To set the scene during my Budapest visit back in February of 2017, imagine icy winds, grey fog, and warm goulash.
A friend and I hopped on a train from Marseille to Paris, explored beautiful Parisian sites such as the Musée D’Orsay and Sainte-Chapelle. After a few days, it was time to fly to Budapest. It would be my first time exploring Central Europe.
We stayed at a hostel in Pest called Carpe Noctem Vitae, which was situated above a pungent beauty parlor and a fantastic pizza place that sold slices for less than a dollar (and was also the first time I had corn on pizza, which I still highly recommend and sometimes crave). Behind the street entrance was a narrow vestibule with a rickety glass elevator. The hostel itself was integrated into a private residential area and consisted of multiple floors. We stayed on the main floor of the hostel in a larger 12 bed, which, even though I had a good time, I would never want to stay in ever again. It takes a special type of misguided, naive energy that I don’t have anymore to willingly book a 12 bed and think you’re going to actually get to sleep.
“They said that, of course, Budapest is beautiful. But it is in fact almost ludicrously beautiful.” – Anthony Bourdain
Budapest is still one of the most interesting cities I’ve ever seen. It’s a mix of old and new, the historic and the modern, full of sadness and life. Walking the streets is almost like taking a step back in time. Run-down buildings torn apart by war still stand next to beautifully designed opera houses and basilicas. Symbolic metal bullets and shoes pose haunting reminders of a dark past. On foggy nights, the Parliament Building emerges from hazy lights like a ghost in the shadows. Quaint cafes and old ruin bars hold secrets in their walls. It’s a place of brilliant architecture, stunning views, and full of vibrant inspiration.
I still have plans to see Budapest again, as there is so much more this city has to offer. If you’ve been to Budapest, I’d love to hear about your favorite parts of the city! Comment below to share your travel stories.
Are you also looking to create a to-do list so you’re ready to go after travel restrictions have been lifted? Check out my other post about Budapest, which includes 10 things to do and know about the beautiful city.