R was in Budapest for work, and I joined him to spend a perfect weekend in Budapest. With much to do and just a few days to explore the city, I hit the ground running as soon as I got out of the airport. After dropping off my bag at the hotel, I decided to visit the Vajdahunyad Castle, which, as luck would have it, was less than a fifteen-minute walk from our hotel. Set amidst a beautiful park and a lake, this medieval castle looks straight out of a fairytale – the gothic architecture looks simply magnificent. I was meeting R’s colleagues for dinner that evening, so after wandering around a bit, I made my way to the restaurant. R had chosen a Thai restaurant in downtown Budapest – a thriving district full of restaurants, coffee shops and pubs. Though the meal was average at best, the great company more than made up for it. After bidding adieu to his colleagues, R and I hopped onto the brightly lit Budapest Eye to enjoy the night view of the city.
Day two in the city began with breakfast at the palatial New York Café. This place is perpetually crowded, so I suggest getting there early if you want to get a table. Famous for its Renaissance-style architecture, this place is decked in glittering Venetian chandeliers and gold-plated stuccoes. Since R was at work, I got a table for myself, ordered some English breakfast and spent an hour getting lost in this book. My next stop was the imposing 13th-century marvel – Buda Castle, which sits on the southern tip of Castle Hill. You can either take the funicular (cable car) or trek up there, and I highly suggest doing that because you get to enjoy the spectacular views of the Chain Bridge and Danube River as you walk up. I’m not one for most tourist attractions, but this is simply not to be missed. I spent over two hours just basking in the beauty of this place
The sun had just begun to set, and the city was starting to come alive, so R and I made our way towards the Citadella, a fortification located on top of the Gellért Hill. Again, the trek up here is well worth it as you are rewarded with the most captivating view of the city. There’s seriously nothing more beautiful than the vastness of the city unrolling in front of your eyes. We had worked up an appetite with all the walking, so we ended the day with a lovely meal at a place called Búsuló Juhász Étterem, which is just a stone’s throw away from the Citadella. The main course of chicken breast with beluga lentils and beets was easily one of the nicest things I have ever eaten.
We covered as many places as we could on the last day of our trip. After a quick breakfast of buttery croissants and black coffee, we jaunted off to the bustling Great Market Hall. There were rows of delicatessen cheeses, cured meats, and freshly brewed palinka everywhere. I bought a bag of Hungarian paprika on a friend’s recommendation and my, oh my, it packs a serious punch. From there, we headed to the Fisherman’s Bastion before making a quick pit stop at the Gellért Thermal Bath. Since it was fully booked, we went to Széchenyi Thermal Bath, where we hopped from one pool to another for over three hours. Though we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, I wouldn’t recommend it, as the changing rooms are, well, a bit mouldy and dirty. Even if you do go there, be sure to book a private cabin, or you’ll have to share a shower with hundreds of strangers. We did a little more gallivanting before finding ourselves with delicious drinks and food at an Italian place called Perfetto (the name couldn’t have been more perfect). As this idyllic summer getaway drew to an end, R and I realised that we live for experiences such as these.