Battling the Weather in Budapest

The Citadel, which sits atop a hill in Buda, overlooking the entire city

After my Italian adventure came to an end, the next stop on my itinerary was the dual city of Budapest, Hungary — Buda being the laidback, hilly portion of the city to the West of the Danube River filled with nature trails and forests while Pest is the more metropolitan heart, sitting to the East.

As you’ll see in the following pictures, however, it didn’t stop raining the entire time I was there and the temps started dropping below the range of what I could comfortably get away with given the clothers I packed.  After toughing out the rain and cold (by “layering” most of the clothes I brought with me) and blitzing the sights for the first few days, I unfortunately found myself a bit under the weather.  So for the last few days, I was forced to stick around my hostel in an attempt to recover, meaning I wasn’t able to dive into the Maglay cuisine or drink as much as I would have liked (I never even got a chance to try the Bull’s Blood wine or many flavors of Palinka, for example).  I guess this just means that I’ll have a longer list of things to do the next time I visit.

But as I mentioned, I did get a good look at the city before having to lay low, so I still have some good pictures to show:

Hero’s Square

Each of Hungary’s famous war heros is represented with his or her own statue (thus the “Hero’s Square” moniker)

The Mathias and Szekely Churches seen from across the Danube. Some may say that the rain was an inconvenience, but others might say it lended a hazy, mystical quality to the city

Looking West over the hills of Buda

The view back over Pest as seen from the Citadel (my opening picture)

The Parliament Building

The Castle crowning a hill in Buda

Vajdahumyad Castle (different from the one in the previous photgraph)

The famous statue of Anonymous

Close-up on the World’s Largest Hourglass (it was about 12 feet high or so)

And has been the trend with my whole trip, I made a point to stop by several of the local markets to see what the vendors have up for sale.  And though each market I visited had its own personality and feel, the Grand Market takes the cake for the most impressive and notewothy — in fact, it would rank right up there, both in size and quality, with any other market I’ve happened to come across in all of Europe so far:

Two stories of market action

They don’t shy away from the expensive ingredients like fois gras or cavier here, either

Deli Listings

However, beyond just the sights and the markets, there is one aspect of Budapest that quickly makes it a favorite amongst weary travelers: the presence of the soothing and rejuvanating mineral baths (and this is one thing I definitely drug myself off my sickbed for).  There are at least a dozen or so spread throughout the city, leftovers from when the area was occupied by the Turks several hundred years ago, each offering patrons access to a variety of geothermal pools filled with mineral-rich waters ranging in temperature from hot-tub-like-hot all the way down to ice cold.  Adding in a few nice features such as saunas, fountains, whirlpools, and exercise programs and it is easy to see why these are popular spots in the city, both for tourists and locals.  And supposedly there is even a club here in the city in which the revelers dance into the wee hours waistdeep in the aquamarine-colored waters, but I wasn’t able to confirm that.

One of 22 pools at this particular bath (both indoor and outdoor)

The baths felt so nice that it was easy to lose yourself and end up spending several hours just soaking your cares away

Despite being under the weather, I did manage to sample at least a few of the culinary offerings that Budapest had to offer (though again, I didn’t get to dive in too deeply).  The most famous dish that comes to mind when thinking of Maglay cuisine is that of the Paprika-seasoned beef and vegetable soup known as Goulash.

We normally think of Goulahs as a thick stew, it is more commonly served here as a thinner soup

That doesn’t mean, however, that the stew-like version can’t still be found (served here with Spaetzle

Paprika Chicken, another local specialty. And given that Hungarian Paprika is some of the most highly regarded in the world, it is no surprise that it seems to be found in almost every dish

Flaky, fruit-filled pastries were also quite common, and serve as cheap (less than $1) and quick snacks while exploring the city

After several more days of laying low and recuperating, I’m finally feeling back to normal again.  And as such, it is time to move on again.  For my next stop, I’m heading to the land where vowels are scarce: Ljubljana, Slovenia (trying saying that 3 times fast…or at all, for that matter).  Until then, Kedves Egeszsegere from Hungary!

About andrewamiet

I'm a 29 (now 31) year-old former desk jockey who is now making my way around the world, experiencing all of the sights, sounds, tastes, people, and culture that the world has to offer.

7 Responses to “Battling the Weather in Budapest”

  1. For the first time on your trip, I know exactly what you are eating tastes like. You know I grew up eating this exact cuisine during every special event or holiday. I am so glad that you made it to Hungary, Andrew, you have no idea! It is just too bad you were feeling sick during your stay. Take care of yourself.

  2. Andrew, I was really impressed by the architecture in Hungary. I’m surprised it doesn’t get more credit. You are missing a great Wisconsin vs. Ohio State game right now…hope you are getting updates. Safe travels.

  3. Andy, I agree, dinner with your family was an experience like no other!

  4. Some of the things I’m sure I regret doing, Jacob. Just blame it on my young age but it was merely to entertain you guys at the dinner table. I got no better enjoyment than making you all laugh. I think it is spelled Leracrocrumply. Not sure. And Andrew, you DID miss a heck of a football game like Jake said! Go Bucks!

    • I was actually keeping an eye out for Leracrocrumply, but sadly, I wasn’t able to find it. As with many of the Eastern European countries, many of the classic dishes are actually difficult to find in restaurants, as they are typically only served in the home. Oh well, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been as good as Eva’s, so it isn’t too much of a loss.

      And yeah, I read all about the Wisconsin game — right down to the wire. It looks like the Bucks are finally starting to hit their stride, so hopefully they can keep the momentum going. Go Bucks!

  5. When I was in Budapest a couple of years ago, I was highly impressed by the cuisine there. I think that I’d totally make another trip just to eat there again and fill my suitcase with Hungarian paprika. By any chance did you try any of the cabbage rolls? I had one at Kárpátia Étterem, and it was absolutely fantastic. And the bread that they make in Hungary….good grief, it’s ridiculous 🙂 You can easily eat a whole loaf in one sitting!

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