Last month my favourite Blogger Babe, Boo and I took a trip away to the beautiful City of Budapest (pronounced BOO-DA-PESSH-T). Situated on the banks of the River Danube, many beautiful bridges span the river, bringing the two settlements of Buda and Pest together.
We had booked ourselves a five day break staying at the fabulous Hotel Continental Budapest, right in the heart of the Pest section. Flying there from Luton it was only 2.5 hours away, a perfect short haul City break
Leaving on Saturday 17th September, we arrived at in Hungary at approximately 1430 local time and got a minibus transfer straight to the doors of our Hotel for the bargain price of 17 Euro return. This meant we didn’t have to worry about trying to find out how to get back to the airport at the end of our stay either.
The journey to the hotel took approximately 30 minutes and even though we knew the hotel was quite spectacular, it took my breath away when I was greeted at a fabulous revolving door by a wonderfully dressed doorman.
We checked into our room quickly and easily. The staff were so friendly and efficient, and our baggage was whisked away to our room.
Boo and I were sharing a twin room, which was on floor 6 of a 9 floor building, with the top being dominated by an outdoor pool and garden area, and a leisure club with an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi.
We entered our room and loved the whole look. It was beautifully decorated and the bathroom was divine. We decided to unpack and then hit the City to find somewhere to dine and get the lay of the land.
Getting changed into a lovely white and red Voodoo Vixen dress and matching accessories, we first went up to the roof to see what it was like. The sun was shining and it was just simply lovely. Queue the obligatory outfit photographs.
Moving on we started to have a walk around the City. Boo had a good feel for the direction we needed to take and off we set. One of the first places we stumbled across was the Dohány utcai Zsinagóga (Dohány Street Synagogue) which is the largest Synagogue in Europe. It was just beautiful. The Moorish architecture of the building which opened in 1859 was wonderful and out came the camera.
Budapest has a difficult history with its Jewish inhabitants. During the second World War, many thousands of Jewish people were rounded up, herded into ghettos before being sent to concentration camps such as Auschwitz. It still has a large Jewish community, and this huge synagogue is testament to that.
We carried on walking and eventually hit the pedestrianised shopping area. It was almost like being in London! Starbucks, H&M, Hard Rock Cafe, The Body Shop; it was all there!
We started looking for somewhere to eat. We had been told that the Hungarians did an amazing Fried Cheese and we were searching for it.
Before we could find it, a distinguished looking gentleman came up and asked if he could talk to us. He went onto tell us that he produced a TV show where he looked at what was happening on the streets of Budapest. He wondered if we would consent to having our picture taken?
Well, of course it isn’t something you get asked every day but after checking his credentials we posed in front of one of the many statues and had our picture taken for him.
He gave us his contact details, but before he could disappear, Boo asked him if he knew where we could get fried cheese!!
Peter was a lovely gentleman, but being cautious we weren’t going to wander along just anywhere with him. However he showed us to a restaurant in the square and spoke to the waiting staff and told them what we wanted! Just perfect. With a thank you, Peter left us to await our cheese!
After eating a very lovely meal we set off again, this time in search of the River Danube and it’s picturesque views.
A quick five minute walk, and there it was! The River, Buda Castle, The Chain Bridge and more.
We started walking down the Pest side of the river, heading towards the Parliament building and all the wonderful sights. Night was starting to fall, and as we walked to the Széchenyi Lánchíd (Chain Bridge), a thunderstorm broke out in the City, some distance from us. It however gave the night skyline an amazing look. The shades of blue just demanded being photographed.
We carried on down the banks of the Danube till we hit the Chain Bridge and walked over it to the Buda side. Looking at Budavári Palota (Buda Castle), and back across the river to Országház (Parliament), all illuminated, it really did make for a spectacular scene.
Now, I think London is stunning at night. It really is wonderful. However, for sheer beauty I think Budapest wins hands down! They seem to have put all the prettiest buildings and architectural wonders on the banks of the River Danube.
Everywhere you go, even the smallest streets, the houses and businesses are works of art. The purpose built artistic buildings therefore, are simply stunning.
We walked almost to Margit Híd (Margarets Bridge), but decided to try our hand at local transport when we came across the Batthyany tube station. Try as we might, we could not get the ticket machines to take our payment or cards. Thankfully there was a ticket office in the subway and we purchased the necessary ticket.
Travelling on public transport in Budapest is amazingly cheap! A ticket costs 350HF (Hungarian Forint) which is the equivalent of £1.03. This will take you on a single journey, no matter the length, It could be one stop or eleven.
You also use the same tickets for the trams and buses. Buy a ticket from the machine and hop on. It really is as quick and simple as that!
Anyway, we (I mean Boo, really) navigated our way back to the hotel via the tube and decided we had earned ourselves a sit down in the terrace bar and maybe an alcoholic beverage or two.
As always I ordered a Long Island Ice Tea and Boy was I blown away. In fairness, the waitress told me it was quite strong and to ask for some more Coke to put in it if needed.
All I can say was I knew I was going to sleep well that night!
Stay tuned for further adventures in Budapest