Last weekend I hopped on a quick flight and travelled a bit east to Hungary for the weekend. I am nearing the end of our program and wanted to take advantage of my location and visit another country city full of history! I left Prague shortly after my last class on Friday, raced to the airport, and got to experience another trip on my own. I love flying, especially when there is turbulence, and being able to travel by plane rather than train was a great change of pace. My only problem with flying was the urge I felt to ignore my ticket and instead hop on the next flight back to Boston!!! I held off on this urge, landed in Budapest and began my weekend of wandering. This trip has allowed me to really discover the way in which I like to travel and explore cities, and similar to my trip to Bruges, I spent the weekend wandering around.
My hostel in Budapest was quite nice, but nowhere near as collective and community driven as I found in Bruges. I stayed on the Pest side in the Old Jewish Quarter and loved the tiny cramped streets and mixture of different styles of architecture. My first night I went to a delicious restaurant and ruin bar that I found online and a friend also recommended, then walked around for a bit before turning in early for the night. I got a great nights rest and then embarked early Saturday for a day full of walking!
My goal Saturday was to explore the Pest side and do some gift shopping. I wandered in and out of craft and artisan shops, visited the majestic Grand Market Hall, and found some really special thrift stores. The market hall was definitely a highlight for a food lover like me. Seeing such an abundance of produce along with paprika and lavender was so incredible, and the combination of locals and tourists was really interesting and added to the overall experience. I bought an assortment of gifts, some snacks for later, and just let myself wander around. At the end of the day, my step count was over 10 miles, and I was exhausted!
As most people close to me know, I hate being distinguishable as an American tourist. I love visiting new cities, and seeing different sights, but hate the idea of traditional or obnoxious American behaviour. As a result, I usually avoid doing things that would actually enhance my experience! During my trip to Budapest however, I decided to try and change my mindset, and instead of rejecting tourist activities, I embraced them! I went on the ferris wheel in the center of Budapest at night, allowing me an aerial view of the city all lit up. I took a night time boat cruise through the Danube which gave me an entirely different view on the famous Budapest structures, statues, and architecture, and the view of the parliament lit up on this perfectly clear night still haunts me. On Sunday I had limited time before my flight and was able to utilise all of it by doing a hop on hop off bus tour which gave me easy and cheap transportation around the city, and allowed me to see all different parts of the city I wouldn’t have been able to cover in my weekend if I did it all on foot.
By the time I left for the airport I felt sad that I hadn’t managed to see all I wanted, and disappointed that I didn’t spend much time on the Buda side, but instead choose to view it as a good thing, as now I can come back to the city and still have new places to explore!