Budapest was a helluva ride but who would’ve guessed that the Czech Food Festival that would be my downfall in Hungary?
But before we get to all that, let’s rewind.
The start of our stay in Budapest was as good as any other.
Our last-minute hostel booking, far from the party stay we were hoping for, was adorably quaint, with the friendliest of staff to match.
It was here we met our favourite English blokes who, despite their stereotypical ‘lads abroad’ mentality, were the sweetest, most-hilarious dudes of the entire trip. One for whom we would later make a detour to visit in his English hometown.
It was like being back in our Barcelona hostel. Insta-friendships formed with the revolving door of Brits who blew through, whether that meant sharing a pint during a pub crawl, puzzling our way out of an Escape Room or tending to me during the worst day of my trip.
The cause, as you may have guessed, was that darn Czech Food Festival, which was in town day two of our stay, and a cone of cheesy, sausage-y awfulness that I still struggle to think of without gagging.
Don’t get me wrong. It was incredible at the time. I mean, who isn’t going to snack on that convenient street food when they’re Hungary, right?
But was it worth hugging the toilet later that day and being forced to stay inside for most of the next? No. There is no food on the planet so good that I want to experience it again on the way back up.
Even with those horrid 36 hours, the Budapest experience wasn’t yet tainted for me.
Until, that is, my travel partner decided to have a crush on me, thereby ruining my final night out with his jealousy.
More for my own memory on the now-funny incident than to regale you with tales, he legitimately asked our party friends keep me away from the guy I was chatting to. Rude, tbh.
This coming two nights after we missed the pub crawl and almost kissed on a random bench, mind you!
On a happier note, we naturally hit up the main tourist jaunts: the Parliament building (gorgeous), Buda Castle and its surrounds (acceptable), Gellert Hill (fine) and St Stephen’s Basilica (no different to any other).
Following on with our film-location hunt, we trekked over the Chain Bridge – made famous, of course, by the immensely popular 2002 film starring Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson that only I seem to have seen, I Spy.
Most interestingly, however, was the nearby Gellert Hill Cave, a practicing chapel for the Pauline monks. And we happened to be there on religion day, being lucky enough to sit in on a religious ceremonial thingy. Briefly, I thought them to be sacrificing a child, but this turned out to not be the case. Such disappointment. (Kidding, obviously).
You might say things got even wilder when we checked out the zoo. After all you can never go wrong with animals, no matter what language they speak. I do have to wonder about the vulture enclosure though. I know we’re alive and well but surely there’s some rules around letting laypeople just walk amongst them!
While there were no sparties to be had by us (a pool filled with unimaginable secretions is not my idea of fun), we did manage to score $7 tickets to The Wombats concert on Margaret Island. Quick question, though: is it bad to knowingly take a $40 discount because the cashier got confused by her own currency?
Maybe I’ll leave that one up to karma…
Have you been to Budapest? Did we miss a must-have experience? Let me know in the comments!