety of the area.
On the Pest side, we walked by the Parliament Building and also stopped by St. Stephen’s square and Basilica before crossing the chain bridge over to the “Buda” side!
Nice bike and walking paths along the riverfront
Looking over at the “Buda” side
Shoes on the Danube promenade – a memorial to the Budapest Jews who were shot into the river. They were told to remove their shoes because they were valuable belongings back then.
A visit to the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica
View of the city from the top of the church tower
Down the steps of the church tower
On the Buda side, we visited Castle Hill. Walking around all day, we didn’t realize the sun was so strong (or maybe it was because we aren’t used to sun anymore being so far up North) that we got sunburned.
Crossed the chain bridge to get to the Buda side!
Crossing the bridge back to the Pest side – looking back at the Buda side one last time 🙂
In the afternoon, we met up with Yoni’s friends who are backpacking in Eastern Europe. They took a train from Vienna to meet us in Budapest. We waited for them for some relaxation time at the thermal baths on the Pest side.
The baths were absolutely amazing. There were different pools indoor and outdoor at varying temperatures.
We tried a few out, but our favorite was the outdoor pool!
We tried a few out, but our favorite was the outdoor pool!
It was so hard to find a restaurant that was open after we were done at the baths. We ended up walking and taking longer than we had hoped so many of the restaurants were already closing their kitchens. And another thing was we really wanted Hungarian cuisine so we were wandering around searching for a bit with no luck. We ended up eating at an Italian place – we were starving at this point and quickly becoming grumpy.
After resting at the apt, we went out again for a drink. We walked by a Hungarian restaurant and had to have a second dinner. We also (finally) got to try the Hungarian Goulash! The goulash was served with egg pasta that was soo delicious.
Also tried some pancakes which were similar to crepe
More than satisfied with our second dinner, we strolled a bit more and walked to one of the bridges for a few. But at that point we were all feeling drained from being at the Thermal baths! It was a busy, yet wonderful day in Budapest (and only a 2 hour flight from Gothenburg).
To the Airport
We stayed right by a Metro station, which meant we could easily walk to the station the next morning. We took the train and then transferred to a bus to get to the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport the next day.
With the steep prices in Sweden, I’ve finally understood why so many people go crazy over Duty Free.
Although we were only there for one full day, we did see many things and enjoyed the short trip a lot. Budapest is a beautiful city, and we’d both love to visit again – there is still more to see (and eat!)
Interested in visiting Budapest sometime? Don’t forget to check out the Budapest wikitravel