I’ve been buzzing this week about my 8 day long holiday – the longest time off I’ve had since last November – which I started in Budapest last weekend. I have no idea what I was expecting of Budapest but I didn’t expect it to be quite so
modern, western European, I don’t know. It seemed rather London-y. Maybe all of Europe is similar. It’s a city that’s been on my must-see list for years but I never quite got round to it until now and boy, was it worth the wait?!
1. I stayed in an Airbnb apartment
5 nights in a super central location near the Great synagogue cost me £93! It was a 1 bed flat with a lovely kitchen, bathroom and separate toilet. I love staying at apartments mainly because there’s a lot more freedom about eating or making meals at home and more room than in a hotel room. It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper than I could have spent in any hotel in the area.
2. I walked pretty much everywhere
I like walking but I wouldn’t have expected the amount of walking that I did while I was here. I mean temperatures were in the low 30s for most of the trip and that is higher than I prefer. I’d normally duck into some form of public transport to get out of the sun but I persisted on this trip. I averaged about 14 000 steps a day and the only vehicular transportation used was the bus from the airport (€6) and the taxi to the dentist on our first day (1250ft or £3.60 for my half).
3. I slept at the airport the first night
I don’t know how proud I am of this but I’m certainly going to do it again when I have this much time allocated to a place. My plane landed just after midnight and, knowing that we could check in from noon the next day, we “cheaped out” on paying for the first night. We made ourselves as comfy as we could on a few of the benches (which thankfully didn’t have dividing arms) until we could head into town around 8am. I had a terrible night of sleep but I did some work on my FI spreadsheet when I couldn’t sleep anymore and we got a head start on sightseeing on that first morning.
4. I prioritised according to what mattered to me – food and drink
I chose to splurge on a sightseeing cruise with a 4-course meal and Hungarian folk dancers (£41.70) on the first night because we thought that my mate would have her extractions and thus be limited in her food choices. I also made my own dinner, a fabulous tagliatelle with pork medallions in the most delicious tomato sauce (£21.01). I had a few more meals than I’d planned to out including the lovely Castro Bistro and Cafe Mirage which was cheap for a super touristy location. We also dropped into the famous Szimpla Kert to round off an awesome second night.
5. I did lots of free stuff
Well, more like I didn’t pay entry fees for things that someone else told me was essential for a Budapest trip. I didn’t go into the baths. I don’t swim and my mate was suffering the effects of vanity / low self-confidence following her dental work so we weren’t in the best frame of mind to enjoy the benefits of the pools. I didn’t fancy paying 1700ft (£4.89) just to take a few pictures/ prove I’d gone to one of Budapests’ must-see sights. I chose, instead to go to the Cat Café to pet cats and sit in a soothing environment, enjoy a couple of drinks at home with my buddy, check out the castle, and parks as well as go on lots and lots of long walks.
This is not my last trip to Budapest for sure. We only stayed on the Pest side and didn’t check out any of the museums. Since Budapest has announced itself as a contender for my #cheaplifetour AKA gap year, I’ll be visiting again.