Budapest is a big city – duh! After being in quiet and sleepy Croatia, we arrived in Budapest overstimulated and overwhelmed. Luckily for us, we found our hostel, Maverick’s City Lodge and were completed shocked at how nice this place was. Hostel? No way. This was far better, cleaner, more modern and had friendlier staff than most hotels we’ve stayed at so far. If you are ever in Budapest – look no further, book here.
Our room was on the top floor of the hotel sized hostel and had high ceilings, amazing modern bathroom, a giant loft, ladder included. To say we were pretty happy would be an understatement. AND it was $18 pp.
After getting over how awesome our room was, we explored the Jewish Ghetto neighborhood we were in, sounds sketchy but its a trendy neighborhood one street north of the main restaurant/touristy areas in Pest. We found a cracker-box Mexican restaurant and enjoyed beers and burritos. First Mexican of the trip and boy, was it tasty.
The following day we set out to see the sights. One would be screwed in Budapest without a good travel map. It’s too big to walk forcing you to use the metro system, which after a few trips, is extremely easy to use. Budapest has public transportation down.
We made our way to the Great Market Hall, just south of us. We walked along the pedestrian-only street, passing restaurants, souvenir shops, furry hats and bars before arriving at the giant indoor market.
Stalls containing produce, meats and oils lined the bottom floor while lace, t-shirt and trinket booths clustered upstairs.
Walking back to the main touristy part of Pest, we arrived at the Budapest Christmas Market. What differentiated this market from all other Christmas markets? The absolutely delicious, sugary, died and gone to heaven, Christmas chimney treats. And I suppose the huge buffet style beef, pork, sausage, goulash meals were pretty good too. The stalls were cafeteria style. Pick what you want and a nice Hungarian women serves it up to you.
And its hearty. Hungarians eat one pound of lard a week – or so we’ve read. Add hot wine and beer, plus another chimney and we were stuffed.
We walked to the Danube river to get a view of the Buda Palace and Chain Bridge, spotting lights metro trains zooping past before calling it a night.
The next morning we had our sights set on Chain Bridge. It was cold, sleety and foggy but we made our way anyway. From the Chain Bridge, connecting both Buda and Pest, you can view the Parliament Building to the north and Buda Palace straight in front of you.
The Palace is massive and beautiful. We bought two cups of hot wine and walked around the grounds. It’s much more of a town surrounding the palace than a city, a nice peaceful break from the craziness of Pest across the bridge. We walked to Fisherman’s Bastion to see the view and watched street buskers play and tourists snap photos.
I love the Hungarian mail boxes too. How cool are these?