Budapest: Day 1

My trip to Budapest began with a 2 hour drive across country to Manchester airport at 5 in the morning! Getting stuck in rush hour traffic on the M62 is not the one! Anyway, I made it safe and sound and checked in fine. I flew with Jet2.com. This was my first flight with them and I would fly with them again. Pretty standard budget airline. I was flying alone so had no problems with seating. I’d checked in online previously so had my boarding pass all sorted.

One of the benefits of flying solo to Budapest is the copious amounts of men that are also heading there. As luck would have it, I was sat with a group of guys! Excellent! They became my new friends! I was also sat with them on the way back, which was nice! I was supposed to be sat in the middle seat, but the guy who had the window seat swapped with me, then the guy who had the aisle seat moved so we used the middle seat for storage/ extra legroom. This should be mandatory on all flights!

Anyway, got to Budapest, met my friend and got a taxi to our hotel. The taxi was something like 5400 forint which is around £12 – £13. The journey was about 20-30 minutes. As with most areas around airports, you watch the scenery pass by and think where the fuck am I??? But luckily, once we got into the city itself, Budapest got a whole load prettier. We stayed at Hotel Nemezeti, which was in a fantastic location. It’s a 4* hotel, so quite posh for me but we got a good deal! It was a good choice, nicely decorated, great service, breakfast included, free wifi and a metro stop right outside.

Once we’d dumped our bags, we set off to explore the city. We didn’t really have any particular sights in mind for our first afternoon, we just wanted to get our bearings as my dad would say. The synagogue was the closest place of interest to our hotel so we headed towards it. We actually walked down the street where we would end up eating all our meals.

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The Great Synagogue

The Great Synagogue is the biggest synagogue in the world outside New York and can seat 3000 worshippers. It was originally built in 1859 and was renovated in the 1990s  with private donations. Apparently $5 million was donated by Estee Lauder as she had Hungarian Jewish roots. It’s an impressive piece of architecture. The site of the synagogue is also home to the Hungarian Jewish museum and a Holocaust memorial. We didn’t visit these though.

I’m ashamed to say that our next stop was a Costa! We were wandering aimlessly so spotted a Costa and decided to grab a drink and cake and figure out our next move! The shop was on the busy ringroad and we witnessed a protest! I was gazing out the window and noticed several police motor bikes suddenly appear and stop in the middle of the crossroads. They stopped traffic and pedestrians whilst a convoy of around 20 cars displaying posters and banners with Vladimir Putin’s face on them. Apparently, he had visited the day before which was why there were protests about him.

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The Putin protest

Our next stop was the Basilica of St Stephen. A pretty impressive church that is named after Stephen, the first king of Hungary. Inside, his right hand is housed in the reliquary. It’s interior bears many similarities to the basilica of St Peter in Rome, aka The Vatican. Obviously, it’s not as big, but it’s still very similar. I find it interesting that two such massive and important houses of worship of two different religions (catholic & jewish) are so close to each other. That’s part of the charm of Budapest.

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Basilica of St Stephen

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The interior

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We headed towards the river as I was keen to get a glimpse of the iconic Danube, it’s bridges and the landmarks around it. By this time, it was evening rush hour so traffic was a bit crazy, but we enjoyed a walk along the river whilst marvelling at the many statues and the impressive view of the royal palace and fisherman’s bastion. Another thing about Budapest that I noticed was the amount of statues and art there is around the city. Seriously! After the first 10 statues, I got bored of photographing them! The city really has got lots culture!

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Traditional Hungarian costume anyone?

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A statue

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Another statue

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The Royal Palace from Pest side of the river

After seeing the river (and being entertained by the swirling chairs) we headed back to our hotel for a disco nap, then dinner. I mentioned the Italian restaurant in my previous post that we went to. Only cost £12 for the whole meal! Seriously good value!

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Playing on spinning chairs!

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Yes we are big kids!

Have you visited Budapest?

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One thought on “Budapest: Day 1

  1. Pingback: My Budapest travel diary | Emily's adventures

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