Just came home from a very nice holiday. My holiday was divided into 2 parts, the first and main part was to my beloved Zia Livia (that you might remember from some previous blog posts) and for some reason she always seems to think I never eat and feels the need to almost stuff me like a turkey :-)… So basically just the way I like it 😉
The second part of my holiday brought me (and my fiancée of course) to Budapest. This is the second time I travel to Eastern Europe and it is the second time I get enchanted! (Last year I had to go to Prague for work). I got first of all enchanted because the city is really beautiful, but secondly because I had a completely wrong image in my head from Eastern Europe…and I honestly think lots of people have this wrong image. In my head I pictured old buildings, everybody still driving a Trabant and I won’t even mention the eating habits I had in mind 🙂 I KNOW, so wrong!! Just like last year in Prague, this year in Budapest was an eye opener how modern this city is and how well it combines it with all the richness and breathtaking heritage from the past centuries and how they still keep improving!
If I would have to compare Budapest with other cities; I would compare it with a mix of Vienna and Paris… I even believe they even call it the Paris from the East. (I would choose Budapest over Paris without any doubt!)
This might also be the first time that I have no idea which words I can use to express the beauty of this city, but I’ll try my best to find them. I think the best way to start is with a picture that for me represents the greatness and beauty of Budapest (and for me one of the most impressive buildings in the world.
Believe me when you have that building right in front of you it is even more incredible. Budapest of course has lots more beautiful buildings like the Buda palace (Royal palace), Saint Stephen’s Basilica, Museum of Applied Arts or the bridges over the Danube.
The strangest thing I saw Budapest was King Stephen I’s right hand is housed in the reliquary in the Saint Stephen’s Basilica. The hand still it in very good shape, considering it is from the 10th century, but it is kind of creepy (for some reason it makes me think of “THING” from the Addams family, sorry I know this might be inappropriate).
In case the hand might be too much for you, there is a great wine bar right next to the Basilica aka Divino (thanks again to Bram and Ingrid from Pazzo for the tip!!). This wine bar is both bar and shop where if wanted you can also have little bite. What I like about all the restaurants and bars I visited in Budapest is that 90% of the wine (or products in general) they serve is Hungarian!! Talking about pride for local products, I love it!! (If Belgians would only be as proud of their products). As it was very sunny our choice went to rosé, but I’m pretty sure everybody will find its choice at Divino’s
Like on many previous city trips my fiancée and me decided to take the “hop on, hop off” bus to get a general view of the city. For me this is really the best way to plan your next days in a city you haven’t visited before… I know it is hard to get over the fact that in this case you’ll look like the Über tourist, but what the hell nobody knows you there anyway!!! AND in the prices there is also a boattrip on the Danube included…
Of course like every big city, Budapest also has its “problems”, but I have the impression they have it under control and they didn’t really bother me too much (like the homeless people on the streets).
Thanks to my fiancée ‘s uncle (who lives in Budapest), we got to see something that I’m pretty sure if he wouldn’t have brought us we wouldn’t have visited. He took us up the János Hill to have a 360° view over the city and its surroundings from the highest point of Budapest (526m) on the Elizabeth kilátó (aka Belvedere Tower). It might take you a while to get there if you walk up there just like us, but it is worth it… first of all as you get to walk in a forest en secondly the view from up there is breathtaking and it is only than that you get to see how big and especially how green Budapest it (check pictures below). No worries, for those who don’t feel like walking up, there also motorized ways to get up there ;-).( public transport) I do recommend taking the chairlift back down.
To be continued with more stories about this great city and the njammy food I had….