Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Blogging about Budapest

My favorite travel buddy (my hubby) and I took a three night trip to Budapest. We went during March so the weather was sunny and a little cold but nothing a coat couldn't handle. We flew direct from London Gatwick to Budapest with Easyjet and chose to stay at The Boutique Hotel. The location of this hotel is excellent and is a short stroll away from some great restaurants including an Italian, Greek and Steak House, all of which we tried! You are also a 15-20 mins walk up the main shopping street (Vaci) to more restaurants and shops including Nobu. The hotel is also close to the main market hall and Gellert Baths as well as Gellert Hill, the church in the cave and a 15 mins walk to the dock for boat tours.

The rooms are small but modern and clean. They came with an en-suite shower room, which suited us perfectly. Breakfast was also good, there was a choice of different breads and pastries, cold meats, cheeses, juices, cereal, yogurts and scrambled eggs. The staff here are friendly and helpful, there is a bar on site and left luggage storage but we paid a very small fee for late check out until 6pm, meaning we could shower before our evening flight home. The hotel also gave us free entry into three of the main baths in the city including the private cabin changing facility.

On our first day in Budapest we took a tour with Taste Hungary. We were taken by our guide all through the food market trying everything from a shot of Unicum to meats and cheeses (including some tongue). We then went to a bakery to try three delicious cakes and a candy store. We also got to sit down in a lovely restaurant for a leisurely and traditional lunch accompanied by three different wines. This was a great tour and our stomachs certainly left satisfied. In the afternoon we chose to do something quite unique and signed up with Celeritas Shooting for their basic package. We got to fire a whole range of guns in a very small controlled group. The hubby had a much better aim than I did and I also by the end had very achy arms as the guns are quite heavy. For something interesting this is a great activity and would be ideal for a stag do.

That evening we took a a boat cruise with Budapest Danube Cruise, which came with a glass of sparkling wine and was peaceful and relaxing. It was great to see this beautiful city all lit up in the darkness and have some commentary so we could learn a little on the way. That evening we ate at Pampas Steak House, which was busy with a good atmosphere. Steaks were delicious and everything was so reasonably priced compared to our usual London prices.

In the morning we took a taxi to the Castle and had a wander around also appreciating the incredible views from the top of the hill. We then took the funicular down and had a wander over the famous Chain Bridge. Next up was the Parliament Building, which does have limited tickets available per day but unfortunately this was not possible during our stay here. The building is beautiful though so well worth a look even from the outside. We also went to take a look at the Church in a Cave on the way down from a walk up Gellert Hill, which is strenuous but worth it.

The afternoon was spent relaxing at Szechenyi Baths. I would take cabin changing as it means you get a private little cabin, which will fit two people to change in and also leave your things in whilst you bathe. We used the hottest outside pool where we simply sat and relaxed and did a little people watching. There were older men playing chess, couples chilling out and friends catching up. The experience was great and definitely something different to do on a weekend city break.

As mentioned in the evening we dined at Nobu, which was a great little find. We have been to Nobu, London so were aware of the quality and prices but the Budapest branch offers the same quality for much cheaper than London! Dishes to note were the new style salmon sashimi, the tempura avocado, popcorn shrimp with creamy spicy sauce and for dessert you just cannot beat the bento box consisting of a dark chocolate fondant with green tea ice cream, delicious!

Our final day was spent wandering the city and catching up on a few sights we had missed such as St Stephen's Basilica, Heroes Square and the Holocaust Memorial Center. Budapest is a city that is best explored on foot and you can come across some amazing gems by walking around and getting a feel for the place. In all we had an amazing time here and would thoroughly recommend a break in the the city. It's safe, it's easy to get to, it's easy to navigate around, there are some interesting sights, some delicious food and the best part is, it's really reasonably priced, which means you can kick back, relax and not worry too much about the bill!