Posts Tagged ‘Budapest’

Budapest – Day 3

Location | Ferihegy Airport – Budapest

Ngoc and I are in the airport lounge waiting for our flight to Rome. Today was a fabulous day! It started out relatively early – 9am. We set off to Central Kavehaz again for breakfast. I also bought a box of macarons!

12 Macarons!

12 Macarons!

Then we took the tram across the Danube River to Gellert Hotel to go to the Gellert Baths.

The inside of the Gellert Hotel is breathtaking (very elegant). Ngoc describes the inside of the hotel as similar to what she’d imagine a palace bathroom (with a pool). We went inside and got our own changing cabin – complete with “bed” and a locker. Then we went to the thermal baths. The water was either 36*C or 38*C. We went into the 38*C bath. Note to those who wish to visit thermal baths — it’s clothing optional. Although, most people who opt for nudity tend to be those over the age of 50… just in case you were wondering.

After the thermal bath, we wanted to go to the pools. They have 2, an indoor and an outdoor. The outdoor pool is on the upper level and is also a wave pool. The deepest it goes is about 250cm. Let’s just say that in my attempt to touch the ground, I also freaked myself out.

The indoor pool is in a beautiful atrium. There’s stone lion statues with water coming out of their mouths and the ceiling opens up to the beautiful sunny skies. There’s also old ladies doing aerobics, families with their children and other random guests.

Indoor Poor at Gellert Baths

Indoor Poor at Gellert Baths

After taking dips in the pool (and seeing that we both had gotten horribly tan which we did not expect since it was actually a cloudy day) we went back to the thermal bath just to relax. Then Ngoc and I tried the sauna and since I was dying, I went to lay out in our little cabana. Then I decided I totally needed a massage, so for about $14-15 I got a 15 minute massage.

We left Gellert around 1:30pm and we were starving, so we went to the Central Market to eat some food on the 2nd floor. The service at the place we went to was HORRIBLE. I would never eat at that stand again… I ordered stuffed cabbage (which was good) but the lady just slopped it on and even tho she almost dropped the plate (she did lose some of the sauerkraut) she didn’t even try to give me a new plate.

Afterwards we went through the market to look for more souvenirs. Unfortunately I didn’t find anything that I quite liked.

Then we got our bags and headed to a pick-up point to go to the airport. The transport was 30 minutes late, but we got to the airport, through the ticket counter + security with relatively little hassle.

Sun Setting over the Adriatic Sea

Sun Setting over the Adriatic Sea

It was waiting for our luggage when we arrived in Rome that was the biggest problem. We had requested and paid for 2 seats on a bus to take us to the main centre of Rome, but unfortunately, despite our flight arriving on time at 9:40pm, our luggage didn’t come out to baggage claim until 10:45pm. Then we had to run to catch the last train to Termini Station… and we literally ran through the airport. Well not before we ran around frantically trying to get money out of the ATMs (they weren’t working for our cards).

We arrived at our bed & breakfast and so far it’s awesome! A really nice private room w/ private bath and the owner and managers of the b&b are totally sweet and awesome. More updates to come and pictures too!


08 2009

Budapest – Day 1

Location | Suite Hostel – Budapest

Arrival in Budapest was at 8:30am this morning. The big open air train station is pretty amazing and packed with travelers. Budapest is really run down in that area in town, but I think I was expecting something grand after coming from Prague.

Budapest Keleti Train Station

Budapest Keleti Train Station

We took the local bus to our hostel which is on the 4th floor (no elevator) of an old fashioned building near the famous Vaci Utca (a shopping street). We climbed up and were introduced to a 4-person mixed dorm room… where two half naked guys were sleeping. I was a little horrified and had us upgraded (ugh for US$30/person/night more) to a 2 person private room. I think that was the best decision I’ve made so far on this trip.

Do you see the legs of the half naked guy?

Do you see the legs of the half naked guy?

Well, since the room wasn’t ready, we went to the flea market in this big park in the northeast part of Pest. There were a ton of booths and a lot of old soviet memorabilia. It was getting really hot (today was about 91* or more) but we walked around the park and looked at the castle which had a small church and an agricultural museum and we also walked to Heroes Square which is a big memorial.

Who are these Hungarian Heroes?

Who are these Hungarian Heroes?

After that, we took the metro and stopped at nearly every stop to look at the buildings and all the sights.

We ate in Oktogon. There’s a street filled with cafes. We finally got to try some Hungarian goulash – with lamb, potatoes and some tiny noodles. It was faintly spicy and very flavourful. Very much like beef stew (except with lamb) and very very red.

Ngoc enjoying Hungarian Goulash

Ngoc enjoying Hungarian Goulash

After eating we went to St. Stephen’s Basilica. It was HUGE inside and very nice and cool. We left and went across the plaza to “California Coffee Company” and had some iced tea and watermelon. After enjoying the view from the 2nd floor window (and the AC) we decided that we wanted to walk the Chain Bridge to Buda. It was a short walk and the Buda side has the best views.

It’s very eerie in Buda because there were basically NO people. Every once in awhile we’d run into another set of tourists or a local here or there, but really it was just us on empty streets.

We climbed up a “mountain” (aka a hill) to Matthia’s Church. There were great sweeping views of Pest and an awesome view of the Hungarian Parliament Building.

We sat on the steps eating some gelato when this tourist (I believe he was Eastern European, but he didn’t talk much so I couldn’t tell where he was from) sat down next to me.. and had his wife take a picture of us… Has he never met a real live Asian before? Was I just so awesome looking sitting on the steps that he just had to get a picture?? I have no idea.

After finishing up, we went down the meeting, back to the empty streets of Buda and got to the metro station. We got back to where our hostel is, and did some grocery shopping. We’re eating on the cheap to save money for Rome. (Plus food in Budapest is not that great).

Anyway, tomorrow we have a big day ahead of us – the Castle w/ underground labyrinth and maybe Margaret Island – where they have some thermal hot springs (about 100* water…). We’ll see. More updates to come – check Flickr!


08 2009

The Itinerary

Current Location | New York City

The first entry should always lead off as an introduction. Well, this is my little introduction into why I am creating this blog. Although I’ve had my fair share of travel in the past 24 years, I hope to diversify and see all that I could possibly see while I am still young, able and have a disposable income. I decided to create this blog as the beginnings of my travels – aptly naming it “Explore!” although I am sure I could come up with a more creative name with some time and a little thought.

The first trip on my itinerary will be my late July 2009-early August 2009 Europe trip. Although I won’t be bringing my computer with me, my friend (and travel buddy) will be bringing hers along. The itinerary is as follows:

July 31st – Arrive in Prague from NYC

August 2 – Arrive in Budapest via overnight train

August 4 – Arrive in Rome via air

August 8 – Return to Prague via air

August 9 – Return to NY

It’s not the longest trip, but we should be able to thoroughly enjoy what Prague, Budapest and Rome have to offer! I will update with more info and also links to my new Flickr account once I get it set up!

More to come!


07 2009