Budapest was a weekend getaway, although technically it was a 4d3n trip from 1 Feb to 4 Feb. Semester 2 has just started; apart from dissertation, there was only one taught unit remaining. We used the Jet2Holidays travel package and stayed at Atrium hotel.
Did you know Budapest became a single city with the unification of west-bank Buda with east-bank Pest of the river Danube?
Day 1: Pest Side
Wought a 7-day travel card priced at 4950 Ft (≃£14.50) at the airport. We used the bus and the metro to reach the hotel. The tram was old and had a lot of graffiti on it.
After checking in, we had our first and only fast food at KFC. There were some food that were exclusively available in Hungary, but unfortunately were beef. I opted for a classic chicken burger of 1500 Ft (≃£4.36)
We walked around and past the Library of the Hungarian Parliament, the hole in flag, the St Stephen’s Basilica, where we took a short rest inside.
“The hole in the flag is a symbol of Hungary’s freedom after the collapse of communism. The communist hammer and sickle were in the past the emblem on the flag. This flag waves next to the grave of the unknown soldier in the garden infront of the Parliament building“¬
By then, it was nightfall, after a short walk along the world famous shopping Vaci street and Vörösmarty square, the heart of Budapest, we had dinner at Sorforra’s, an Eastern European cuisine.
Day 2: Buda Side
Free breakfast! We left at almost noon every single day because of the complimentary breakfast from the hotel.
It was raining the whole day. We checked the weather forecast in advance, so all of us are well-prepared for the light shower. We climbed several flights of stairs, before finally reached the Matthias church.
Lunch was at iCafe, a restaurant along the way. We walked past the chain bridge, and visited the Hungarian National Gallery for almost 2 hours.
After a night view at the Chain Bridge, we realized that we are late for our reservation at 6pm, so we sped walk. Being one of the last ones in the group, the second half of the group got lost and after a phone call to TJ, thankfully YL walked back and guided us to the first half of the group.
Dinner was great. We all had different food to our liking, and I had pike-perch fish. For dessert, we have Hungarian doughnuts (that tasted similar to any other doughnuts, imho) Unfortunately there was another reservation at 8, so we had to leave as soon as we finished.
I forgotten my umbrella and only remembered it upon reaching the hotel. How forgetful of me! TJ ran to get it for me the following day, but the restaurant was closed. (thank you anyway!) I got my umbrella back on the last day!
Day 3: Buda and Pest
It was snowing!
We climbed the Gellert Hill, with consisted of 350 steps, excluding slopes and flat surfaces, just to see the Statue of Liberty of Budapest. It was built in remembrance of Soviet conquest of Hungary during World War II. The sight of Budapest cityscape from the hill was beautiful, although there was a lot of mist.
After that we went to For Sale pub for lunch. Did you know we could throw the peanut shells on the floor? As we are split into two tables, there was a friendly peanut-throwing war between tables. The portion were huge, and even shared by 2, we could not finished all the food.
We manage to catch the 4pm English tour in Hungarian State Opera House. The Opera House is not only one of the most significant art relic of Budapest, but the symbol of the Hungarian operatic tradition of more than three hundred years as well. The interior was amazing, and I loved the chandelier that hung grandly from the ceiling.
That night, we visited the Hero’s square, which is one of the major squares in Budapest, rich with historic and political connotations and the iconic statue, the Millennium memorial. On the way to the hot bath, we walked to across an ice-skating rink where we see some people playing tag on rollerblades!
Dinner was at Fatal restaurant, where we were conned out of drinking a 1200 Ft shot. The manager originally said it was free, and when the bill came, he said that nothing is free. The food was delicious and the portion was really huge! YL tried to had a Fatal platter (for 2) all by himself but he could not finish it! Good effort!
Day 4: Great Market Hall
After breakfast and detouring to get my forgotten umbrella, we went to the Great Market Hall. Here, we bought our souvenirs for our friends and tried Hungarian food specialty, lángos, which was just a deep fried flat bread made of dough.
We went back to get our luggage and rushed to the airport. We arrived at the check-in counter 20 minutes before it closes. The flight back to Manchester was a bumpy ride, as there was some turbulence. Our luggage was forced opened, and our luggage lock was spoilt. Apparently, the airport security had a right to do so, but fortunately nothing was missing.
On a whole, Budapest trip was an enjoyable and relaxing trip, when you take away all the dramas in between. I’m glad I went 😀