Budapest

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Buda Buda Buda Buda Rockin’ Everywhere
This past Thanksgiving holiday I et up with two of my sorority sisters in Budapest, Hungary. It was quite a weekend and a great way to celebrate an American tradition with some of the people that I am most thankful for.

We stayed at the Mercure Budapest Duna Hotel which was in a prime location and was in walking distance of the two different parts of the city, Buda & Pest, which are divided by a river in between the two. Back in the Middle Ages, Budapest arose out of two Bulgarian military frontier fortresses Buda and Pest, situated on the two banks of Danube and then in 1867 they formally merged into what is now today Budapest. That being said, there are many detailed and beautiful bridges that you are able to cross over to see both sides of the city.
Landing on Thanksgiving night at around 5 pm, we headed over to the hotel that we made reservations at to have a formal Thanksgiving dinner. Not only was it a Thanksgiving dinner, it was a full on buffet with everything from stuffing and turkey to foie gras and caviar. It was spectacular! And not only that, but the restaurant sat on the Pest side of the river so we had a beautiful view of the city while we ate. We were prepared for the harsh weather and freezing temperatures that Budapest had to offer us Arizona natives, yet, no jacket , hat or scarf sufficed to how cold I was on that following day as we wandered the city. We ate brunch at this very cute and quaint cafe in one of the alleyways and let me tell you, the currency in Budapest is magnificent. Probably the cheapest country and meals I have ever purchased, for 1 HUF is equivalent to 0.0034 American dollars and a majority of the meals ranged from $4-$8 American dollars. After brunch we wandered through all of the amazing Christmas markets and over to the Buda Castle where we stopped and had a hot chocolate inside the castle walls.

The following day it started to snow, and of course, I personally do not deal with the snow on a daily basis, so my friends and I headed over to the the famous baths for some relaxation. Little did we know that these baths were viewed more as a partying scene than a calm and rejuvenating place, yet it was still an experience to be able to see all of the history behind the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Once we finished up our soaking, we headed over to the well known Jewish Quarter for a yummy meal and the “chimney cake” desserts that both Budapest and Prague are famous for.

On our last day exploring the beautiful city of Budapest, we decided to go back to the place that we enjoyed most, that being the Christmas markets. In the US we have stores that you are able to buy Christmas trinkets at, but they do not exceed, by any means, the Christmas spirit that these markets emanate. We ate the traditional goulash soup and walked through the aisles of Christmas decor. We ended up walking over to St. Stephen’s Basilica and got the opportunity to go inside while a mass was being held and it was pretty spectacular. The walls were covered in frescos and gold, and there were many stunning stain glass windows surrounding the entire basilica. Sadly our exploration came to an end, and it was time to head back to the airport. I do not doubt that I will be back again in this historical and fascinating city, for it was such a blast being able to wander through the streets and find all different hidden gems in this city.

Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.