Visit the Castle District at...
Visit the Castle District at sunset for the perfect lighting and reduced crowds. Budapest presented a crossroads on my trip. I had spent a fun party weekend with newfound friends in Munich, been escorted around Slovenia for three weeks of hiking and wine/beer tasting, and taken into a real home to live as locals in Croatia. I had not spent much time alone. Croatia, in particular, had been almost too much companionship, and as I left for Budapest on the train, I heaved a small sigh of relief that I would finally have some time to myself. Goran had arranged for a friend of his in Budapest to reserve a room for me and though it was not a bad price, the location did not seem ideal. This was the first time that I arrived in a city without someone to meet me so it seemed a good idea to have this chore done but when I got off the train, I was met by a few touts offering rooms. I pushed through them, saying I had one already but one small framed woman’s demeanor cut through my guard and I found myself listening to her. She had a place, so she said, right in the center, and when I told her the price I paid, she naturally gave me one for less. She would take me there to check it out, under no obligation. I looked on her map and it was indeed a better location, and the price was better. What could I lose? We took the Metro together and soon found ourselves at her place, just a stone’s throw from the river and right in the center as she promised. The place was fantastic, a whole flat all to myself, with TV, private bath, even a fridge if I wanted to use it. I said I would take it despite feeling guilty about the trouble that had gone into arranging my other room. I explained I had to go to the back to change some money so I could pay and she accompanied me there and on our return, I noticed a hairdresser’s shop and said I needed to get my hair cut. She said they would not speak English so she took me in, and explained what I wanted done, and took her money for the room. Back in “my” place, I relaxed with my new freshly cut hair, and enjoyed just having a place to myself. I’d landed on my feet, as I always did, knowing I was a traveler who could get what he needed when the time came.
Central Market Hall
Right in the middle of the city, the large commercial hall. Did not had the chance to enter, but I've heard you can find usefull stuff inside, at a good price :)
Thanks to Tamara from Budapest
Go to the Bath!
Budapest is known for its thermal bath and the Gellért is one of the oldest in town. This lovely Art Nouveau hotel will put you in the mood for some serious relaxation! When we went there, it was the "men's day" so we couldn't use the steam room (the pool is coed - mixed bathing (May–Sept daily 6am–7pm, July & Aug Fri & Sat also 8pm–midnight; Oct–April Mon–Fri 6am–7pm, Sat & Sun 6am–5pm), so an employee gave us some direction to another bath where us ladies could use the steam room and it was a blast. A short tram ride away, the little bath we went to was really where ordinary Hungarians go take care of themselves. I wish I remembered the name.
First, we had to get undressed and the employee gave us those pieces of cloth that really don't hide anything. After the first moment of embarrassment, we got rid of them. Being embarrassed was... well... embarrassing. The dark main room topped with a dome had a hot mineral bath and cold pool. Next to it, the steam room (which was in fact a little room with the heater set at maximum temperatures). The locals, instead of sitting quietly like I did, have little instruments to scrape their dead skin. That grossed out some of my friends. I thought it kinda made sense. Anyway, after several dips in the hot pool then in the cold, I felt all my body in a state of relaxation hard to describe. I wished we had had more time there because the massages were very cheap. But we only had a few hours in Budapest and we had to make them count.
The address for the hotel is : Gellért Hotel, Gellért tér 1, Budapest
You can buy everything you need in Hungary (for a good price too!).
I wouldn't recommend walking around with a big heavy rucksack as it can be awkard, especially on public transport.
Weather-wise we went in March, which was fairly warm and it didn't rain once. Try to pack layers rather than bulky clothes - I took a few jumpers with me and they didn't make it out of my rucksack for the whole three weeks!
In the summer months I can imagine Budapest becoming very stuffy and hot .
Make sure you pack a swimming costume for all those thermal spas and a corkscrew to open your bottle of Bulls blood!
I was walking down a side street when I heard the sweet sound of a single Cello being played. I followed the sound until I came upon this window open to the outside. There was a boy inside, no more than 15 or 16, who was practicing with a Cello. I listened and tried to stay unobtrusive. I took this photo without him ever knowing I was there.