Our trip to Europe was fabulous—better than expected. You wonderful posters with your suggestions & guidance played a part in that. Thanks!
We packed only carryon bags & strolled past all the rubes in the looooong Canada Day weekend lineups at the airport. Yes! We miraculously made our ridiculous, 1-hour connection in Frankfurt & arrived mid-afternoon in Budapest. Upon advice from James, we took Fotaxi from the airport to our apartment, after dodging a gaggle of other, very persistent, taxi drivers.
I was a bit unsure about Budapest at first. All the graffiti, litter, & derelict buildings would be signs of a very sketchy neighbourhood back home, but that just seems to be the nature of Pest. Everywhere, people are working at construction, repairs, & restoration. All those years of war, revolution, & the communist regime have taken their toll, & it hasn't been long since the city has been able to start to recover. Anyway, after a short time, I got used to it, & there was so much to see there! Budapest is clearly a city that loves the arts. It's also clear that there is a great deal of national pride, & no wonder.
We stayed at The Pond, & it was well-equipped & comfortable. We appreciated the air conditioning, the washer/spin dryer, and the induction element (which we liked so much, we bought an induction stove when we got home).
After getting settled, we went out to explore & find food. The apartment was near the Opera, & there were many places to eat nearby. We didn’t know how tired we’d be after our overnight flight, though, so we wanted to keep it simple & quick. We stopped in an unassuming looking place called “Ize Faloda” on Broadway. It looked like a cafeteria, & we weren’t expecting much. We were pleasantly surprised. The food was great; it was one of our best meals in Budapest (which had good food, generally). I had Goulash, & DH had Mustard Pork, which was particularly tasty & tender.
After dinner, we strolled down Andrassy toward the Danube, oohing & aahing over the architecture & taking photos every few steps. We looked at the Chain Bridge & got our bearings, walked back up a pedestrian street that led to St. Stephen’s, headed back to our neighbourhood, found the grocery store, picked up some supplies, & went home & sank into bed.
We awoke early the next morning, because of jet lag, & took advantage of it to head to the castle. We walked across the Chain Bridge to the funicular & were the only patrons there, so we got to ride in front. We spent the next couple of hours wandering around the castle, taking photos, admiring the views, & feeling generally wonderstruck & pleased with ourselves. After an early lunch nearby, we headed over to the Matthias Church & the Fisherman’s Bastion. Wow. Again, we were overwhelmed by the beauty & detail of the architecture. We then poked around the Koller Gallery, which is in a charming house and has a lovely sculpture garden. After a bit more wandering, we took the pedestrian walkway around the back of castle hill, admiring the gorgeous residences there. We came across a patio bar along the wall, overlooking the Buda hills, & stopped for an apple lemonade slushie (me) & a wine (DH). Delicious & refreshing! We then took a bus back to the Pest side & hopped onto the oldest metro line in Europe, riding to the Opera station, near our apartment.