After a 2-week amazing Euro trip, I had reached the end and I was already dreading going back to the routine life. But before that, I still had an amazing 3 days to spend in this amazing place. I had saved the best for the last. From everyone who had been to Europe, I had only heard great things about this city and could not wait to explore it.
I had taken an overnight bus from Munich and had arrived into Budapest around 8 am. From the bus station, I walked up till the train station and bought myself a train ticket till Nyugati station. Unlike other cities in Europe, Budapest is very strict on penalising defaulters who take public transport without a ticket. Thus, I highly recommend that you buy a ticket no matter what before boarding any public mode of transport.
Once on the train, I found a seat and settled down for a good 20 minutes before I reached my destination. From Nyugati station, my hostel was just around half a kilometre away and thankfully I had downloaded the directions before and so easily found my way to my destination.
I had to climb 3 floors to reach Carpe Noctem Original, and I was literally panting when I finally was offered a seat by the host. Pheww…that was a tiring journey and I was glad I had made it.
Unfortunately, since I had arrived much before the check in time, I would have to wait a couple of hours to get my bed. Mike, one of the hosts from the hostel recommended that I rush for the free walking tour which would start in the next 20 minutes from the St Stephens Square.
Quickly I decided to not waste time and to thus go for the tour as Mike had suggested.
RUN, RUN, RUN.
That’s what I literally did all the way in the fear that I might miss the tour. In spite of losing my way twice, I made it just in time. The tour was just splitting into the English and Spanish and I requested t be adjusted in the English group as well. Which thankfully they did. Yipee.
There were around 15 people in my group and all of them seemed to be very friendly. Our young tour guide was very enthusiastic and chirpy and gave us a lot of insights of the city. We went to the Queens Park, walked through the busy lanes towards the chain bridge, heard the story of the lions guarding the bridge, saw the spas, went up to the Royal Palace, saw the panoramic view of the city, Matthias church etc.
The whole tour was a tiring one which included climbing hills and crossing bridges and thus took almost 3 hours to wrap up. Pheww. By now I was literally exhausted to the core and all I wanted as to get back to the hostel, take a bath and then take a much needed nap.
This is exactly what I did. I stopped on the way for some food and then rushed back to the hostel.
By now my bed was ready and within 30 minutes of my arrival in the hostel, I was packed comfortably in my bed dozing away.
The hostel is one of the cosiest, chilliest and homely hostels I have been to. Every evening they have a plan ready for the guests and one can never NOT know what to do. I had simply decided to join every evening plan in order to be sure I did not miss anything important.
This evening was going to be a big one, as there was the boat party planned. I had read a lot of must do’s for Budapest and this was on the top of everyone’s list. I knew I was going to have along night and which is why the 3 hour nap I had was totally a good decision.
After I woke up, I went to the common room and met up with the other hostel mates and actually got along pretty well with them.
Every evening there is an option that we can pay a meagre amount and have the dinner made by one of the hostel hosts. Today I was having too much fun chilling with my hostel friends and thus decided to join in for the cozy hostel dinner which by the way was yumm.
For pre party warming up we all played some fun games and had a blast doing exactly that. I excused myself in the middle to go and get ready for the boat party and then very soon we were all heading out for the much anticipated evening.
We stopped in one of the local pubs for few drinks and then headed to the dock where the boat was waiting for us. While we were a small bunch, we were soon joined by our sister hostels and there were close to 200 plus people who were now also waiting with us to get aboard. Woww…That’s a huge number right.
In the package I had bought, I was handed a bottle of champagne as I entered, and I was already excited on the insta story and snapchat that I was going to post once on the boats deck.
We were soon all aboard and the boat started moving while we enjoyed the music, the drinks and the company. Of course, Budapest full lit up in this amazing weather was another sight to kill for.
I can confidently say that the 2 hours I spent on the boat, were the best in terms of all the party hours I had ever spent, anywhere. What great fun.
At the end of the boat party, I had made almost 10 new friends and all of them were so much fun to be around.
After the boat party, everyone was taken to a club which was around 15 minutes away (seemed an hour when we were walking towards it) and that was going to be the last spot for tonight. Everyone was free to stay as long as they wanted (or as long as they could last). The club had almost 4-5 different rooms with different kind of music and me and my friends lasted for almost 3 hours before we finally decided to call it a night (or morning in this case).
What a great first day in Budapest this was.
I immediately dozed off as soon as I hit the bed and woke up only by noon the next day.
Budapest is a great city for food, spas and parties; whereas for architecture or sightseeing there isn’t as much when compared to the other cities that I had been to. Which is why I decided to concentrate on the three things it was actually famous for.
I decided to head to the local market for something exquisite to eat. The great local market is located on Vámház krt street which was around 30 minutes’ walk from the hostel. I had not much planned for today and thus decided to walk it up instead of taking the public transport.
Walking is one of my favourite ways of exploring a new city and if the weather is nice and sunny with a slight chill then even better. Thankfully, this was just that kind of a day and I thoroughly enjoyed my walk up to the market.
The Great Market hall of Budapest is built with two floors and like every local market has fruits and vegetables on sale on the ground floor, clothes and jewellery on the first floor and on the top floor there were few local restaurants. I first headed straight to the top floor as I was starving by now.
I had wanted to try Langos for a long time and I decided to try it here. Langos is a pizza looking flat dough bread on which you can get as many toppings added as you want. The same can be made as a desert also.
My Langos has whipped cream, cheese, bacon, mushrooms and capsicum and as soon as I dug into the first bite; I realised that this was going to be one heavy meal. I somehow managed to finish the whole thing by myself and then ordered a cup of hot chocolate because it looked so tempting on my neighbour lady’s hands.
I spent the next hour looking around the 1st floor on small mementos which I could take back home with me.
Once I had had my share of the market, I stepped out and sat in the park opposite the market just to rest my feet a little and to enjoy the fresh air. I put on my head phones and rested for almost half an hour on the bench doing absolutely nothing. Aah…the sheer pleasure of doing nothing has a charm of its own.
I then walked by the river all the way to my hostel which though was a longer route, but was definitely more scenic.
After all the intense walking it was now time for my afternoon siesta and that is exactly what I did. This was a luxury I was having in Budapest which because of the tight schedule in the other cities I was missing.
I slept for around 2 hours after which I got a call from a friend from back home who was also in Budapest. We decided to meet up for coffee and then an early dinner.
I went to her hostel which was near all the happening eating joints and we went to get some coffee at Szimpa Kert which is one of the most famous clubs of Budapest. While in the evening it turns into a loud party place, but in the mornings, afternoon or even during the early evenings one can go and enjoy some live music, good food and drinks.
So, this is where we went and enjoyed our cup of coffee and I even had a carrot cake along.
After the coffee we walked around the streets and did some shopping. For all the shopaholics out there, Budapest is actually pretty reasonable when it comes to brands and one can easily get some nice stuff at really attractive rates.
By the end of a 2 hour shopping spree, we were hungry and came across this one shop which seemed to have a long queue waiting for their order. When we enquired we found out that this shop called Bors and it was very famous for its soups and baguettes. Well nothing needed to be said further. We decided that this was exactly what we wanted for dinner and thank god for that. Both the soup (pumpkin cream soup) and the baguette (Barack Obama) were out of this world. No wonder this place was so crowded.
With the stomachs full, I said goodbye to my friend and headed back to my hostel. I had to be back in time as today the hostel plan was to go visit the ruin bars.
The concept of ruin bar started a long back when some locals wanted to go to some cheap places to drink and decided to sit in a garage and make merry. The idea thus struck to convert the garage into a local cheap pub and this is how the first ruin bar- Szimpla Kert was conceptualised. After Szimpla, many such ruin bars came up and soon enough, Budapest started being known as the city of ruin bars.
That evening we hopped to at least 4 ruin bars and I enjoyed the interiors of each of them which was so different from the other. I had a great time with my hostel mates and we came back in the wee hours of the morning after having the danced the night away.
Somewhere during the night, we had already planned the next day and had decided to go visit the thermal baths to relax our sore bodies after all the dancing.
Budapest has two main thermal baths, one is in ‘Buda’ and the other is in ‘Pest’. Yes, these are two different parts of the city and each is very different from the other. While Buda is more traditional and older, Pest is the more happening, modern and lively part of the city. The two parts are connected by the Chain Bridge.
Around noon the next day, we decided to head to the thermal bath in the Buda part of the town i.e. to Gellért. The same was newer of the two baths and was supposed to be much more maintained than the other. Plus in the evening today, there was the legendary ‘sparty’ and that was going to happen in the other bath which was called Szechenyi Spa Baths. More about the sparty later but for now back to Gellért baths.
We were 6 of us from the hostel who left together and took a bus till the chain bridge. After crossing the bridge, we walked up the Gellért hill and found ourselves entering the bath area. We had purchased our tickets from the hostel itself and thus were given a tag on our wrists from which we could access the bath lockers.
We headed to change and then headed straight first to the indoor thermal bath. In the indoor bath also, there were two pools with different temperatures. Since we were freezing now in our costumes, we first got into the higher temperature bath but after sometime that got unbearably hot and so we skipped to the other bath pool.
While talking to some people we realised that there was a wave pool outside next to the outdoor thermal bath but unfortunately that was not a thermal bath and hence the water was going to be cold.
Now that we were mentally prepared, we headed to the wave pool closer to the end of an hour as the waves would start as soon as a new hour started.
Brrrrr…..it was cold at the first contact, but very soon the waves started and we started bouncing around and having fun and soon forgot about the cold.
The waves lasted for about 5 minutes after which we headed to the sauna to get hot and sweaty again.
This was turning out to be so much fun and so relaxing that I don’t know how 4 hours just flew by. By now I was starving and so me and one of my hostel friend decided to leave the bath and go to the city looking for food.
Plus I had told her about Bors and she was really keen to try their baguette as well. So we went to the same area where we shared one baguette and then went to a place called Karavan where there are multiple food trucks which mainly serve burgers with a twist, Pastas, French fries etc. I bought a yum juicy chicken burger and a flavoured beer which for a change I actually enjoyed considering I am not a beer person.
After a lovely meal, we headed back to the hostel where I made myself a cup of green tea and just relaxed on the super comfy couch.
Tonight, was going to be my last night in Europe and I wanted to take a moment to take it all in. I certainly had the best time of my life these last few days and I considered myself to be very lucky to have had this experience.
But for now, it was going to be about living the last evening to the fullest. It was now time for the SPARTYYYY…
So ‘sparty’ is basically spa plus party which means that the silent, calm thermal spas get converted into a wild, crazy party place where the best DJ’s play the best music for people to just go crazy.
Me and my hostel friends together first headed to one of the sister hostels which was going to be the meeting point for all the people attending from nearby hostels.
Then a number of guides from these hostels would walk us all the way till the sparty destinaation i.e. to the thermal spas.
There was the usual pre-drinking and socialising which happened in the hostel and in an hour and a half we heard our hostelleads shout out for us to gather up as we were about to leave and head to the sparty destination. Yahoo…
Just when we were about to leave, we noticed that one of our gal friends from the hostel gang was missing. She had left around 20 minutes back for the neighbourhood grocery store to pick up some fruits to eat(I know…fruits before sparty..what was she thinking???), and had said she would be back soon and that we should wait up for her.
Well, we did just that. We stayed back waiting for her in the hostel while the other gang of people all left. We told our hostel lead that we would catch up and that he should carry on with the group.
5 mins…10 mins…15 mins and still our friend was no where in sight. Just when we were about to gve up and head out, she came hopping back with a sorry face. Apparently she had bumped into some friends from another city that she had travelled to and had lost count of the time.
What mattered was that we were now all together and all we had to do was somehow find our way to the thermal spas. Off we went into the streets of Budapest, halting regularly to follow the google maps and finally after a struggle of around 45 minutes, found ourselves infront of the Széchenyi thermal spas.
Wowsie..The number of people who were there at the venue to enjoy seeing the hstoric thermal spas turn into a legendary party spot on a Saturday night were huge, and we just got excited even more with the thought of what awaited us.
I recommend that you buy your tickets online or from your hostel in order to avoid any last minute confusion or chaos.
Your ticket includes a locker and a towel and additionally if you want to order food or drinks at the pool bar, then a wrist band is to be bought with pre loaded cash in it. This is actually very wise as who wants to bothered about looking after cash when all one really cares about at that time is to have a great pool party and get drenched completely.
We quickly changed, took a shower and headed to the main pool area where we heard the DJ playing crazy tunes and making sure that everyone present was having a blast. In fact the pool also had security personnel(in their swimming trunks) deployed all across to ensure that no fights, harrassment or for that matter ‘coitus’ happens while people are in the pool. Efficient huh..:)
We must have spent close to two hours having a kick-ass time and of course by far the best party of the whole trip. I couldnt have asked for a more superb ending to my amazing two weeks in Europe.
Tomorrow I had a flight to catch back home and the thought of saying goodbye to this wonderful vacation was heart crushing.
Nevertheless, I am glad I did it and experienced this amazing moments. I know this is definitely not the end of Europe for me and I had already planned my next holiday before this one had ended.
Next destination for my next vacation was definitely going to be Greece as I ahd heard great things from people I had met during the last two weeks.
For now, this is all I have to share about my Eurotrip. Stay tuned for more updates and experiences.