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Author Topic: City break in Budapest  (Read 473 times)

milla

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City break in Budapest
« on: April 25, 2017, 03:12:26 AM »
Lately I have been trying to (gently) push my DH out of his comfort zone. He likes going abroad but prefers to go back to the same places. He cannot do long flights, 4 hours is the limit. This time I persuaded him to go on 3 night city break to Budapest. ‘Why Budapest?’ you may ask. Since the end  of the soviet dominance in Eastern Europe, certain cities have emerged from the ashes as the beautiful cultured places that they once were, and there is a good ‘vibe’ in many of them. When they were first re-discovered they were also very good value for money and even now they are not too expensive.
So we went to Budapest on Tues. 18th April. The weather forecast was not brilliant, but we were determined to make the most of it. Arrived at the hotel mid-afternoon. Very pleasant, friendly reception; our studio room was fine, clean and comfortable, with a small, well-equipped kitchen. I was pleased to find L’Occitane toiletries in the bathroom! After a meal in a nearby bistro we decided to go and see the city lights by night, as it was not raining yet and we had purchased 3 day travel passes. The centre was just a few minutes away and the metro station was round the corner. First impressions: a beautiful, vibrant city, interesting architecture, nice bridges. By then we were looking forward to exploring the city on foot and by public transport. We knew it was going to rain; but nothing prepared us for the sight that met our eyes the following morning. It was snowing. Big fat swirling wet snow flakes that eventually gave way to persistent rain. We still went out but it was not a very successful outing as it was also quite windy. We went to St Stephen’s basilica and listened to an informal music recital, thought about going over the Chain bridge but gave up and went back to the hotel, via a shopping centre, where we bought some cheese cold meats, bread, wine and fruit. After lunch we just read and made plans for the following day, which was supposed to be a bit better, weather-wise. It was slightly better but not much. We saw some covered markets, did a bit of shopping and went to a museum. On Friday morning it was sunny and lovely, so we went to the Jewish quarter and the great Synagogue. Our flight was at 5pm so we just about had time to have a meal in an Italian restaurant before going to the airport. We still want to go back to Budapest, but we will probably go in June or September.
Just a couple of pictures of the many we took in Budapest. One is just a view across the Danube, the other is the dome of St. Stephen's Basilica.

Styyna

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2017, 11:53:02 AM »
Milla, I think you should have a travel blog! You make every place that you visit sound so attractive. I had never given thought to visiting Budapest but now I feel like it's a must-see destination. And that's in spite of your less than optimal weather while you were there.

On the other hand, I empathize with your DH. I'm not keen on flying at all, much less long flights. However, if I want to travel I'm going to have to overcome that dislike. My DH is helpful along those lines; he was a small aircraft pilot for many years and is a very confident flyer.

So, what's your next destination and when? Do you have plans yet?
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milla

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2017, 02:19:35 AM »
We haven't got any plans yet. We are having the hall and stairs re-decorating, to make good the damage caused by a leaking pipe (this is the trouble with old houses!) and my son and daughter-in-law are house-hunting at the moment, so they need me to baby-sit. She is going back to work in August and I will be looking after the children two days a week. Her mother is looking after them 1 day a week; they will go to nursery (kindergarten) two days a week. Childcare is really expensive in London. They are going to pay just over £1000 a month for both children to attend nursery two days a week. So any travelling plans will have to wait.
When you think about travelling in Europe, everybody immediately thinks: 'Ah! Paris! London!', but there are lots of hidden gems to be discovered.
I would like to go back to Italy where I have not been for over 30 years!

cara4art

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2017, 09:24:21 AM »
Although the weather left something to be desired on your trip, Budapest sounds great, actually. My East Coast aunt went to Budapest some years back and enjoyed it. I do know that Eastern Europe does have some wonderful places. Unlikely that I'll get there from the west coast of the US - haven't been out of country since '99 and that was to Mexico, by land. Like your husband, I'm not awfully keen on long flights. Flying used to be my favorite means of travel but it has changed a LOT since 9-11, and the overcrowding of people in economy class with smaller seats is not something I'm too keen on either, especially with flu bugs, screaming babies, or obnoxious people. Also, these days, I'm feeling pulled to revisiting some places here. Loving road trips when we can take time away.:)

milla

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2017, 11:24:30 AM »
Talking about economy class, I am really annoyed with British Airways. They have cut corners and now their economy class is more like a budget airline. They don’t offer any meals on short flights, you have to buy it, they often run out of food and it is not particularly nice. Next time I fly I will get something in the airport lounge just before boarding. Last time we flew to Spain we were able to upgrade to business class for about £25 each! Not sure why they offered it but it was there, when we checked in on line, and we took advantage of it. It was worth it, but I would not pay the going rate for business class for a 2 and half hour flight.
As for the crying children, I think I am more patient and tolerant now that I am a grandmother!
 I don’t like the hassle of flying, but I am prepared to put up with it just to go places. I love travelling by train. I still dream of going on a long train journey…I would like to go on the Trans-Siberian train or the bullet train in Japan! Before going to Budapest I tried to learn a few words of Hungarian; it was worth it.  Just being able to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ makes a difference: people smile at you! Having said that, most people spoke English in shops and restaurants. I am still glad I made the effort as DH was really impressed! :wink:

cara4art

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2017, 09:40:07 AM »
@milla: Sounds kind of like the airlines here on this side of the pond, unless, like you, they grant an upgrade. I haven't flown since '09, when we went to Hawaii. So yes, just buckling up and flying when one DOES have to get somewhere where one has to fly. Bringing something allowable along or picking something up at the airport once one has cleared security is much better.:)

Styyna

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2017, 07:15:16 AM »
I don’t like the hassle of flying, but I am prepared to put up with it just to go places.

This is the mindset I'm trying to hold onto. I remember when flying was a great experience. Flights weren't so overbooked, seats in coach class had more room, food and beverage services were points of competition between airlines, and there was no security in the terminals. Now one has to be wealthy to fly in anything approaching that kind of comfort so that business or first class is possible. I looked at flights to Norway and business class was twice as expensive as coach! I'd rather spend my dollars on seeing new places than on getting there.

On the other hand, I was able to upgrade to first class on my flights to and from Florida some years ago (at $99 each way) and I must say that the experience was well worth the extra dollars spent. The flight attendants were more attentive and helpful, the food was good, and the comfortable seats alone were worth the upgrade. I could move my feet and legs about without bumping my neighbors - something that I can't do in coach and claustrophobia results.

Still, with a good anti-anxiety medication I can fly coach and that's how we'll travel once we are able to do so (we have an old dog that ties us to home right now).
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To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness. - Mary Stuart

milla

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2017, 01:07:12 PM »
I am definitely not going to bother with airline food again. The best thing about first class is the extra leg  room, but I cannot justify paying an astronomic amount of money for extra room on a 2 hour something flight to Spain. When our flight is very early in the morning we book into a hotel at the airport. We have stayed at the Sofitel and the Hilton because they do special deals, but the Premier Inn is pretty good. No frills, but the beds are very comfortable. To me, this makes more sense than paying for first class on a short flight. I also prepare a small bag with a few essentials, e g an Avene water spray to keep my skin hydrated and a nice lip balm. I have a neck pillow, which is very comfortable and a lovely pashmina scarf, in case it gets cold. Wake me up when we get there!

Styyna

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2017, 02:20:05 PM »
Wake me up when we get there!

I'm envious of people who can sleep on flights! I cannot sleep except sprawled out in a bed, certainly not sitting upright. That aside, your preparations for flying sound like good advice. I'll keep them in mind. :)
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To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness. - Mary Stuart

milla

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2017, 03:04:21 AM »
You know, I can sleep anywhere, anytime...except at night in my bed. Isn't it infuriating? :lol:
Our next short break will be in Lisbon, in June. We are going there to see my family and also to unwind by the sea! In June the weather is usually good and it is not as hectic as in July/August. I will have to give you a little 'taste' of the city, which is beautiful. The only con, in my opinion, is its popularity. I preferred it when it was not a tourist destination, but it is still possible to have a good time, relax, visit interesting places, eat fabulously fresh fish, drink excellent wine  and look at some great little shops (although bargains are few and far between these days).

Styyna

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2017, 06:56:03 AM »
I can't wait to hear (and see maybe?) about Lisbon! Have a wonderful time!
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To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness. - Mary Stuart

milla

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2017, 03:44:53 AM »
Lisbon is another city that is enjoying a surge of popularity at the moment. I would not say benefiting because the benefits of tourism can be a bit dubious…like in the Janis Joplin song: ‘you pay Paradise…’ Hope it won’t be the case there, because it is a very old and charming city, steeped in history and legend. If you want to find out a bit more about it, there is a very good blog on Portugal and it is written in English:
https://saltofportugal.com/category/lodging/lisbon/
I have got a list of cities that I want to visit. The first one is Rome. I have been to Venice and Florence many years ago; I loved them but I wouldn’t want to go back for a number of reasons. I would love to go to Istambul, but I don’t see us going there soon. I am not a nervous person but I don’t like putting myself at risk, if you know what I mean. Amsterdam is considered a must for people who visit Europe and they have some great museums, but for the general ambience, e.g. canals, cathedrals, quirky places, I prefer Belgium (Flanders); but don’t take my word for it, after all I have got a Belgian grandson! Other places that don’t spring instantly to mind, but I find intriguing, are Naples and Marseille; and we are definitely going to Dublin sometime next year!
Once thing that I absolutely love is reading a book that is set in a particular city before I go there, or just after I have been. This time I am going to order Magda Szabó’s ‘The Door’, which is set in Budapest. It is better than getting a fridge magnet!

Styyna

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2017, 03:59:26 PM »
You know so much and have been to so many places! I think it must be very interesting living so close to so many different countries, each with its own culture and language. I am reminded that the US is a huge country with many places to visit, too. I've only lived in the Midwest, the South, and for a short time in San Francisco on the west coast. I've not visited places like the Grand Canyon or even the oldest cities and towns of the east coast.

But I think that, as soon as we are able, we need to visit Europe first. We aren't getting younger and foreign travel is more strenuous I think. So I greatly appreciate your travel insight and will be reading about Portugal next!
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To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness. - Mary Stuart

milla

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2017, 11:22:56 AM »
I have not been to many places, and now I think there are places that I will never see, because I am a bit scared of going there, for example Egypt and Ethiopia (I would love to see the old Coptic churches!). Living in Europe, it is relatively easy to travel around if you have the time and money. There are some amazing cities in Europe; I was going to say that it is probably all we’ve got left, but it is not quite like that… I loved going to the States. Waking up in New York was amazing, DH and I were like two kids, really excited. What I really loved about the US, though, were the open spaces.  When you live in such a vast country, with a huge variety of landscapes, you don’t feel like going anywhere else. Still, it is a great experience to see the ‘old world’, you can make more sense of your past and heritage. I am a bit jealous of my daughter, because she travelled widely in the Far East. She has also been to Africa and I have never been there.

BeautyBarbara

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Re: City break in Budapest
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2017, 11:57:36 AM »
This reminds me of my good Hungarian couple who were our friends.  Now both passed.  They traveled to Budapest every summer from the states .  Always brought me back a beautiful embroidered blouse.
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