Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Budapest - A pretty nice surprise!

Unfortunately I do take long to getting down to actually writing my blog, but at least here we are!

The idea of this blog is to help other travellers with our personal experiences of places we visit and to get the best out of it as much as possible.

At the end of February 2015, my wife and myself travelled for a holiday to Budapest. I have to be honest, I was a bit sceptic about the place at first and also since we were going there with a low cost airline (Wizz Air) of whom I had no knowledge whatsoever. But I must say - all this changed.

We arrived in Budapest in the evening and after meeting the taxi guy (pre booked via the hotel), we headed to the Carlton Hotel. The hotel seemed very nice and is situated on the Buda side a few meters away from the Chain Bridge (you will not see the Chain Bridge from the hotel!!). Happily just next to the hotel there was a Belgian Beer Cafe, where we indulged in a nice Hungarian platter and obviously Trappist and Belgian Speciality beers!

Chain Bridge

The next day we decided to venture a bit around and after going to the main city area near St. Stefan Cathedral and wandered off towards the main Market, we realised that all we needed to do is get our bearing right and it will be easy to explore this city. We decided to use the hop on hop off bus to get our bearings and lay down a visit plan.

After getting your priority visits set and decide to walk there, Budapest reserves some nice surprises for you, in the form of small "antique" shops, old school Barber shops, a Butcher shop converted to a fantastic Hungarian food speciality eatery etc.

We did walk all the way around the city. This wasn't because of the "fear" installed in us that taxi drivers will scam you, but since it felt nice to walk and the scenery was beautiful. Obviously we visited the staple attractions including the great Rudas Baths, which we highly recommend, but always take a towel with you and check the floor for glass if you don't want nasty surprises in the changing rooms :). We also visited the old city of Buda and the castle and we were amazed with a, you can call it tradition, in which people put out all their junk in the street twice a year for the City to collect. Instead this will be taken over by gypsy families, who will guard the heaps of metal, old lamps, books etc with their lives. Luckily we knew what this was and actually was tempted to try to purchase some cool antique, but to be honest some of these guys were pretty intimidating.


(A typical "walk" in Budapest)

I was amazed with the great selection of Belgian Beer pubs, with long lists of speciality beers and most importantly for my wife, Kriek which we found everywhere on tap or in pretty 33cl bottles.

One very important aspect for me was the people. They are nice. They love their country and they define service with a smile like it used to be before - a genuine smile, which I hope they will not loose by becoming greedy, like a lot of EU countries did.

Last but not least, we recommend that when travelling back and you have checked in luggage, do wrap it at the airport, since both our luggages were tempered with and opened on the trip back, although nothing was stolen (since there was nothing to steal), this could have been a lot worse.

If you go to Budapest or you are from Budapest, drop us a line will be happy to share experiences and make new friends!!

Hotel Booking Suggestions

Morocco Mount Toubkal Climb - Day 2

Day 2 started with early breakfast from the always faithful Abdullah and also met Stewart and Simon who made part of the team we were ...