Budapest’s “Win Back” Campaign

OK, truth time: We were really not feeling Budapest at first.  We’ve learned that during long-term travel it’s important to have a few places where we spend extended periods of time.  This helps us re-establish routines for exercise, cooking at home, etc.  During our Asia trip, we rented apartments and spent a month each in Bangkok and Hong Kong.  Here, we’ve taken longer stays in Paris and Berlin, and we also decided that Budapest would be a good place to slow down, so we booked two weeks there.

However, when we arrived in Budapest we were disappointed.  The heat wave still hadn’t broken so it was too hot to explore for most of the day.  All the food we had was heavy and really not good.  And, this was the first time our research had led us astray in terms of location.  The neighborhood we chose, Terézváros, was full of touristy restaurants and bars, and just seemed like a place people went to party.  Somewhere along the way, we realize, we got old.  Also, we’d travel to a destination only to find this sort of thing happen…constantly:

not open sundays

Fortunately, Budapest started what Ian called its “win back” campaign about 5 days into our stay, and we started to change our minds about the city, so much so that by the time we had to leave we had grown really fond of it.

Here are ten things that helped win us over:

  1. Getting out of our neighborhood.  Next time, we’d stay in Buda, or maybe in the Inner City.  Every time we left our neighborhood (which was, on the plus side, extremely well-connected by transit) we discovered something awesome.
  2. The stunning architecture, as mentioned in the previous post.
  3. When Ian ordered a Campari soda at Fülemüle Étterem and got this whole set-up:
    campari soda
  4. The heat wave broke (!!!) and we got caught in a torrential downpour:
  5. Matzo ball soup:
  6. Awesome markets like this one in Buda.  I actually found chard and other leafy greens here!
  7. Exploring the famous sights at night when no one else was around:
    Buda castle at night
  8. We found outstanding coffee at Madal Café:
    Madal coffee
  9. For me, running around Margaret Island was a highlight.  The views looked like this:
    Margaret Island views
  10. These marzipan My Little Ponies: