Hungary – Budapest

Free Walking Tour, Chimney Cake & City Lights

We got to Budapest at around 11 and we were able to check into our Hostel straight away. We went to the Supermarket Spar and got a roast chicken for lunch with a bag of salad. We went to one of the Free Budapest Walking Tours in the afternoon but it wasn’t as good as Sandemans (they didn’t have any in Budapest).

On the free walking tour we:

  • Learnt how to pronounce Budapest properly (bud-a-pesh),
  • Saw the Opera House,
  • Explored Sisi (Elizabeth) Square ,
  • Viewed the outside of St Stevens Basilica, Saw Matthias Church and Academy of Sciences,
  • Took photos in Fisherman’s Bastion,
  • Walked across Chain Bridge,
  • Went up Castle Hill,
  • Got an expensive delicious pineapple slushy at the base of castle hill.

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The tour guide told us to go back up Castle Hill to the viewpoint at night time to get a different view of the city with all the lights so after the tour we went back to the hostel and had leftover chicken and salad for dinner. On our walk back up to Castle Hill we stopped at Kutoskalacs on Gellert Hill. YOU HAVE TO GO THERE. They make the best Chimney Cakes. We had the free samples and bailed).

When we got up to the viewpoint it was really busy, but the scenery was epic. When we got back to the hostel it was pretty late so we finished off the last of our bookings and Ricky helped some people play poker.

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Great Synagogue, Churches and Hospital in The Rock

We realized that the Great Synagogue was right near our Hostel so in the morning we went and checked it out while we went to the Supermarket Spar. It was about $15 to get in so we didn’t bother, but it looked pretty cool from the outside.

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On our way to St Matthias church Ricky stumbled across the IJF (international Judo Federation) in Budapest, he researched it later to find out that the Grand Prix was on, but we just missed it (it finished that day).
When we got to St Matthias church we saw they were charging over 5EU to get in, we didn’t want to pay just to see another church so we got photos from the outside then left.

After a short walk down the hill we reached the Hospital in the Rock Nuclear Bunker. It’s a museum for the old Hospital they built before the war. We got a pretty sweet discount because we are under 26; like half price.
The tour was really good, you saw all the rooms and you could even buy original hospital bandages, water bottles and masks etc. They only issue was that you’re not allowed to take photos… Ricky took a few sneaky ones anyway. It took about an hour.

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Margaret Island, St Stephens Basilica & Retro Langos

Everything in Budapest is pretty close so after the tour we walked to Margaret Island (Margitsziget). It’s only about 2.5 km long so we just walked around a bit and came out. There are lots of nice parks and you could definitely spend the day there relaxing (we think there is a pool as well).

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Before we went back to the Hostel we checked our Parliament Building (guide said it was better outside and not worth paying to go inside) and also St Stephens Basilica. To get in there is a recommended donation of 200HUF, it was well worth the moola.

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The guide from the day before recommended Retro Langos. We had the Hungarian Sausage Langos; deep fried bread + sour cream + Cheese + sausage + red onion = delicious (and cheap!). Ricky said it tasted like donut crossed with a pizza.

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Belgium Vs Hungary

That night it was the Belgium Vs Hungary in the Football so we went to the park next to our hostel to watch. It was absolutely packed; Hungary lost, but the atmosphere was still awesome. We saw some of the people from our Hostel there so we all went to Szimpla bar afterwards for a beer. It’s a ‘ruin bar’ which means an alternative bar. It was free to enter and the beers were under 5EU. We ended up walking home with all the Football hooligans (they can flares and everything).

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Heroes Square, Szenchenyi Baths and Sambo

The next day we did a little bit of food shopping and then went to the Szenchenyi Baths around lunch time. 1 tram stop before the baths you can check out Heroes Square. If you’re heading out that way definitely go see it, otherwise it’s not really worth the tram ride by itself.

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Szenchenyi baths is the most popular bath house and will set you back at least $20AUD for a single pass. We can see how you can spend an entire day there. They easily have over 20 pools with all different temperatures. Lots of saunas, cool rooms and steam rooms too. We spent about 3 hours there and it was enough for us. You don’t need to hire a towel, you try pretty quickly on the deck chairs. One of the locals taught us how to use the sauna (stay 3 minutes then jump in the 18degree pool for 1 minute and repeat).

After the baths Ricky wanted to go to the Sambo club. We took the tram and it was relatively easy to find. We had no idea where to buy tram tickets from so luckily we didn’t get a fine.

The Sambo class was small, but the instructor was really nice and showed Ricky a crazy number of techniques. While Ricky trained I pretty much bummed around, did some stretching and fell asleep on the stairs.

After we got back to the hostel we just had showers and headed back out after food. We ended up seeing the last few minutes of Italy Vs Spain Football game, which included a beautiful second goal to Italy. There were a bunch of stalls and we managed to score free muesli bars. We went back to Kutoskalacs for our last Chimney cake; Ricky got vanilla and I got cinnamon but we shared.

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That night was pretty relaxed, we just packed our bags and watched the last episode of GoT.

NOTES

  • Citibank Cards; No charge at OTP Bank ATM or Euronet ATM. The guide told us not to use Euronet the next day however we had no troubles with it and got a good exchange rate.
  • Things we missed; Bath Party – could be cool but expensive. Our tour guide didn’t recommend it because of people getting drunk and pissing in the baths, Caving, Diving (Mostly Caves), Central Market Hall
  • Where we stayed; B My Bed Budapest. Location was really good and beds were relatively comfy.
  • Pick-up location for Regiojet; http://www.studentagencybus.com/en/525_575_576/Boarding%20places%20NEW__Budapest
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