I loved Budapest! It was a great trip for many reasons. It was the first time I’ve seen Lily since I’ve been abroad. I got to see Cybil and Lily reunited in all their “Cily” glory for the first time as well (aren’t they cool cats). And I feel like I was a lot more adventurous on this trip than any other I’ve been on.
It was a short trip, but here are the highlights:
City View and Walking Tour: The view around the Danube River is gorgeous, and we got to see it during the day and when it was lit up at night. The city is divided into two parts: Buda, the side with hills, and Pest, the flatter side. We went on a walking tour and learned a bit of Hungarian history. For instance, Hungary is named after the Huns because of their large presence in its earlier history. Additionally, because of this, the Hungarian language has a lot of Asian influence and sounds very distinct compared to other European languages. It was also interesting to see how, despite the fact that Hungary and Austria used to be a part of the same empire, Budapest is so different from Vienna in terms of architecture and culture.
Caving: I realize that I’ve developed a greater appreciation for nature and the outdoors since I’ve been abroad. At home, hiking or camping just seemed tiring and dirty, and my idea of a perfect weekend involved things that happened indoors. But here, I’ve been to Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, up a mountain in Innsbruck, the hills in Salzburg, and I never thought I would ever go caving. It wasn’t even my idea to go. It was Lily and Cybil’s, but I’m really glad I went. We had a guide lead us through the caves under the city. We wore full-body suits and helmets with headlights on them, but no gloves. Initially, this grossed me out, but after a while, (call me a hippie) I just felt so incredibly close to the earth. I could feel the grittiness of the dirt; the smoothness and hardness of various rocks; the cool, damp softness of clay. We tunneled through on our hands, knees and stomachs, and in positions that were surreal and almost disorienting — surrounded by the same rock on all sides and having a difficult time telling which parts were up or down. I loved it.
Christmas Market: Christmas markets in Budapest are super cute! The stands are bigger than the ones I’ve seen in Vienna, so they get to include more details in their stands: hanging ornaments, lights in jars, antique cabinets. The food was really good too. My favorites included cabbage stuffed with goose, goulasch, pork knuckles, and hot chocolate.
Hungarian Baths: In order to fit everything into our day, we left for the baths super early in the morning. We got to see the sun rise while were sitting in them. The water was hot enough for us to be outside even though it’s winter, and we only froze a little bit when we got out and had to run back inside. We probably would have enjoyed the baths more if we were less tired and it was warmer outside, but they were relaxing just the same. We did end up taking naps inside though before we left. I didn’t get very good pictures while I was inside, so I attached a picture that I thought looked most similar to our experience. (Picture source: topbudapest.org)
All in all, I enjoyed our trip to Budapest, and I’m also glad the three of us got to catch up. Now it’s time to prepare for finals! Here’s to my last 20 days in Europe!