Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Budapest, Hungary

The train ride from Bratislava to Budapest is a quick three hour journey. The boyfriend and I grabbed some snacks from a grocery store and hopped on the train. No, not that train. Ours was very nice and not covered in graffiti.

The train arrived in Budapest at 10:45pm. After locating a taxi driver that spoke English (their choice, not ours), we we on our way up castle hill and to our hotel. The hotel we chose in Budapest was the Balthazar Budapest. It's an adorable, 11-room, boutique hotel. The rooms are individually decorated and the bathrooms are beautiful. The hotel restaurant is open early and late, with delicious breakfast options and an amazing dinner menu.

Just like many of the cities of Europe, the streets of Budapest are adorable. The candy-colored buildings on castle hill are so picturesque. The location of our hotel was so conveniently located on top of castle hill, so we were able to start our day of site-seeing right after breakfast.

The buildings on castle hill are located on historic sites, but aren't entirely historic themselves. The original church was constructed in 1255, but fell into disrepair and was eventually demolished by invading armies. The current Matthias church is lovely, but was built in the late nineteenth century. Refurbishment inside is still ongoing. Be sure to get a ticket to go inside of the church, but skip out on paying for the Fisherman's bastion. You can get great views of the city without climbing to the top of the bastion.

While visiting Budapest, you must stop at the Central Market. The first floor is all vegetables, spices and meats. The second floor is packed with crafts, souvenirs, and most importantly, food stalls! Everything looked so amazing, it was difficult to choose what to have for lunch. I highly recommend the sausage and potatoes.

Budapest is a big city, consisting of two cites - Buda and Pest. Rather than trying to walk the entire city, we decided to get tickets for the Big Bus. There are three different tourism bus companies and they are all pretty much the same. They all take you to the popular sites and give you a "free" Danube river cruise. We just made sure the one we chose had a route that went past the train station.

Along with the major tourist attractions in the city, be sure to take a stroll down Vaci street for some shopping, have dinner at a restaurant on the river and spend some time at the dancing fountain on Margaret Island.

Late into the evening of our second day, we picked up our bags and headed to the train station. We were scheduled to take the 11:55pm overnight train to Brasov. With a 13-hour journey ahead of us, I was glad that I booked a sleeper class ticket. Though the bed wasn't the most comfortable, it was a fun trip. I would highly recommend bringing ear plugs and a sleep mask. We also lucked out and only had to share our 6-person cabin with one other person. He was very quiet.

Hours and hours later, we found ourselves in Romania.

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