Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Day 3:

Day 3 started again with a lovely breakfast at our hotel, I was loving the breakfast buffet for the simple fact, nutella was never ending!

Heroes SquareI started the day hoping to go on a walking tour in Pest, however I didn’t get to do this because I couldn’t find the starting point for it. Instead we walked a little up Budapest’s main street, Andrássy Avenue, a street classed as a World Heritage Site, and lined with cafes, restaurants and theatres. Since the walking tour was a miss, I dicided to visit the Budapest Zoo, it was close to Heroes’ Square at the top end of Andrássy Avenue. I took the metro Line 1 which runs up and down this street to get there.

When we reached Heroes’ Square I had to stop for some photos ofcourse, its a brilliant area to see. The square has adjacent museums aswell as statues and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Around a 5 to 10 min walk away is the fabulous Budapest Zoo. Heroes SquareNow I’m a huge animal lover and I firmly believe that Zoos are a great idea, especially to keep certain species protected. I’ve visited some amazing Zoo’s, like the Berlin Zoo and my favourite (by far) Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, but Budapest Zoo is a cracking place to visit. I went in February so it was colder and a few of the stalls inside the zoo were closed but it was still booming with life. You see animals so close, alot is open planned so moats are used to divide the public from the animals. Obviously some, like lions and tigers are behind reinforced glass. There is a reptile house, aquarium, petting zoo and walk through areas where you can get right beside wombats etc. Me and a lionI personally loved the monkey and ape area, there was a baby gorilla called Bongo who was highly entertaining, basically being a pest to his other family members. Its also noted that the Budapest Card gives you a 25% reduction on admission tickets. I spent a good few hours at the zoo, but I was getting rather hungry so we headed for the exit to find a nice place for a late lunch.

Outside the Zoo we were back in the city park. We passed by the The Széchenyi Thermal Baths which I ended up not visiting (such an eejit). The baths looked huge, you could see into the complex a little, looked fun. I continued walking through the park towards the City Park Ice rink, passing the beautiful Vajdahunyad Castle. We found a great little restaurant on the edge of the ice rink called Varosliget. From here you get some great views onto the ice rink outside, with locals and tourists trying there hand at some ice skating while you have a great meal. I’ts also good to note if you visit in summer months, the ice rink is replaced with a pond. Angela at petting zooI really enjoyed up at the City Park, its a great place to take in some great sights in both architecture and green space. I had to get a few more photos of Heroes’ Square before heading back to the city centre though, brilliant!.

Once back at the city centre I took another walk along the Danube towards the Budapest Parliament Building. The structure is stunning!, definitely 1 of the most spectacular looking buildings I’ve ever seen! I took in the surroundings of the building and visited the visitor centre underground. The tours were all sold for the day so I looked into getting the tour the following day. There are guards in the Square who move, very little, kinda like the guards at Buckingham Palace. Also good to note is that there’s a tram, tram number 2 that basiclly runs on a stretch of track all the way along the banks of the Danube on the Pest side, including right past the Parliament Building. This was a great route for us getting to and from our hotel area, but also gives great views along Danube.

Budapest ParlimentFinal event of the day was a great dinner in the TGi Fridays restaurant at Oktogon. I needed it! all that exploring of the City Park, Budapest Zoo and Budapest Parliament Building took it out of me. Once again I knew I was going to have a fantastic sleep!, aswell as looking forward to my final full day in Budapest.


Day 2:

So onto day 2 in our trip!, and it began with a quick bite for breakfast in the hotel. I ended up needing this, as I had quite an amount of walking ahead of me.

St. Stephen’s BasilicaOur ‘home metro station‘ was Leher Ter on the M3 line. We got to the station and headed towards the city centre. Unfortunately the metro line 3 was partly closed so we got off near St. Stephen’s Basilica. I didnt mind this as I got a great oppertunity to take some photos of the building. From there I headed along toward the Chain Bridge, still as beautiful as it was the night before all lit up! Being me, I had to take more photos before heading to the Buda side of the city.

Over on the other side of the Chain Bridge, I was on the Buda side and right in front of me was the Buda Castle district/Hill. The funicular to the top of the hill was very busy so I decided to walk up. I really enjoyed the walk, you get to take in brilliant views of the city as you climb and hear locals playing instruments to the passing public. Buda Castle. It could be a tough climb though for some people. Up top is the Royal Palace which is a number of museums and a national library. I didn’t visit any of these attractions, instead I toured around the castle/palace at my own pace and leisure to take in some simply awesome views, and some photos of course! The Castle district is a pretty big place and walking was taking its toll so I took a rest in a little cafe up on the street ‘Dísz tér’, which had plenty of shops and cafes dotted around aswell as an information point outside the beautiful ‘Matthias Church‘.

Matthias ChurchOpposite the church is the Fisherman’s Bastion, a Terrence on the hill with 7 towers, which represent the seven Magyar tribes that settled in Budapest. From here you get some stunning views of the Pest side of the city including the Parliament, the Danube and Margaret Island. Go here! Its an absolute must. There is a little cafe right on the hill which you can take in the scenery whilst having a tea.

I had a fantastic time up in the Castle district and Buda Hill but it was already getting late in the afternoon so I headed to the nearby ‘Széll Kálmán tér’ for the tram back to Pest. Once we reached the Pest side I looked for a coffee shop which my girlfriend had spoke of before we went. This is the coffee shop which I previously posted about ‘here‘. Still the most amazing hot choc I’ve ever had!

After that quick refreshment I headed to the House of Terror on Andrássy út 60, a very informative museum about the horrors of the World War 2, before and after. This was a fantastic museum to visit, it is very detailed, very interesting, but pretty gruelling. Accounts of torture and interrogation are very intimidating to read, and there are some images that can be distressing, but to learn about this brings hope that history can be a learning tool, and not to let this sort of hatred happen again (I have a Trip Advisor review here). This was my last stop for the day, as I headed back sharp to the hotel for some room service and a relaxing night.

Me and the DanubeI had a fantastic time on day 2. I would recommend quite a lengthy visit to the Buda Castle district. It’s a vast area with alot to see and do. I didn’t go into the Place or the museums up the hill but I wouldn’t say not to visit, the same with going into the Matthias Church. I didn’t enter these, but I will on my return to Budapest for sure!

Its been around 3 weeks now since I went a wee trip to Budapest for a few days, it was a fantastic city and was just as amazing to be there, it had plentiful of things to do and see. I thought it would be a good plan to share what I got up to whilst there, but I cannot stress enough how much I KNOW I will return!

I will break the trip into a number of posts, about the different days we were there, so here’s day 1, hope you enjoy!

Day 1:

Edinburgh to Budapest via Frankfurt, was worth the stopover just to see all the planes, but because of this we arrived quite late in the afternoon/early evening to Budapest, around 6pm.

The Danube at nightComing into land we seen the city all lit up for us arriving, although it did look rather alien to us then!. We got into the terminal, grabbed our bags, and got our ‘Budapest Card’, which was a great buy, even for the public transport alone. A quick bus from the airport to the end of the Metro Line 3 and we were on the only metro we needed to reach our hotel/apartment ‘Adina Apartments Budapest’ (I have a review here on Trip Advisor if you would like to read it). We felt lost (a little) but got to the hotel quite quickly. We left our stuff at the hotel and off we went to explore!

Now I was pretty hungry, so I had to go eat at my favourite place, Hard Rock Cafe, always guaranteed a great meal there! And it was great! After a bite we headed toward the river Danube which became our ‘home’ or ‘restart’ place, just incase we got lost. When we reached to Danube on that 1st night my breathe was taken away.

Buda CastleTo see The Citadel, Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge lit up was stunning. I had plentiful of snap happy moments with my camera that evening. I’ve seen some awesome bridges like the Charles Bridge in Prague, The Helix Bridge in Singapore or Ponte Vecchio in Florence, but the Chain Bridge in Budapest has definitely become my favourite. It a beautiful bridge to photograph and take a walk over, even if just to see the statues of the guardian lions close up, they are so detailed. I was getting a little caught up in photographing these beautiful sites that it was already past midnight.

The Chain BridgeI started to walk towards the metro to get home. On the way I passed, what must have been the Budapest nightlife area along a street called ‘Zrínyi utca’. It was full of people waiting to get into clubs etc. At the end of the street we had the St. Stephen’s Basilica in view, all lit up, although the lights went out just as we got close to it. The metro turned out to be finished for the night, so we had to walk home as we weren’t totally clued up on the buses that night, but the walk back, although tiring after a long day, was worth the effort as it taught us some more bearings about the city.

Buda CastleOn the way home we past places like the Budapest-Nyugati Railway station, the massive West End City shopping centre and the Church of Saint Margaret of the Árpád. After that walk back I was shattered, not to mention excited. I had seen so much in a few short hours, I couldn’t wait to see what a few days would bring!

Visited a place called ‘the Bookshop Café’ in Budapest which had this coconut flavoured hot chocolate, which is the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted, & the room we were sitting in looks like something from a Renaissance building in Venice!. Splendid!


Since I’m heading off to Budapest in the morning, I best get a move on. Considering I have just started packing, I really should get in the zone here. Thinking along these lines, I thought I would put up a quick post reminder of what we should definately have with us!

  • Passport: A no brainer, would be extremely gutted if I showed up to the airport and realised this wasn’t around. It’s straight on the bus back home, instead of the plane far away.
  • Travel Documents: Again, an absolute must!. Shouldn’t be hard to forget the flight docs, especially when you pack your passport, but also other docs you may need to print off like hotel bookings, airport transfers or train tickets.
  • Currency: Yup, its going to be no use to me going to Budapest tomorrow with £’s in my pocket, and lets be honest, should you forget to change currency before the trip, its going to cost alot more at the airport or destination. Keep an eye out online for places with best conversion rates. Google it!
  • Credit Cards: Even though your bank will probably have some sort of conversion fee if you use your card abroad, its still a good idea to take it with you. Should you loose your money or be victim of pick pocketing, a credit card can be a life saver (just use with caution).
  • Travel Insurance: Alot of banks in the UK now have travel insurance on their special account cards, but I don’t have that, so I do it online. Few minutes, add details and your covered, again, look around for best price and cover. But don’t leave home without it, 99% nothing will happen, but its best to be safe than sorry.
  • Vaccinations & Medications: Alot of my trips are around Europe so I’m fine with these, however when I did go to Singapore a couple of years back I had to get a few vaccinations before heading there. Quick appointment with the doctor can put your mind at ease if you’re not sure. Also make sure you have any meds you may need, sorted before you go. Again, better safe than sorry with this 1, you would hate to go on holiday and end up unwell, and know your meds are at home on the kitchen counter!
  • Mobile Phone/iPod/Laptop: Electronics have to be with me!. Long flights or train journeys can be alot smoother if I can watch films, listen to heavy metal or play games on route. But more than often the laptop is for the hotel room. I prefer a hotel/apartment with free Wi-Fi (it’s a must for me), this is so I can connect online to use Google maps to get an idea of where an attraction, bar or restaurant is in the place I’m visiting. Oh and remember the chargers for these items!
  • Camera: I know this is an electronic, but I give it its own point, because there more to it. Yes, take the camera but don’t forget the charger, memory cards, tripods, lenses, bag and cleaner kits. Your going to another place, you want good picture memories to bring back so take note!
  • Travel Adaptor: I have about 3 of these things each time I travel. Your going to be very annoyed when you get to your destination and realise you forgot these things. Yup, your going to have to buy 1 now aren’t you!
  • Clothes: Well yes, this is pretty obvious but take into account other items like waterproofs along with your jackets, a suit along with your shirts and walking boots along with trainers. You never know, you maybe go out 1 night where you have to wear smart suit, go long walking tours where walking boots would outweigh trainers or even go to an icebar when a tee shirt just isn’t enough (trust me!)
  • Toiletries: Including towels incase you go to the beach, or like i will be, the Budapest baths!. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, moisturiser, razor, hair putty and shower gel, all essential items. Sun lotion is also worth taking, I hardly need that here in Scotland but I do forget that there are places in the world where its actually warm!
  • What do you take with you that just cannot be forgotten?, anything I haven’t sorted out that anyone can remind me of?. Ha, I’ll no doubt leave here later knowing in the back of my mind something is missing, but I guess that’s all part of the excitement of the day, and of travelling.

    Budapest, Christopher is coming to visit!