What a breath of fresh air! I had been craving a trip to Budapest and it came just in time.
With 30$ round trip tickets in hand, I flew in from London and Shelby flew in from Lux, meeting up at the Budapest airport for an extended weekend away. It would be Shelby’s first time in the country and considering that she’s half Hungarian, this was a big deal. For me, it was lovely to be back and especially fun to be there with her.
After arriving we took a walk to the big market hall for Shelby’s quick-fix of Hungarian food before we dropped our bags off at the Airbnb. Living on the Buda side was new for me and so close to the Buda Palace so we decided to take advantage of our location and do some tourist sights right away. Mattyas templom, the palace, then a coffee and treat at Ruszwurm, an old café that our grandmother used to frequent (this had us tearing up a bit). We had dinner at a modern Hungarian place and had a lovely nighttime walk past the lit-up parliament and the shoes by the Duna.
On our second day, tourism amped up and we somehow managed to avoid most of it by doing weird, random things I hadn’t done before. Around a corner of the Buda Palace there are some old ruins… so we climbed around those for a while before popping over to a Medical Museum that I’ve been wanting to go to for a while. And it was so cool! Hungary did some great stuff for medical advancements and seeing it with an appreciative nurse was great! A delicious coffee later and we were off to climb Gellert Hill. A brief stop with some views of the city finished our morning activities before we sat down for a lovely lunch at one of my favorite places, Lumen.
We wandered throughout the city and grabbed a glühwein at the Mangalica Festival (where I went with Dessa last year!) then decided to soak our tired legs and feet in a spa. It was a new one for me and gosh it was lovely! Hardly any tourists, a Turkish bath, dry saunas, an aromatherapy sauna and it was not busy at all. An hour or two there and we were hungry – so we stopped back at the festival that was covered in food stalls.
And that’s when we had the BEST LANGOS EVER. This fried dough was off the charts. Honestly. A little old woman grabbed a handful of dough from a giant bag, stretched it, and dropped it into a vat of hot oil. 2 minutes later and it was getting covered with garlic, sour cream and cheese. I’m out of words. SO GOOD.
After, we popped into St. Stephen’s church where mass happened to be going on. That was nice to see because it adds a level of ‘use’ to the church rather than as a tourist destination. And that was our day! Can you believe that was all one day? And day 2? With so much checked off… we decided that the next day we would head out of Budapest to a small nearby town.
Szentendre is a quaint village and thanks to the amazing weather we’d been having (albeit cold), we enjoyed exploring the town and walking on the path next to the river. The town has a ‘charming’ feel to it, with a little lookout fort at the top that we accidentally stumbled upon, as well as many family-owned art shops and a marcipan museum (see MJ below!), cobblestone streets and colorfully painted houses. After a coffee and sweet treat, we toured the marcipan museum, then explored and finished our time off with some typical Hungarian food and music at a restaurant in the main square.
Back in Budapest, I saw some friends while Shelby went to a museum and we met up again for hot chocolate with cousins of mine from the other side of the family. That was pretty fun. They’re the type to love showing someone new around and they didn’t relax with Shelby at all teaching her “the parliament here is the largest and most beautiful in Europe.” Fact or opinion? You decide! Walking through the empty streets with the three of them late at night was a big appreciation moment for me and I felt a lot of love.
Our final day together began with breakfast and a Hungarian coffee (Shelby was addicted by this point) before we whisked ourselves off to Kismaros where Shelby had a realistic Hungarian experience. A lunch, a morning palinka, and some more time with the cousins and we were back in Budapest in time for dinner and an early sleep.
What was incredible about this trip was that I saw plenty of old sights and somehow managed to spend a portion of each day adventuring to new places and seeing new parts of Hungary I hadn’t seen before. On Shelby’s side, she had a new perspective of this beautiful country that we’re from, swapping her 2nd world, disheveled country mindset, to one of yummy treats, delicious coffees and gorgeous architecture and landscapes. Were we talking about heading back in the next few months? Maybe… maybe..