My supposedly 2 days and one-night stay in Budapest was cut short. If you read my post about Istanbul, you will know that I have had some misfortunes with travel delays. Hence, my 8:30 am arrival in Budapest became 8:30 pm and well, it just changed my whole schedule. My well planned two-day itinerary was squeezed in one day. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the day I spent in Budapest.
My plane finally landed at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport at around 8:30pm and I reached Budapest Nyugati Palyaudvar (Western Railway Station) past 10 pm. Good thing I already had my dinner in Istanbul Ataturk Airport as everything in the area is already closed. I struggled to find my apartment while dragging my 20k luggage and my gym bag carry on. It was cold but since I walked far more than enough, and I was on the verge of getting lost, I was feeling rather hot.
I was relieved when I finally reached my destination only to find out there was no lift in the building and my unit is in the 3rd floor. Once again, I dragged my luggage up and after a very looonggg day I could finally get some rest. To my consolation, the apartment was very clean, and Andrea, the owner was very nice and accommodating. I booked this through Booking.com and I could say it was rather affordable and could accommodate up to four people. There were two single beds and one convertible sofa.
Lessons learned: Streets in Europe do not go well with luggage and always make sure to read hotel/apartment booking details.
I set out to start early the next day and I was out of the apartment by 6 am. It was still very dark and I can count with my hands the number of people that I met while walking. The good thing about this is I was able to take as much photos as I wanted to and however I wanted to without disturbing other people.
My first stop was the Danube River which is just within walking distance from my apartment. I took some photos and went on to walk towards the very impressive Hungarian Parliament Building on the side facing the river.
Not far from the Parliament Building are the Shoes on the Danube Bank, which holds a very sad memory for the people of Hungary. From there you can already get a good view of the Szechenyi Chain Bridge which connects Buda and Pest. This also provides a good access to the Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion.
I was planning to ride the funicular up to Buda Castle but it was still early and the funicular does not open until 7:30 am. I decided to go through the right side and climb up to Fisherman’s Bastion first.
For me, the highlight of this area is Matthias Church. I especially love the tiles roof. The church, as well as the whole Fisherman’s Bastion area, looks very clean. Maybe because, there are not much tourists yet. Although, before I climbed up to the Matthias Church area, there were already a few tourist buses arriving.
I headed to Buda Castle afterwards. It was very windy and therefore very cold, good thing I was wearing touchscreen gloves that I was still able to take photos. My other hand was used to make sure my beanie stays in the right place – on my head and not fly off to far away places. From Buda Castle, you can get a very good view of the Danube and the Pest area.
After resting for a while at Buda Castle, I decided it was time to eat so I headed down to the Christmas Market at Vorosmarty Square. I went for a very sumptuous and filling sausage sandwich paired with mulled wine (helped to keep me a bit warmer). The sausage reminded me of the garlic sausages we had back home in my town in the Philippines. Only, the Philippine sausage is more garlic-y while the one I had is saltier.
I hopped on to the next Christmas market which is the market at the Basilica. I wanted to try kurtoskalacs so I got myself one and it was huge! I still had some leftovers for the next day!
I went inside the Basilica and there was a service going on, so I decided to stay and finish it. To be honest, I did not understand any word in it but since it is still a mass, I understand what was happening. The church was very remarkable, and it was more than what I expected.
I went around the town and just let myself get lost in it. I found some interesting things while walking around. At some point I ended up in the Hungarian Parliament Building and made my way back to my apartment. I needed a short rest after literally walking around the city. Mind you, I did not use any form of transportation on this day.
When the sun started to set I went to find the Great Synagogue in Dohany Street. I was planning to go to Heroes Square after but, well, I was just too tired to go on.
So, I went back to Vorosmarty Square and bought stuffed cabbage. I saw it when I did my research and it was really very interesting. On the way back to my apartment, I walked along the Danube and past the Parliament Building (again!)
And this was how I spent my Christmas Eve, walking around the wonderful city on this day I spent in Budapest. When I arrived at my apartment, this plate of goodies was waiting for me!
As for the stuffed cabbage, it was great, but it did not go well with my tummy, if you know what I mean. Together, the plate of goodies and stuffed cabbage became my humble Christmas eve dinner.
Due to the delays I experienced the day before, I missed the light display at the Basilica, was not able to go to Heroes Square, eat goulash and langos, nor take a dip at the thermal baths. All these on my next visit, perhaps? For the next day at early morning, I am taking the train bound to Vienna.
The day I spent in Budapest was a very productive one, as short as it may be. Although, this got me to thinking I am probably getting old as I got tired after only half day of walking. That or I may not be getting enough exercise. I choose to think I am definitely not getting enough exercise!
For more of my Europe escapades, you can check out my itinerary.