So this is the last of the blog posts that have been long-outstanding on my to-do list to write. Well, except for a review of 2018 and my goals for 2019…I think I might just skip them now!
Budapest had been on my radar for a little while, and it seemed that rarely a month went by without my Facebook feed having photographs from a friend or some random that I met once, visiting the capital of Hungary.
After enlisting two of my closest advisors, we set upon finding some gloriously cheap flights with Wizzair that weren’t really that cheap (if I recall correctly it was the first weekend of “no cabin bags without paying more”) and then a cheap apartment in Budapest itself.
Whilst the plane sufficed for our needs, the apartment was more than we expected. Right on the main “posh” road in Budapest, this was a grand old apartment with ceilings over twice my height. Who doesn’t love a high ceiling?
The parts of the city that we saw were mainly the nice touristy parts then the ‘dive bars’ (think Last Days of Shoreditch 10 years ago) – which were basically large run-down buildings converted into bars, or even not buildings at all, with various added quirky touches. Some of these were super-charming, though one in particular was a bit, erm, Magaluffy. Which was the one on a list of recommendations that we had. Hmmm.
The city was split into two by the Danube, and across the other side from where we were staying was much of the historical part – and some cracking views. Not to mention a funicular – and who doesn’t like a funicular? Interestingly you could queue up forever to go up the funicular, or just buy these queue-jump tickets from people in the queue for the same price. Which seemed dodgy, but was apparently fine.
Not a bad view up there either, huh?
Despite the cloudy skies, it was very pleasant up there – sitting and watching the world go by. Though full of tourists – and hell, nearly £3 a pint, if I remember correctly.
What wasn’t so pleasant, was the House Of Terror. This was a sobering and dark look at a section of Hungary’s history, from the Nazi era and through the communist era – it was quite scary that this really wasn’t that long ago, and what went on there. An experience worth going to, and a reminder of the evils of both fascism and communism.
At first I didn’t really take to Budapest – I was only really judging this on one night out, some cheap beers and a wrong culinary decision at a rather good Israeli restaurant. But I didn’t get the feel.
Once I’d had had a couple of days there (and many cheap beers), I was much more taken by the place – it does have an interesting and conflicted history, yet is still quite a poor place and a way from modernising in some respects. Though I do love a good old communist-era tower block. To look at.
The food was a particular delight – especially the Hungarian sausages. I think I had sausages every day…oh and the goulash that we had on the last night…soooooo good. I resisted the testicles that were on offer though.
I do remember being particularly amused by the fact that the ketchup in this rather upmarket place near the parliament came from Dorset.
Alas, it being nearly a year ago, I cannot remember enough to make a decent blog post out of it. I really enjoyed my visit to Budapest, and once I’d come to appreciate it, I really wish I had had more time than just a couple of days there. Would I go back? Perhaps for the sausages. But I’d definitely recommend it.
They also had an interesting collection of Russian dolls.