I stayed in Budapest from Nov 14-21.
Where to begin, where to begin…oh, how I miss you Budapest. Now, I promised on my blog to write the truth to remember these times in 10, 15, even 20 years from now when my brain is clouded with other things.
I arrived in Budapest the night before and decided to take it easy while everyone else went out and partied. I was pretty zonked after my 17 hour bus/train rides. It was Friday and I woke up late, went with Cameron (the hostel manager) to a place that exchanges currency for a pretty reasonable fee, plus they give you very close to market value, and then headed to Lidl, my favorite grocery store to pick up a few of the essentials. After a busy morning, I went on the free walking tour of the city, seeing some awesome sights that I have already seen, but hearing a bit more of the history was nice. And apparently, in Hungarian culture, they really like to rub statues for good luck. Horses’ balls for luck in love and exams and the toe of the saint to come back to Budapest. Of course, I rubbed them both. I headed back to the hostel to warm up and grab some of the awesome dinner they cooked at X Hostel (1000 HUF or about €3) every night. We all got ready by starting drinks and then headed out to the boat party for 6500 HUF, but everyone gets their own bottle of champagne. It was incredible and not too cold, but I’m sure that is due to the drinks. Seriously, if uou are going to Budapest, you have to go to this. When we docked, we all headed over to a pub to continue, but then two guys that worked at another hostel got into a fight, so we decided to go to Instant, a ruin bar and then Retox, a hostel bar. I somehow led myself plus a couple of other people back and we all crashed.
I woke up the next morning, not feeling like complete crap, so that was a good sign. A few of us decided to check out some of the sights and went to Margathe Island and walked around the entirety of the park. After, we headed down to Central Market by walking there. Unfortunately, it was already closed on Saturday by 4pm. We then walked through the main shopping area, just in awe of everything. We ended up getting langosh, a local favorite of basically fried dough adorned with any sort of topping, but the main fare is sour cream, cheese, bacon, onions. I settled on the langosh with garlic sauce, sour cream and cheese. And they call Americans fat…psh. It’s not like we invented this stuff. Well, I did eat the whole thing (a bargain at 450 HUF) and felt so sick afterwards. No dinner for me. After a quick rest, we all started getting ready for Sparty. A spa party (get it?!) at the Lukas spa on Buda. We started drinking early since we didn’t want to pay for drinks at the spa and by the time we arrived, I was feeling pretty good. And that’s the last I remember. I changed, got into the thermal bath and the heat + alcohol made it very impossible to remember anything. I wound up waking up the next morning feeling like shit and wondering what happened. I did make it back to the hostel, alone, and threw up. Whoops. Lesson learned.
Due to Sparty, I did absolutely nothing besides lay in bed, make food for my pathetic soul and watch movies. Sparty destroyed me. We did have a big Sunday roast for dinner as a family, and I can. Finally say that I like chicken thigh. Yay, little breakthroughs!
Finally feeling myself again, I decided to headed with Tasha and Kathy to The Cat Cafe, which is even better than it sounds. There are really cats there for you to play with while you eat and drink. I had so much teasing them and watching them laze about. Most of them were medium or long hair, so I definitely took my allergy pill before I left. After finishing our treats, we found an American/British candy store and reminisced about all the things that Tasha and I were missing about home. I was really close to buying some yellow mustard. But feeling that I needed to do some more historical inquiries into the city, a big group of us braved the cold and rain to do the Jewish walking tour throughout the Jewish ghetto. We did stop for some kosher pastries. I had 7-layer cake. Delish, let me tell you and a steal at only 450 HUF. After our adventure, we stopped for some real hot chocolate, but I opted out since I wasn’t in the mood. Weird, I know. We went back to the hostel to see if we could regain feeling in our fingers, ate some dinner and got ready to go out for karaoke night at Morrison’s! We had a few drinks there (you pay to get in for 500 HUF, but it includes 3 beers in the price) and I got to sing “No Scrubs” with Kathy and “Hotel California” with Brian and majority of the bar. I had enough and called it quits around 1:30am so I could get up and go to the baths in the morning.
Today was the day that I was going to pamper myself. I had researched all of the spas and knew that I wanted to get a massage along with it. I picked Kiràly, a small, local bath on Buda. It was everything i hoped for and more. There were quite a few old, fat Hungarian men in speedos. My favorite. Tasha and Kathy went along and we soaked in the 36 degree bath and Tash and I got massages later in the afternoon. The massage was both amazing and weird. She wanted me to get undressed and lay upwards facing her. I was waiting for her to exit the area to allow me to do so, but she just waited and clicked her tongue at me. So I obliged and undressed in front of her. If she wants to see it, then she’ll see it. The massage was incredible, definitely what I needed after carrying my pack around for the past 3 months. All for the bargain basement price of 5700 HUF or about $25. I seriously never wanted to leave this place.
Tasha and I were starving after the spa, so we stopped for our 250 HUF slice of pizza and made our way back to the hostel, so I could shower all the nasty old men off me. After regaining our strength, we set out in search of this delicious Hungarian food that some our friends, Kat and Kaaren had had the previous day. Without knowing the name or specific directions, we were SOL and settled in at Kiado for some goulash. It was so good and warm, but I could have eaten 2 bowls of it even with the huge slices of bread that accompanied it. I am American after all. And that’s exactly what I told the hostel people when I got back. They need to stop telling Americans that it is a big bowl of soup. It’s quite average, if not on the smaller side. They laughed at me. Wah, I was still hungry. I decided that after a relaxing and detoxifying day that I needed to give my body, and more specifically, my liver, a rest.
My last full day in Budapest, I couldn’t believe it. I lazed about for a good portion of morning before a big group of us went and did our much needed laundry. The laundromat was really nice because you dropped it off and picked it up when it was ready. No need to sit and wait. We went for some food and relaxed back at hostel until it was time. And since it was my last night, we knew it was go big or go home, so we all went out for the 90’s night at Lost in Budapest. Having absolutely nothing remotely 90’s with me, we went to some thrift shops in search of the right look, where I purchased a fantastic Fresh Prince jacket that was wayyyyy too big on me. I made a switch with Brian who had on a smaller horse pattern jacket. I called my look “New York Jew from 1993”, which was completed with big, huge curls thanks to Kaaren. We danced, listened to times of my youth (ha!) and just had a generally awesome time. We then made our way to Instant when the bar closed where air lost some money and decided that it was time to leave. Epic last night for sure!