It’s been nearly four months since we left Budapest, it’s high time for some first summaries. Let’s start from a couple of things I miss the most about Budapest. Of course there’s more than I list here, and it’s mostly the “atmosphere” of the city I loved so much, which is a bit difficult to describe, but I hope I managed to capture it at least in some of my photos.
River, river, river. The River! I am sure it is rather difficult to visit Budapest, even for a short weekend trip, and not notice the river. The whole city is built around the Danube, you can see the division on the map and in the city name. Buda on the left bank, Pest on the right bank. Even if we don’t visit the other side, we know it’s there, on the other side of the big river. And it’s also the Danube you visit if you look for some fun activities. The Margaret island, dozens of boat restaurants and clubs. And the cruises of course, although I recommend the much simpler and cheaper water trams. Sunny afternoons on a small ferry, somewhere between the Parliament and the island, are truly one of my best Budapest memories.
Probably not many people can say that Hungarian sounds pretty, and I will not claim that either ;), but I truly miss its omnipresence! On one hand, extremely difficult to learn, with dozens complicated grammatical rules, and on the other – with thousands fascinating words, that we finally got used to and really liked. And this nice feeling we got, when we made a tiny conversation in Hungarian, or when we understood what people in the tram were talking about.
Oh, the food. But not necessarily the local cuisine. Hungarian dishes are full of paprika and meat, and are not the best if you’re on a diet. Of course we enjoyed a gulyash soup or a langos from time to time, but usually when someone visited us and wanted to try something local. In our daily menu there were rather some foreign cuisines, but we always chose Hungarian treats when it came to desserts. I can’t imagine winter without kurtoskalacs, its smell and warmth were just a perfect cure for the dark freezing days (ok, and the nicer ones too, I admit). And Túró Rudi and rétes, I’ll tell you more about them too! And drinks, of course. I don’t know if other people notice that too, but there’s amazing lemonade everywhere all over Budapest. Always with different flavours and lots of fruits. Perfect for hot summer days. Fröccs in the evenings, mixture of water and wine, and of course the thing I miss the most – házi bodzaszörp, water with a homemade elderflower syrup. Oh, how I loved it.
4. It’s so green!
Ok, I remember that my first thought was that Budapest is a rather gray city (not in a bad way), with hundreds of huge old buildings. It does not seem like a good place for nature lovers, but actually those couple of months we spent there, proved that it’s not so bad. Maybe it’s because of the district we lived in, but I felt that the city is soo beautifully green. When the spring came, the streets around our house were just all covered in green, there were large blooming trees everwhere. And the Gellert hill of course, and the parks, like the huge Varosliget in the centre. (I visited it mostly for the flea markets, but it’s a perfect place to escape the city buzz). Let’s not forget the Danube bend too. Only an hour away you can reach those tiny towns by the river and forget completely that the huge capital is so close.
Budapest may not be the “city of flea markets”, that title still belongs to Berlin, but there are still some things I miss. Weekly market at Varosliget Park, for example,which we visited dozens of times. Marek looked for Lego, I usually got some nice old postcards, stamps and embroidered table cloths. Much more interesting (and cheaper) than those you can find in souvenir shops. And the large flea market at Ecseri Piac, a bit further from the city centre, dominated by antiques, but worth visiting at least once; and the design markets every few weeks, and obviously all the food markets. I have similar ones in here Poznań, but I still loved visiting Budapest market halls – the Main one, that can be found in every guidebook, and those smaller ones, near our home. Photos full of fruits and flowers coming soon!
6. Yellow trams
And the subway, and the trolleys! I know it’s not the most exciting thing I could mention, but the public transport in Budapest is really great. To get to my university I had to take the lovely, tiny subway line 1, which does not really look like a typical subway. And there is of course the fascinating spooky line 3, and the newest line 4, with some amazing design on its stops. And hundreds of people checking your tickets. Before you enter, sometimes before you exit, sometimes inbetween the stops. I don’t miss this part, but it’s a bit weird now,not having to show your ticket all the time.
I should probably add also something about the amazing architecture, that’s quite obvious. And the fact that the city is close to everything – other Hungarian towns, and neighbouring countries. And how welcoming and friendly the atmosphere was, even though it’s the capital. There will be much more, and many more photos. More about people, places, and all those details, that made me fell in love with Budapest.