We arrived at Budapest train station feeling optimistic and pleased to say, we knew how to get to the hostel we were staying in. To be fair, all you had to do was get in a taxi but whatever. We still knew how to do it without getting lost. “Only 13 euro in a taxi”, the hostel had said “not much at all”. We made our way confidently over to the taxi stand and were instantly swarmed by taxi drivers. Reminiscent of the seagulls in Finding Nemo, they all engulfed us in a circle as they tried to bargain with the price. “Grand Hostel Budapest?” they said, shaking their heads “no way for 13 euro, that’s on the other side of town. That’ll be over 20 euro.” We stuck to our guns and prepared to walk away, secretly hoping that one would take pity on us and sure enough, once we’d turned our backs a little voice piped up “okay, okay, I take for cheaper!” Check us being proper travellers and bartering and stuff….we didn’t quite get it down to the 13 euro we were expecting but still. Clap on the back for us. Our hostel was around twenty minutes out of the city centre so as we drove, we were able to see lots of the city and what it had to offer. And it looked awesome.
Seriously, Budapest is awesome.
Our hostel, The Grand Hostel Budapest, was a small one, a house which had been converted into around 15 rooms and some bathrooms. Despite this, it was really friendly and all the staff were happy to help and tell us the best places to go and how to get there. Our first night consisted off going out to find some food (I’m pretty sure most of our days consist of walking around aimlessly searching for food….) (we realised afterwards that the hostel had given us a whole sheet of paper with a list of different restaurants to eat in, arranged by distance. I seriously worry about our lack of brains sometimes). We headed into the city centre and walked along the river and saw the Parliament building for the first time, and it was incredible. I was not expecting to see something like that, but as I looked across the water, the building loomed, lit up and magnificent. It was pretty impressive.
On our first full day in Budapest, we again headed into the city centre and spent much of the day, walking (we spend so much time walking. If my legs aren’t super toned after this, I will not be happy). We were attempting to find the park which was absolutely massive and at the other end of the city to our hostel. Equipped with a castle, restaurants and a lake upon which we endured a very boring pedal boat ride, somewhere in this massive park were some roman baths. We had gone to some baths the day before but were left a bit disappointed. I for one, felt like I was in an underground dungeon which smelt. Smelt real bad. So yeah, we were looking forward to going to some baths that had been recommended as the “best ones in Budapest”. We just needed to find them first….
The baths were lovely in comparison to the others, they were big and spacious and there were lots of different rooms. Best of all, there was a huge swimming pool outside which was lovely to bask in in the afternoon sunshine and play “rate the hottie”. Wait, what? We didn’t do that. We are two sophisticated, grown women who don’t do that kind of thing…
That night, we had our first Budapest night out. We went to a club called Instant. Instant is a really cool block of flats renovated into a massive club with loads of different rooms. One of the best clubs I’ve been too, it was so much fun and after one too many we found our way back to the hostel, getting some disapproving looks from the locals starting their day and going to work. It was 6AM to be fair. And we were taking selfies on the tram. Oh well, when in Rome….
On our last day we hiked up Gellert Hill in order to see the Liberty Statue. Being totally unfit and a steaming hot day, it was quite a struggle (not quite, it was a struggle. Thank God for view points) but we conquered onwards and finally made it to the top where there were the most spectacular views of Budapest. Feeling sweaty and disgusting, we made our way back down after a walk around the top and after a near miss when my friend slipped and nearly fell down a flight of stairs (of course I helped her. I didn’t just stand there laughing at all…) we found our way to the bottom and went on a search for some more roman baths to relax in for the rest of the day. Of course, once we found them we discovered they were only open for men that day. Typical. Feeling rejected and still disgustingly sweaty, we headed back to the centre of Budapest in search of food. Food helps everything.
We still weren’t sure on where to go next on our Europe adventure after we seemingly discarded our original route, so after talking to the two super organised British girls in our room (who had booked train tickets and hostels even before they had left the UK…whaaaaat?!) we decided to book a spontaneous train to Ljubljana that afternoon once we’d got back to the hostel. Why not eh? We seem to be the most unorganised travellers in the world. Everyone else has plans and things booked and mini croissants and chocolate spread to eat for breakfast, and then there’s us. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee getting lost and stumbling our way around Europe, spending all our money on food and ice-cream and beer. Fingers crossed to us making it through this alive.
After another night out in Instant where we met the Italian Francesco (he’ll pop up again in later posts) and friend Peppe, we made our way back to the hostel in the very early hours (again, sorry people of Budapest for ruining your commute to work) in order to get some sleep for checkout the next day (well, same day. In three hours time. WE CAN DO THIS!).
Onwards to Ljubljana!