Wednesday, July 27, 2011

{Travel} Budapest my Budapest

2 cities in one
Hero's Square

A merge of two cities into one, Buda and Pest, Budapest combines the best of both worlds. The Buda side is lush with rolling green hills, hot springs and laid back attitudes. The Pest side is a metropolis of thriving culture, underground nightlife and controlled chaos. Yin and yang, this weirdly wonderful Eastern European city was one of my favorites (for more of my Easter Europe Trip go here, here and here). Not quite as edgy as Prague, yet not as prime and proper as Vienna, Budapest is a city with a flair all it's own that flys under the radar of most tourists. The people are friendly, the nightlife is crazy and the langosch is deadly delicious. What is langosch you ask? It is the quintessential late night snack after one too many drinks consumed, i.e. pure Hungarian genius. After two 6am runs back to back, this lil fried dough snack topped with sour cream, cheese and salt was my saving grace.
Art on Lake floating exhibit in City Park Lake
Outside Szechenyi Spa

J's new friend

Budapest was wrought with new friends, fun filled adventures and several late nights. We stayed in one of the sketchiest hostels of the entire trip that turned out to be the friendliest (isn't that how it always works though?). Got invited out to a friend of the hostel owner's gig and went dancing with reckless abandon. We drank pitchers of mojitos in cute cafes and drank Hungarian beer in a tent while a big burly man played the flute. We soaked up the warmth from the thermal baths and met up with a close friend of a friend (who became our new best friend) and who brought us to an off the radar music festival that lasted all day and all night. 
Entrance of hostel. It may not look pretty but it was ours and we loved it

Letting it all soak in at the thermal baths

New bff. A charmer and a musician this one

What not to do in a Hungarian bathroom

I know this is the worst photo ever, but the scene here is too good not share. Imagine please a really shitty band comprised of men dressed as cartoon Street Fighters,a WWF wrestler, a rabbit and a giant inflatable penis. Add to that the odd midget, chicken costume and S&M latex clad backup singer and you know have an idea of what was going on. Enjoy the mental image

Bringing sexy back one jumpsuit at a time

One of the top highlights from Budapest though was the caving tour we went onUnderneath the residential districts of Buda, lies a multi-level labyrinth cave system that stretches out over 100 km in length. The cave we explored was located in the Duna-lpoly National Park and roughly 20km long. Upon arrival 2 buses and almost an hour later, we were given a overall suit and helmet with light, and with guide in tow taken to a hidden steel door that led down into the depths of the earth. Like being in the movie Goonies, we climbed, clamored, squeezed and slid down rocks moving from chamber to chamber. There were times when the spaces we had to wiggle through that were no wider than my hips and no taller than your helmet.
You can't tell but we're all smiling
I didn't get stuck - Score!
Cave dwelling and the living is easy
The experience was beyond incredible and I can not recommend it enough. It's not for the claustrophobic - as it is definitely dark and cramped but I can guarantee it will be one of the coolest things you do. Want more info to plan your own Goonie adventure? Go here
Group photo!

In the end, I admit I didn't want to leave. And not because I had a 20+ hour train ride ahead of me. No, Budapest snuck in and stole a piece of my heart. I realize it had more to do with the experiences while there - the new friends, the wild nights, the adventures - rather than perhaps the city itself. But really in the end, isn't that what travel is all about? A city is a city, filled with pretty buildings and cute cafes anywhere in the world you go. It's those unexpected twists, the embrace of chance encounters and getting swept up in the moment that make a place truly special.

queens of pout
Sunrise spotted on rooftop bar

{photos 1, 7-12 via the lovely J}

1 comment:

  1. great photos! I haven't seen t-bizznizz in a year... still a barbarian!


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