The amazing thing about Europe, is that you can drive for only an hour and be in another country. I decided to get a bus to Budapest, a place I had heard of vaguely, mostly via “Budapest” by… and a not much else.
Despite this, I did as much research as I could before I went, because I am just one of those people that like KNOWING WHAT IS GOING ON. Which is quite odd because at the same time I would happily hop on a bus and just go, if money was no issue.
I had a few days in the city, which is actually two cities- creatively called “Buda” and “Pest.” The river Danube separates these two identities, with a glorious bridge linking them together.
Buda is what I think of as old glamour. This is where you will find the bath, the magnificent scenery and a calm atmosphere.
Pest on the other hand is the reveres. New buildings spread around, it’s a tourist destination if I ever saw one. I feel like the have capitalised on the influx of tourism in recent years, with souvenir shops open the latest in the main city.
This is on top of passing a group of British tourists, dressed up in who knows what, running across the road shouting. I have never felt so ashamed but resigned. At least now I know why people don’t like the English! I was half in a mind to tell them off, but along they ran to whatever bar was selling the cheapest drinks.
One thing that took a little while to get used to, there were relatively few crossings where I was. For a very busy junction, I expected to see places to cross everywhere, but nope. Instead, there where a lot of underground pathways, used for their underground, which led to different sides of the street depending on which exit you took. If you went up the wrong one it was quicker to go back then wait on a break in the traffic.
With two cities, I can say there was two different atmospheres. I spend most of my time in Pest. The place had a buzz. People lived here. They partied here. And apparently, they like “Topless bars” or whatever was going on behind those doors, I didn’t want to linger. I always think it’s a shame when I see this. You just know they are targeting tourists, who more than likely wont respect the locals and would have definitely had a lot to drink.
There were people milling around my hostel, and not the friendliest looking, which wasn’t always fun, but I never had an incident with them. I just kept my head down and didn’t engage.
The streets were generally clean, as much as you would expect any main city to be, and the streetlights meant I was never walking in the dark.
Walking around in the dark, in a foreign city I didn’t speak the language in is never the most comforting situation to be in, but the truth is I didn’t feel unsafe. Yes, there would be dangerous places, but traveling alone you do develop an intuition (if you didn’t already have it- us females are pretty smart). Not drawing attention to yourself is probably the best thing you can do. Often, I went out in a hoodie and jeans. A big sign to pickpockets- nothing to see hear folks!
An affordable luxury
It wasn’t expensive, but it wasn’t as cheap as some might imagine it to be. I’m ok with this as I don’t want to take advantage of locals
Things I didn’t like
There was a seedy atmosphere in some places, which I would liken to Amsterdam’s Red Light District
How much did it cost?
Spending- 200 ish
Per day? 110 ish
Most expensive thing- The spa, more so than my room.
It was a great little break away on a budget. If you don’t go crazy in the spa like I did you would almost certainly spend a lot less well (depending on how much you like to party)