Oh, Budapest*. It’s forever cemented its place in my heart as one of my favorite places in the world. The fascinating thing about Budapest is that it doesn’t often make the travel lists of your average American teenager, yet everyone I know that has gone cites it as one of their favorites. Think of it as something like a hidden gem, part of its beauty lying in the fact that it is considerably less touristy then the more typical European destinations. And, the best part if you’re traveling on a budget is that it’s incredibly cheap even if your native currency is the American dollar (bad joke)!!!!!!! When I went $1 was about 224 Hungarian forints (warning, this currency can be slightly confusing for foreigners, but just take out $60 and you’ll be greeted with more zeros than you ever thought could manifest out of your bank account unless you finally took your crazy uncle’s suggestion to rob that Seven Eleven across the street) and a nice Hungarian meal (yes, food is my currency, don’t judge me) is around 1000 hfu or $5 USD. The portions are huge, and the locals’ tagline seems to be “the most delicious and unhealthiest cuisine in Europe.” Fine with me 🙂
I thought the food in Budapest was delicious. It was simple, which I like, and filling, which is not a word that I can relate to very often. I recommend goulash, it’s a soup/ stew (depends on who you ask) with beef and vegetables. A little tip, if you’re looking for authentic goulash in Budapest, the kind that Hungarians eat look for restaurants were the word is spelled with a ‘y’ as in gouyash because the other stuff is what tourists eat. It’s what I ate, but hey I was a tourist, anyway I loved it, my palette isn’t sophisticated enough to taste the difference between an ‘l’ and a ‘y’. Ha ha…I’m sorry for my jokes.
Let’s talk about the Turkish baths. They are another cultural element left behind by one of the many groups that was at some point in charge of Hungary. This-sidenote- is one of my favorite things about Budapest, all of these different cultural influences have remained, I personally think they took the best things from every group that conquered them. If case you’ve never heard of Turkish baths, they are kind of like a giant spa, yet not so exclusive because entrance into the one I went to (one of the most expensive) was 18 USD. We picked this one because it had both an outdoor and indoor area. The heated outdoor pool, I had decided, was going to be perfect for watching the sunset. We switched our whole itinerary in Budapest to carter to this one desire of mine, and guess what? I fell asleep in a sauna. In my defense, I had just followed the advice of a group of French woman who recommended that my friend and I enter one of the saunas in the facility, one that I recommend entering if you want a glimpse at what the fires of hell feel like. Afterwards, we were to enter this really cold pool, where we reenacted the Titanic scene. I can’t really say what this whole process is supposed to do for you, and if it’s supposed to be good, but personally I’m thinking never again. It is after this exhausting experience that we went into a sauna and fell asleep. So there’s my excuse, will you take it?
I am realizing (don’t you love how I walk you through my thoughts, it’s like you’re in my mind) that this post is going to get very long if I include everything I have to say about Budapest in here, I suppose I am feeling quite chatty today. So, I will just make this about food and Turkish baths, and I will include a part two about other things to see in Budapest.
On the next edition of the Spring Break Adventures (Budapest Part 2) you can look forward to secret boxes, mosque-church hybrids, the 3rd largest Parliament, and ruin bars. Stay tuned 🙂
*I know this song has nothing to do with Budapest, but it plays a lot on Italian MTV so I get to see it every day sometimes twice a day at the dinner table. One of the girls I live with is pretty obsessed with it too, so it’s pretty much drilled in my brain and every time I hear the word Budapest I can’t help but think of the song, and I wanted to condition that into your brains too because misery loves company. So you’re welcome 🙂