Polaroids from Budapest

europe, hungary, personal, study abroad, tips, travel, travel diaries

Before I start this post, let’s set the mood.
Here, give this a listen!

For you-oooo, you-oooo, I’d leave it all…
Okay, dorkiness over (maybe). Here we go!

Hello, hello! This past weekend was a whirlwind – in the best way! My friend Remony and I got the idea to travel to Budapest a few weeks ago. We booked tickets, found a hostel, and before we knew it we were jumping in an Uber to get to the airport. Remony and I arrived on different flights (this is another booking horror story. Maybe I should make a post of my travel mishaps), but after we waited in line to get through passport control, we found each other, took out some Forint and went on our merry way!

I had been to Budapest once before for roughly a day and a half – a last-minute mission trip destination change to the Czech Republic called for some last-minute flights and the best option for my group was to spend some time in Budapest and leave from there to catch flights home. So, I was sixteen, and in a large group of kids. We walked around a bit but didn’t do much, so I was extremely excited to get to go back as a twenty-year-old and really experience Budapest. Our hostel was actually very close to the hotel I stayed in all those years prior, so it was a nice reminder of that fun trip I took when I was in high school.

Anyways, enough of the reminiscing! So what did you do?! More importantly, what should I do??!! Okay, okay. I hear you! I’ll tell you! Here are some of the best moments from our mini-getaway to Budapest, Hungary.

Free Walking Tours
This was my second free walking tour during my study abroad adventures, and I’m starting to realize it’s the best way to fully see a city. Especially during these weekend trips when you’re only in a place for two or three days. With this tour we were able to explore both sides of the city – Buda and Pest, while hearing the extensive history that stands with Budapest. This particular company has all types of free walking tours – street art tours, evening walks, and even Communism history tours!

Caving Guided Tour
This was actually really fun. Remony and I found a low-pressure three-hour-long cave walk through Budapest’s ‘underground flower garden’ complete with gorgeous mineral concretions and gypsum crystals. The tour is perfect for someone who is a bit worried about caving or who might have claustrophobia. This tour was a little far to get to – but also, caves cannot really be strategically placed to be accessible to tourists, so it’s okay. Do this tour if you need to kill some time and want to explore Budapest’s natural wonders! Maybe you’ll even see some bats! Can you find the sleeping bat in one of these polaroids?

Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar
By the end of the day, we were exhausted! Remony and I walked past a large ferris wheel in the middle of the city center every day so we decided to buy a ticket and see some sights on our last night. After the ‘Budapest Eye’, we mapped ourselves to Szimpla Kert, something we had heard about from a few people. We didn’t know what to expect and were so enchanted with the quirky-esque charm of this bar. There are ten or so mini rooms that are all connected, and about six bars. Some sell beer, some are wine bars, and some make cocktails. You just walk around, admire the art everywhere, and hang out! I would definitely go back if I had a chance.

Széchenyi Thermal Bath
Okay, I couldn’t bring my Polaroid into the thermal baths, but this was the best part of the trip for me, so I had to include it in this list! Budapest is considered the wellness center of Europe. Roman times introduced the bathhouse to Budapest, and the lifestyle was mastered when Turks took over the city. The Széchenyi baths are the biggest in Europe, with 21 pools, so you can’t not visit when you come to Budapest. Check online, buy your 5.200 – 5.400 Forint ticket, throw your things in your locker and put on your swimsuit, and it’s go time. The outdoor thermal pool is 38°C (100.4°F) and honestly exactly what you need. There are minerals in the pool that work all sorts of magic, and I know for me that my skin felt crazy soft when I got out of the pool. So hey – it’s great! Go. Do the thing!

Where to eat:

– For traditional Hungarian food go to Bule Rose in the Jewish Quarter. It is fairly cheap and has any type of Hungarian dish you can ask for!
– Try Langos anywhere you see it! It’s a deep-fried dough covered in sour cream and cheese, and a Hungarian specialty!
– Hop in a grocery store and grab yourself some Paprika Pringles. You’re welcome, but also, so sorry because you’ll be addicted and be so upset when you can’t eat them 24/7 when you’re back home!

A heads up for those with dietary restrictions or vegans/vegetarians: Hungarian food is heavily centered around meat. As a vegetarian, I usually find some type of veggie option at most restaurants, but in Budapest, it was really hard. I would suggest grabbing some protein bars at a corner store to eat throughout the day while you snack on things you can eat at restaurants. Or at least travel with a buddy who is okay with not eating solely Hungarian food while you are in Budapest!

Now that I’m officially out of relevant instant camera shots, here are some photos from my camera that I took off and on through the trip.

You will want to try chimney bread the moment you smell the street vendors! My fave: cinnamon. You will dream about this sweet snack for years (that’s what I did)!
The Danube River divides Buda and Pest. Our tour guide gave us a tip to remember which side is which: Pest is flat like a pizza, and Buda is bumpy! B for Buda and bumpy, and P for pizza and Pest!
The trams in Budapest are cute and what dreams are made of. Line 2 was voted one of the prettiest tram lines by National Geographic! So, get that 72 hour travel pass and utilize it!
Okay, this is a badly lit iPhone picture. BUT, #ProTip! If you’re in a hostel and are having a hard time sleeping, ask for Valeriana at the nearest pharmacy. It’s an all-natural sleeping aid and will do the trick! I slept like an angel in my 8-person dorm.

Well, there you go! My weekend was non-stop and full of fun mini-adventures like trying Hungarian wine, climbing up a hill to see Buda castle, and trying to figure out what things meant in Hungarian! I would completely recommend Budapest. As two young women traveling solo, we both felt very safe. That means something!

Be back soon with more adventures! Can’t wait to see what this next weekend holds.

Talk to you soon!

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  1. Reply

    Maddie, O’MY GOD, Noooo, you can not stay at anymore hostels. I won’t be able to sleep @ the thought of you being in one.. ok? No! No! I love you ❤️Love the post!

    1. Reply

      Haha we are in the safe ones – I promise! I’ll stay safe as well((: Love you lots!

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