Oh Budapest. Beautiful, cheap and historical Budapest. I am seriously considering moving there. The food is cheap, the metro system is really easy, the city is gorgeous and you can go to warm outdoor pools all year round. What more could you want?!
3rd of November
Travelling and working as a freelance writer is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I mean it sounds fantastic; earn your money back as you travel, actually do something productive whilst still seeing all the sights and spend your days sitting in fabulous cafes daintily typing away whilst everyone admires you.
In reality you either end up neglecting the sightseeing because realistically not everywhere has WiFi and spending all your money at cafes kind of defeats the point, or you neglect the writing in favour of sightseeing and end up panicking at your blank pages and long to do list. Also even though a tablet is a lot more convenient and generally safer to travel with it is a bitch to write anything lengthy on. My tablet randomly decided to delete my words, change my letters or just invent new words of its own and so half the time I end up shouting at it and then realising I’m in public and everyone things I’m insane. I’m still loving it don’t get me wrong and it’s been really helpful (especially as I only started buying food to cook at the hostel rather than eating out two weeks into my trip), but it’s not as easy as people think.
On my first proper day in Budapest I went for a wonderful and stumbled upon this great little vegetarian cafe. They sold samosas, pakoras, vegetable filled pancakes, veggie burgers, stuffed zucchinis and loads of salad. They did put cartots in the samosas and pancakes which is a huge turn off for me, but that’s just my weird prejudices more than any reflection on the food. It was nice, healthy and at around 2100 forints pretty reasonably priced. Only drawback was that their wifi flat out refused to cooperate so my plan of working in quaint little veggie cafes just did not work out.
Oh the health.
After that I somehow ended up walking to Nyugati pályaudvar and went to the big West End shopping centre which is packed full of shops (some like H&M are pretty standard and some I can’t remember seeing before) and ended up giving my tired face a complete makeover with the makeup testers. Apparently that’s allowed which makes me wonder why anyone buys makeup if you can use all the brands for free, but realistically they’d catch on quite quickly and bar you for life.
Next I ended up going into this indoor market place. Not the market that Google tells you to go to, I don’t even know what this one was called, but it was still pretty cool. I got a huge beer for 350 forints (about £1) and ended up doing my work at a little table via their surprisingly sprightly wifi.
4th Of November
This was the first time I saw the ‘Buda’ side of Budapest. I walked over the Chain Bridge and got to see how beautiful this city really is for the first time.
I hadn’t planned what to actually do when I got to the other side but there was a slope clearly leading towards the massive beautiful building on top of the hill so I walked towards it. There is a train you can get which will take you up the slope but I really don’t see why you’d pay to use it when the hill really isn’t hard to climb. And I really, really hate hills so that is saying something.
I didn’t actually know what the massive building was (I figured it was a castle of some sort) but it was pretty and the view when you get to the top is amazing.
The walk isn’t long at all and when you reach the top you have an amazing view of the city. It turned out the big beautiful building was Buda Castle (duh) and the walk takes you right up to the Budapest History Museum. The museum is really impressive. Its all inside the former palace itself and the first floor talks about the history of the palace and who lived in it. All that stuff is pretty standard but when you go downstairs things get interesting.
There are loads of relics from the original palace (it’s been destroyed and rebuilt a few times as I recall) and then if you go down done more stairs you end up in an uncovered old part of the palace complete with a chapel, sellers and a prison.
There was also a really interesting gallery which explored the role of children in art and how they have been depicted throughout history, and another exhibition called ‘Light and Shadows’ which looks at Budapest’s history from Roman times to the end of communism.
I walked in not knowing anything about Hungarian history and left with loads of new knowledge. Budapest had not had a peaceful history. I mean know where had but Budapest (or rather Buda, Pest and Obuda) has been at war do many different times. They got invaded by the Ottoman empire, they got taken over by the Nazis and they suffered under communism to name a few. It’s amazing this city is as beautiful as it is considering how many times it’s been at war.
After the museum I walked around the rest of the castle area. The viewing platform are amazing and it definitely highlighted one of the bad things about travelling alone; no one to take pictures of you and selfies just are not the same.
My day ended with an awesome burrito from Gringos Amigos, an awesome Mexican fast food place just a few minutes away from Deak metro station. It’s not that cheap for Budapest but it was really needed and very tasty, plus it’s still cheaper than it ever would be in the U.K so you can’t exactly complain.