W.A.N.D.E.R.L.U.S.T wednesday: Budapest

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Can't go anywhere without my SuperFoods powering me!
Early mornings, train rides, flights, exchanging of tickets, fully-stuffed bags, strangers bustling from one place to the next, new sights to be captured, tastes to beheld... yes; this heart of mine was made to travel. To taste, to see, to experience, to breathe in the world around me; this is what makes my heart beat.

In the basketball world (or really any professional sports), time off is rare and unheard of during season. Superman came home one night and said in a month's time he will have 3 days completely off, I about threw my back out from the solo dance party I unleashed in celebration. We chose to travel to Budapest, the capital of Hungary for a 3 day getaway.

Budapest is northeast of our small little town, and approx. 2.5 hours away by car. While Hungarians drive on the right side of the road, we didn't feel comfortable rolling the dice with the wheels we've been provided. It has the deep hum that tells us one day we might not be so lucky with the turn-over of the key if you know what I mean ;) Not to mention, Superman and I have chosen to forego local phone cards because we have wifi in a lot of key places. Stranded on the highway with no phone service affirmed our choice to train it.

We arrived early to the train station anxious + nervous newbie train travelers. We asked for tickets there and back. The lady didn't speak English causing us to use big hand motions while she pointed at the clock a lot turning her head side-to-side "no". Hmmm... the struggle continued. Me being SUPER nervous about missing out on the excitement of adventure insisted we wanted to buy whatever ticket was available. Well that suited, and she printed them off. Turns out the only tickets available were the slow train! Oops! We would be pulling in and out of cities for the next 4.5 hours until we reached Budapest. At least we started off early hehe!

The train was hot and stuffy, but I was able to work offline on challenge groups and team resources. The time passed quickly for me and before I knew it we were in the rainy downtown of Hungary! Unsure of which direction our hotel was in and no wifi, we walked to the cab lane. Josh worked out a deal with him and waved me over. As we got in I asked how much. Josh told me and I did the math in my head based on the sticker displaying the fares in the window. We TOTALLY got ripped off. I was heated over this but chose to focus on the cusp of adventure awaiting me in this new city.

On the Train- little bit tired!

We arrived and checked in to our hotel. We stayed at the Hilton Hotel Budapest City. It was perfectly located next to an indoor shopping mall that had Nike (husband win) and a movie theater playing some English speaking movies! The downside it was quite a walk (about 20 min or so) to some of the key "sights" in the city and about 10 min walk from the waterfront of the Danube river. One of Josh's teammates stayed in the Marriott hotel, and that was a PERFECT location. Right next to Hard Rock Cafe (one of our favs), the local Christmas markets, outdoor shopping, overlooked the water, and you could see the Palace from the rooms. I would definitely book in the Marriott next time. However, our room was nice, comfortable and had a GREAT buffet breakfast that we pre-ordered with our room. (Food is important in this household ;).


Breakfast Buffet on Point!




Ain't NO Rain gonna shine on our Parade!
The first day was really rainy + drizzly. We did shopping, and ate an extremely overpriced sushi restaurant. It was all you can eat from the trains for about $25 american dollars per person. Kinda a lot as I said ;) But it was decent enough to fix my sushi-cravings and we made sure to fill up past full making the cost worth it! This is the link to the restaurant on Trip Advisor; the name is Wasabi. I probably wouldn't recommend it to others because of the price, but our hotel desk thought it was good enough to recommend. Not bad, but not great.

The drizzle slowed down that night, so we bundled up and took a walk to the waterfront. We walked along the water for a good 20 minutes. It was beautiful. Budapest is a gorgeous city at night because it has the parliament, and the palace buildings all lit up by the water! UNREAL! Our pics don't do it justice- and the sights pretty much made me forget that I was numb to the bone. As we made our way further downtown, we discovered the local Christmas Markets and none other than the Hard Rock Cafe! This is a must-do for us Duinkers in any big city we visit. We make it a priority to have a meal at the Hard Rock- we hope to knock off all of them one day but we'll see ;) This is just good-ole American food. I highly suggest spending your nights meandering around the Christmas Markets during the Winter Holidays in any bigger European city you visit- they are amazing and you can't help but feel the excitement! I got what they call "chimney biscuit" (I think? hehe) which is pretty much what I used to make growing up! It's a breaded dough twirled around a spit roasting over the open flames. Once thoroughly cooked, you can choose the topping they douse over it. We choose cinnamon (the chef's choice). It was a fun local sweet treat but a bit harder than I had anticipated! 


Chimney Biscuits!
With my chimney biscuit in hand, we headed over to meet up with some of Superman's teammates. One in particular is originally from Budapest, so he gave us the local tour. We headed out into the cold night to have a look at one of the first bars made out of historic ruins. Bars aren't my scene at all, but Szimpla Kert was amazing! The minute you walked in you felt like you were thrown into the middle of a huge thrift store turned coffee shop. The music was fun and lively but more background than party scene. The grounds were a mix of indoor and outdoor. It had an upstairs and downstairs with little bars with food + drink service hidden in the nooks and crannies! It is definitely worth seeing if you ever plan to go to Budapest. Not to mention, there are TONS of languages being spoken around you- definitely a hub to meet other travelers.






Morning Workout
The second day we woke up to pure sunlight! We slept in, went downstairs for buffet breakfast, got a quick workout in in there AMAZING gym facility upstairs! (Seriously, when I build my own home gym- I want it to look like that- altho I don't plan to live in the city so not sure how I'll get the amazing view ;). After showering and bundling up again, we went in search of shoes stores with anything Nike. Superman LOVES his shoes and he heard of a off-the-beaten track store called Rap City where he would be able to find some solid choices. What he didn't know is that we would have NO luck finding his shoe size. Pretty much true in any country outside of America. Such a bummer, but on the upside we discovered a very small-hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant. We love our honey chicken and so we were thrilled to have a taste of asian cuisine again! I don't remember the name, but it was just down the street from Rap City. From there we caught a cab and headed back toward the Christmas markets. We walked around, got lost, and then headed back to our hotel area for more walking + shopping. That night we got to see the new Hunger Games in English and top it off with a FRO-YO date! Talk about perfection!! I was a happy wife thankful for a selfless husband ;)



The third day we tried to get moving quicker. We had done a lot of walking around the city, but failed to hit any of the top tourist sights! We headed out across the river to the Palace. This was AWESOME! Such beautiful sights, beautiful architecture and lots of space to walk around. We took a ton of pics and even discovered this little, tiny bar at the top of one of the palace's castle walls! You could sit under a heater, grab a coffee or wine and enjoy the gorgeous view. I thought the barista was living the life with that job! Her surroundings were amazing! After Superman enjoyed a cappuccino there we moved back toward the city and decided to walk across the bridge instead of cab. When we got to the other side, we found ourselves back in the Christmas markets with hangry sneaking up on us. We circled the food tents a couple times and decided on some REALLY good choices! I felt like I was thrown back in time drinking mulled wine and ginormous hot dogs! The atmosphere was electric! I would go back in a heart beat and do it all over again.


Night Walk
Christmas Markets at Night

View from the Palace



View of the Church inside the Palace
Sigh... the view isn't too bad either ;)


With the afternoon drawing to a close, we headed back to our hotel, changed, checked out and grabbed dinner to-go for the train ride.

Budapest is beautiful, with incredible places to explore. I highly recommend being taken away to a Budapest getaway :)

Live Sown in Strength,
Courtney

2 comments:

  1. Such a good read :) loved the pictures! <3 you're gorgeous and you two such a sweet couple!!!! I'm glad you two enjoyed your trip to Budapest :)

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  2. Its very informative, interactive and quality content. I wish you all good luck for your coming blogs and posts. Keep sharing!
    Well done!

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