I can’t believe I’m now over half way through my travels! To make the halfway point, it was off to beautiful Budapest in sunny Hungary. After a pretty bumpy flight, it was off onto a packed sweaty bus and a metro that looked like it belonged in a museum dedicated to the 1970s. Luckily, our amazing hostel Lavender Circus brightened our day! We’d seen the number of excellent reviews left for this quirky place, but were still blown away by their customer service. It is easily the best hostel we have stayed in along the way, with our host taking the time to sit with a coffee and tell us everything we needed to know about both Buda and Pest. Plus, we had a huge apartment complete with kitchen, living area and quirky loft bedroom all to ourselves, decorated with owner’s stunning artwork. If you need a place to rest your head in Buda, then this is the place to book!
We’d heard lots about Budapest’s nightlife, so decided to immediately check it out for ourselves- well after trying some traditional Hungarian food first to line our stomachs! Rueben restaurant, is a short walk from the National Museum, and serves absolutely delicious food, in a beautiful surrounding, super cheaply. Two main meals, a side salad, two desserts and a bottle of wine came to less than £30! If only Rueben was in the UK! Another cheap (I’m talking £1.50 here …) bottle of wine in our apartment later and it’s time to explore the famous Ruin Bars, which are located in the Jewish Quarter. Now, the plan was to start at Szimpla Kert before moving onto other bars and nightclub Instant. But, when you instantly meet two Scottish charmers (who were in fact sat opposite us in Rueben, but thought we were foreign…like everyone seems to here) who insist on repeatedly buying you rum and sharing their hilarious travelling stories the hours passed on by. Before we knew it, we were dancing to Brit pop classics (much to the horror of the locals) at chucking out time.
Remember those walking tours I was in love with? Yeah, they don’t mix well with a few hours kip and the hangover from hell. Especially when you have the most enuthastic guide who knows all there is to know about Hungarian history and insists on teaching you the language. Not great when you can barely speak your mother tongue without wanting to collapse. Plus, we ended up with a ‘clinger on’- an absolutely bizarre character from Calfornia who seemed to have brought the delicacies of Amsterdam along with him. Thankfully, the beautiful views of the Danube and stunning architecture made up for our horrific moods, but take my advice, don’t do a walking tour after the ruin bars ruin you. Or if you do, follow our lead and head straight to the food market afterwards for some traditional beef goulash, served in a bread roll and accompanied by elderberrie soda.
All this effort should be rewarded- with a day at the famous Budapest spa’s! Szechenyi Bath is located in City park in the north of the city and next door to a beautiful castle, which wouldn’t be out of place in Beauty and the Beast!
Bikinis on, it was time to hit all 15 pools- 3 outdoor and 12 heated indoor- and truly chill out and relax.
After a gorgeous dinner and a few dozen frozen cocktails at a lakeside restaurant, we returned to the spa for one of their famous Sparties. Well, I say famous, but I think infamous would be a more approiate description.
What started as a chilled out dance with a cocktail or 3, soon got quite out of control. If you ate of a sensitive disposition, or dislike young couples getting too close for comfort, extreme public displays of affection or nudity then maybe stick to the ruin bars! But, all in all, we had a laugh and meet some pretty quirky characters!
Just enough time for bikinis to dry off, and it’s back on a plane and to sunny Rome!