Insights: news and views from the International Center

International Center

University of Missouri

I’m not starving… I’m Hungary!

Filed in Blog, Hungary, Netherlands by on April 25, 2013

Pun intended. During our stay in Budapest last weekend, we used Hungary to it’s full, punny potential. Contrary to popular belief, Budapest is actually two different cities (Buda and Pest) separated by the Danube River, and connected by the famous Chain Bridge. Our hostel was in the most central location in Pest, behind the Basilica and right next to the intersection of all three Metra lines. Surprisingly, with the amazing location our hostel still came out to be about 7 euro a night. Even the flight was cheap, with tickets for less than 35 euro round trip (half what I pay for Megabus to take me one-way from Mizzou to Chicago).

We arrived fairly late on Friday, so we went out to dinner and called it a day, especially because we had only returned from Italy about three days before. Their currency is the Hungarian forint, which is about 290 forints to 1 euro. You could only imagine how complicated splitting a 17,000 forint check was. Saturday we woke up early, knowing we had a jam packed day.  We began at St. Stephen’s Basilica. It was awesome to be staying so close to some of main attractions of the city, making it really easy to get around.

Budapest

Next on the agenda was Castle Hill, across the Danube River in Pest. When we arrived at the bottom of the hill we had the option of either walking or taking a tram; of course, we took the tram. At the top, you can see the Royal Palace, a collection of ruins and a beautiful view of Buda and the Danube.

Budapest

Budapest

Budapest

The Royal Palace

Hungary was under communist rule up until 22 years ago, which is something you can pick up on from just roaming around the city. Although the city of Budapest has mostly recovered, elements such as the dull square buildings or graffitied trains are a constant reminder of the city’s history. Seeing the beauty in the city and how much tourism has grown shows how far they have come in the past 22 years.

The Parliament building was next on the list. Unfortunately, there was construction going on at the time, which took some focus away from the building. However, its intricate detailing and coloring makes it a sight to see.

Budapest

We took the train to Heroes’ Square after, something that had been highly recommended to me. It had an awesome monument within the huge square, filled with people (mostly tourists trying to get the best shot).

Budapest

After seeing Heroes’ Square we had plenty of time to hang out in the Turkish baths. There were 15 different baths, all of different temperatures.  They were surrounded by extravagant architecture and fountains, complete with whirlpools. The water comes from a hot spring and is rich in minerals. On the plus side, you didn’t smell like chlorine after, but I wonder if the smell of chlorine is a small price to pay for the guarantee that you’re swimming in water that you know is sanitary.

Budapest

Budapest

Even more interesting was seeing how the Turkish baths transformed at night. You would never guess from the look of the baths during the daytime that they become one of the biggest parties in Budapest.

Budapest

I had a blast in Budapest. It was really interesting to see a country in Eastern Europe. The Turkish baths were a really unique experience and their buildings were unlike any I had seen yet! However, after traveling for five consecutive weekends, I’m ready to spend a few in Maastricht. One thing traveling has taught me is to appreciate living in the small town of Maastricht. Out of all the countries I’ve visited, the Netherlands still wins the award for having the best English and the friendliest people. It feels good to be back!

Comments are closed.