Monday, June 25, 2018

Budapest, You Da Best

We spent the final day of our whirlwind Europe trip (which included Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Austria) in Budapest, Hungary. Despite spending pretty much the whole trip in cities near the Danube River, we also actually made it to the river for the first time in Budapest.

One of the first things we were told is that it should be pronounced "Bud-a-PESHT" - not "Bud-a-PEST" - while on our tour. Up until this point, the only Americans I've ever heard pronounce it "-PESHT" are Foreign Service members, and I always thought it sounded kind of snobby. For example, I don't say "France" like "FRONS" in English, even though that's closer to the French pronunciation. But now I know at least one Hungarian who prefers the "-PESHT", so for the rest of our trip that's what we said.

We may have bitten off more than we can chew on this vacation, as we were exhausted by the time we made it to Hungary. The photo above is about as far as we got on our three-hour walking tour before we decided to call it quits and just head back to our room early. Thankfully, we had a very cute apartment to stay in (the most Airbnb-style place we've ever stayed that wasn't an Airbnb). Our host even provided us cookies!

We did see enough of the city to find this oh-so-trendy and Instagrammable #helloHUNGARY sign... behind some not-so-Instagrammable trees. (Why?)

We also treated ourselves to some more crazy delicious food, like this decadent dessert that included walnut ice cream, an entire slice of cake, and the toppings pictured all in one:

By far, though, the most memorable part of our short time in Budapest was the bathhouse (we chose Széchenyi Baths). We spent hours trying all the different pools and saunas with varying temperatures and other features. Since it was a Saturday night, we saw them setting up for a "Sparty" (spa party) after-hours where expensive tickets got you admission to the bathhouse transformed into a club complete with bars, music, and (judging by the pre-gaming crowd outside) shenanigans. That may not be our scene, but it's a cool concept.

So Budapest was beautifully, historically, and culturally rich, but we honestly didn't get a well-rounded experience because of how worn out we were from our travels at this point. Thankfully, it also turned out to be a delightful place to relax. We would definitely visit again!

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