Europe By Bus | Days 11-12 | Budapest

3rd November 2016

Oh, Budapest. Beautiful, cheap and historical Budapest. I am seriously considering moving here.The food is cheap, the metro system is really easy, the city is gorgeous and you can go to warm outdoor pools all year round. What more could you want?! Did I mention it’s basically a Mecca for vegetarians?

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Traveling and working as a freelance writer is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I mean it sounds fantastic. Surely you earn your money back as you travel, actually do something productive whilst still seeing all the sights and you spend your days sitting in fabulous cafes daintily typing away whilst everyone admires you? That’s the dream, right?

In reality you either end up neglecting the sightseeing because realistically not everywhere has WiFi and spending all your money at cafes kind of defeats the point of earning the measly fees that my sort of entry level freelancing brings you, or you neglect the writing in favour of sightseeing and end up panicking at your blank pages and long to-do list.

Even though a tablet is a lot more convenient and generally safer to travel with, it is a bitch to write anything lengthy on. My tablet randomly decided to delete my words, change my letters or just invent new words of its own and so half the time I end up shouting at it and then realizing I’m in public and everyone thinks I’m insane.

I’m still loving the freelancing dream, don’t get me wrong, and it’s been really helpful (especially as I only started buying food to cook at the hostel rather than eating out two weeks into my trip), but it’s not as easy as people think.

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On my first proper day in Budapest, I went for a walk and stumbled upon this great little vegetarian cafe. They sold samosas, pakoras, vegetable filled pancakes, veggie burgers, stuffed zucchinis and loads of salad. They did put carrots in the samosas and pancakes (which is a huge turn off for me) but that’s just my weird prejudices more than any reflection on the food. It was nice, healthy and at around 2100 forints pretty reasonably priced.

It was nice, healthy and at around 2100 forints pretty reasonably priced. The only drawback was that their wifi flat out refused to cooperate so my plan of working in quaint little veggie cafes just did not work out.


 


 

Oh, the health.


 

 

After that, I somehow ended up walking to Nyugati pályaudvar and went to the big West End shopping center which is packed full of shops (some like H&M are pretty standard and some I can’t remember seeing before) and ended up giving my tired face a complete makeover with the makeup testers. Apparently, that’s allowed which makes me wonder why anyone buys makeup if you can use all the brands for free, but realistically they’d catch on quite quickly and bar you for life.

Next, I ended up going into this indoor marketplace. Not the market that Google tells you to go to, I don’t even know what this one was called, but it was still pretty cool. I got a huge beer for 350 forints (about £1) and ended up doing my work at a little table via their surprisingly sprightly wifi.
 

 

Next, I ended up going into this indoor marketplace. Not the market that Google tells you to go to, I don’t even know what this one was called, but it was still pretty cool. I got a huge beer for 350 forints (about £1) and ended up doing my work at a little table via their surprisingly sprightly wifi.


 


 

 

I hadn’t planned what to actually do when I got to the other side, but there was a slope clearly leading towards the massive beautiful building on top of the hill so I walked towards it. There is a train you can get which will take you up the slope but I really don’t see why you’d pay to use it when the hill really isn’t hard to climb. And I really, really hate hills so that is saying something.


 

 

I didn’t actually know what the massive building was at the time (I figured it was a castle of some sort) but it was pretty so I just walked towards it.

 

The walk isn’t long at all and when you reach the top you have an amazing view of the city. It turned out the big beautiful building was Buda Castle (duh) and the walk takes you right up to the Budapest History Museum.

The museum is really impressive. It’s all inside the former palace itself and the first floor talks about the history of the palace and who lived in it. All that stuff is pretty standard but when you go downstairs things start to get interesting.

There are loads of relics from the original palace (it’s been destroyed and rebuilt a few times as I recall) and then if you go down done more stairs you end up in an uncovered old part of the palace complete with a chapel, sellers, and a prison.


 


 


 

 

 

There was also a really interesting gallery which explored the role of children in art and how they have been depicted throughout history, and another exhibition called ‘Light and Shadows’ which looks at Budapest’s history from Roman times to the end of communism.

I walked in not knowing anything about Hungarian history and left with loads of new knowledge. Budapest had not had a peaceful history. Budapest (or rather Buda, Pest, and Obuda) has been at war pretty much consistently until very recently. They got invaded by the Ottoman Empire, they got taken over by the Nazis and they suffered under communism to name a few.

It’s amazing this city is as beautiful as it is considering how many times it’s been at war. Budapest’s history could rival Game of Thrones.

After the museum, I walked around the rest of the castle area. The viewing platform is amazing and it definitely highlighted one of the bad things about traveling alone; no one to take pictures of you and selfies just is not the same.


 

 

 

 

 

 

My day ended with an awesome burrito from Gringos Amigos, an awesome Mexican fast food place just a few minutes away from Deak metro station. It’s not that cheap for Budapest but it was really needed and very tasty, plus it’s still cheaper than it ever would be in the U.K so you can’t exactly complain.

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