I have been to Budapest before, 10 years ago in the depths of a slushy winter and found this city dark, run down and unfriendly. Not even the clearly corrupt “taxi driver” would offer a smile, even though he could have retired on our cab fare. Budapest was well and truly on my “never to return” list – until now.
Due to overwhelming opinions from everyone I spoke to who raved about Budapest I finally gave in and booked my flight to come back.
We collected our bags from the carousel and I took a deep breath and braced myself as we searched for our transfer driver. There he was, nicely dressed in a suit with our name clearly written and – wait for it – HE WAS SMILING AT US!!! We were off to a good start here. Stephen took us to our hotel, the NH Budapest (recommended!!) and proudly pointed out a few of the must see places of his city along the way.
The next morning we took a quick walk past parliament and chain bridge and joined a walking tour. I always recommend a walking tour of any city as they give you all the information you need plus some fun facts along the way. For example, did you know The Predator (think alien v. Predator) was speaking Hungarian? Or that the thrifty Hungarians decided that it would cost too much to replace the giant statue erected under communist rule so instead covered her over and four days later revealed the “new” lady liberty?
A quick walk across chain bridge gave us some amazing views back over Pest. UNESCO certainly has this listing right!
Next we went to the central market with its farmers market downstairs selling all sorts of fruit, vege, salami and paprika and the food hall upstairs. I highly recommend the local favorite langos – deep fried bread topped with sour cream, cheese, ham and mushrooms. Delish!!
We stumbled home after 9 hours (and 4 blisters!) Completely worn out but having seen the best of Budapest.
Budapest, it is with my head bowed down and an apologetic voice I say “I’m sorry I judged you so harshly 10 years ago.” Budapest is now firmly on my favorite destinations list!