Bridges, baths, and Budapest
Didja know that Buda and Pest used to be separate cities?
It’s been two weeks since my trip to the Central European cities of Budapest and Prague, and it still feels as though it was all a dream. This trip was by far one of the smoothest this semester, which is admittedly so nice after all those anxiety-filled, curve-ball, and downright stressful ones. But what’s an adventure without any of that?
I went to these cities with one of the Canadian girls. It was really refreshing to have a travel companion who is a similar traveler to myself – and after my solo Spring Break trip, it was good to have a buddy again!
We left Toulouse on a Thursday afternoon, but we wouldn’t arrive in Budapest until later that night. For being new to a foreign city, with a language as difficult as Hungarian (thankfully they all spoke English as well), Sudiksha and I mastered the public transit that same night of our arrival and made it to our hostel without a hitch. After a welcome glass of white wine, I was ready to hit the sheets for the days ahead.
Friday – Budapest Walking Tour
After a beautiful snooze in an extremely comfortable hostel bed (I would definitely recommend the Wombats hostel chain – they were fabulous), we were ready to tackle the day ahead. It was meant to be hot and sunny, so I was excited to wear shorts because it has been too long. If this were California, I would have been already wearing shorts back in March the latest. The SoCal struggle in Europe is very real.
Anyways, on the agenda for the day was a free walking tour to learn a bit about the city. I would also definitely recommend doing these – mind you, they are 100% free – but you just have to give your tour guide a tip, and believe me, they will always do a good job and actually deserve it. It’s a great way to hear about the history behind all the sights – and from a local!
Our Budapestian tour guide was called Rudolf. He told good jokes and even tried to teach us some Hungarian. All I remember is the word for Hello – it’s Szia! which is pronounced like “See ya!” I think that’s why it stuck, in all honesty. Because it’s ironic.
Starting on the Pest side, we learned that it’s much flatter (and more lively at night) than the Buda side.
Rudolf also told us some fun facts. For example, Budapest has the first metro line in continental Europe. They have to throw in continental because London had the first metro system. Every city wants to be like London. (I can’t wait to go back to London<3)
Then we crossed the Chain Bridge to go to the Buda side of Budapest. The more hilly, but in my opinion, the more beautiful side of Budapest.
Saturday – Central Market Hall and Széchenyi Bath
Saturday was our last full day in Budapest since we’d be leaving for Prague early the next morning. The walking tour from the previous day brought us pretty much everywhere, except the Central Market Hall and the baths.
To start off, Sudiksha and I went to the market.
It was your typical covered market, but I was a bit disappointed because it did not live up to its hype. I suppose I will have to wait and see La Boqueria in Barcelona – and I highly doubt that will disappoint the fresh fruit lover in me.
We also somehow ventured back over to the Buda side for what became a pretty strenuous hike up some huge hill, but we figured it would be okay since we were going to one of the grandest baths in Budapest later that afternoon.
Plus, can you really beat this view?
The bath we went to was the Széchenyi Bath – which is very popular amongst locals and tourists alike.
But first, our guide suggested that we go to one of the best bars in the city… A water bar!
This “bar” was right next door to the Széchenyi Bath, and the water that they serve is from the same source that fills the jacuzzis. So yes, we drank the water that we would later be sitting in. Weird, I know.
However, the Budapestians swear by this “healing water” just as they swear by their Palinka’s. I will say that I was experiencing an itchy throat due to allergies, and the next day after drinking this water, it was gone. Coincidence? Maybe. You just have to experience it for yourself. (The water smelt like boiled eggs though.) It’s all those minerals ;)
My very first public bath experience, I have to say was an experience.
The European culture in general is not shy when it comes to their bodies. Which is great, more power to you. In the ladies locker room for example, I saw quite a lot.
Overall, it was very relaxing. We preferred the 35 degree Celsius and up waters because if you’re going to jacuzzi it up, you have to do it right.
Budapest, you were fun! Thanks for a good time. xx