Window seat is always the best seat because you’re given a view of your final destination. A rare bird’s eye view of a careful constructed land with tiny roofs, streams of rivers, and the endless amount of greenery. Before we had descended under the clouds, the sun was shining across the white thick fluffy marshmallows. The pilot eases the plane through the clouds and you’re engulfed with sudden white fog with little streams of sunlight forcing their way through the thick mist. Finally you’re given your bird’s eye view of Budapest.
I had no idea what to expect of Budapest. It isn’t talked about much and it does not hold the usual appeal of simply stating “Let’s go to Paris!”, but Budapest is an underrated city. Driving through the city in a taxi, I was taken away by the historical architecture and how different it was from typical European style. It was more traditional and eye-catching, even in the dreary and gloomy weather, Budapest shined through.
There was Buda and there was Pest (pronounced pesht by the Hungarians) with the unification of the two cities, it became Budapest. There was no grand civil war for these two cities to unite, it was just purely for population reasons. The Chain Bridge unified the two cities allowing transportation of vehicles and pedestrians to access one or the other. The Chain Bridge itself is another sight to behold. Tall and grand with it’s faded grey color, you are given the treat of having a marvelous view everywhere you turn. Looking forward you see Buda, looking back you see Pest, and looking left or right you see the river that separates the unified city.
Upon arriving in Buda, the Buda Castle takes over your attention. I was awed at the beauty of it. Simple construction of parallelism, the castle stands tall on top of a mountain, and you are given the pleasure of taking a tram or walking up to the castle itself. As a college student, we took the free stairs and enjoyed the harsh struggle of reaching atop of the mountain. In the end of course it is all worth it because you’re given yet another unique view of Pest and you can’t believe that this city can hold so much beauty. The Parliament stands proudly among the city with the night lights casting a gorgeous yellow glow on it enhancing it’s architectural beauty.
To get a view of both Buda and Pest, we hiked up the Gellért Hill and visited Budapest’s Statue of Liberty; a tall and graceful woman reaching out to the heavens with wheat in her hands. The view is overwhelmingly beautiful with the perfect panoramic view of Budapest.
One of the many traditional activities to do while in Budapest, is to take a bath. After our long two days of exploring as much as Budapest in a short amount of time, we took the metro to Kirâly; one the cheaper coed baths. As the smell is not the most appealing in the world, once you dip yourself into the lukewarm mineral water, your muscles begin to relax and your skin rejuvenates with energy. To maintain an equal amount of temperature for your body, there are three baths. Cold to help cool your skin off after the hot tub, a hot one to relax your sore muscles, and the main one to cleanse your body.
My friends and I after sitting in the hot bath for too long, ventured out to discover a hot tub outside in the middle of a square. It was the perfect combination of warm water and cool air to create a sleepy atmosphere of laziness and content happiness.
While Budapest is an emulate city with its incredible views, the food and people do not disappoint. Getting lost in a city and conversing with locals are what travelers do. As we navigated our way through streets of Budapest using a map given to us from the hostel, we wanted to confirm our direction and so we would ask multiple people. Every single Hungarian that we conversed with, spoke with a charming smile and a willingness to assist us on our adventure.
With the unlimited amount of puns one can create with Hungary and hungry, the food lives up to comedic word play. Some of the traditional foods that we had the blessing of dining consist of duck with a side of mashed potatoes and cabbage, goulash soup, chicken paprikash, rantott sajt (fried cheese) with blueberries, and lángos (fried dough). If you thought Italian cuisine was the best in the world, you thought wrong. The food is simple yet mouthwatering with every bite because you can’t believe that your taste buds haven’t experienced something this good.
To end our short weekend trip in Budapest, we visited The Shoes on the Danube River Memorial where the Jews were forced to remove their shoes and be shot into the river by the fascist during World War II. On the slightly sunny day in Budapest, I sat in silence and honored the early history of Budapest.