I love you, Budapest

 

Of my travels this fall to many of the most gorgeous cities in Europe, I felt a most special and profound connection with Budapest. For me, this city embodies the perfect balance of old world and new, beauty and grit, wonderful people, incredible food and drink, history, culture, and wonder. In a word: magic.

I will be back as soon as I possibly can.

In the meantime, my cherished memories will have to suffice. I was able to capture a just few on film and video, which I am so happy to share with you here.

Here is a moment of my first walk while exploring some of the city, on the Pest side:

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Pálinka

Pálinka

My first night here, some new friends and I sampled some moonshine pálinka, a traditional fruit brandy invented in the Middle Ages. After maybe one too many, we meandered to Szimpla Kert, Budapest’s first romkocsma, or ruinpub. Full of graffiti, street art and random bric-a-brac, these structures are housed in old buildings nearly destroyed (ruined) during WWII. I’ll say this much: Hungarians know how to party.

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I spent the entire next day sightseeing and, of course, sampling some of the amazing food. Every street cafe has delectable pastries available, on every corner. They go for about 75 cents (USD) a pop, are filled with meat, cheese, veggies or all of the above, and are AMAZING.p1020221

After a very full day (more on that later), I was in desperate need of one of the city’s many thermal spas. These naturally heated public pools are plentiful here, and though most spas near my hostel were indoor-only, my travels in Iceland spoiled me to prefer those with outdoor pools. So, despite it being a 20-minute tram ride out of the way, I decided on Széchenyi. It did not disappoint:

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My next day in Budapest was full of adventures (again, to be shared soon). But, by happenstance, the next day I found myself back at Szimpla on a Sunday afternoon, and was surprised to discover that on this day every week it is home to a lively farmers’ market during the daytime:

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There is so much more to say about Budapest. But, for tonight, I will leave it with: Kedves egészségére!

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