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Budapest in 2 days....

This is a big thank you and a few thoughts on what was an almost indecently short amount of time in Budapest. Just saying now that I was entranced and will be back.

In order to make it financially feasible for them to go, I organized a trip for 14 people that started in Vienna as part of a music festival. Following that, we had 2 nights in Budapest, meaning about a day and a half. It was that long or nothing, so we did what we could. It was a first time for everyone and several said they would be back for more.

We arrived by train at Keleti. I had saved all the wonderful advice I came across in the Hungary forum and had thought we would just call City Taxi and make the trip to the K+K Opera Hotel easy for some of the less mobile travelers. For some reason, the call didn’t go through (not using my phone or plan, so I don’t know), so we followed excellent directions to the metro instead.

Interesting note: we got off the train on the side of the station, which looked abandoned & boarded up. It wasn’t till our return that everyone saw the other facets of the lovely building. It made quite a contrast and provided a laugh at ourselves about first impressions.

The metro information office was wonderful - had free WiFi available as well. I took a number for English help, waited for a few minutes, bought our 24 hr passes, and used James’ step by step instructions to get to the K+K = flawless. :)

I loved the Budapest metro. I am directionally challenged but it makes sense to me. Stops and directions were clearly indicated and seeable and nothing felt like a maze, which is sometimes the case underground. We took care to stay legal with passes and tickets and had to show them intermittently - usually at busier stops.

After check in, we hopped Line 1 and went all the way to Hero’s Square. The square and the park beyond were a memorable and relaxing way to spend a couple of hours. Everyone wandered in different directions or sat by the water after seeing the statues. It was interesting, relaxing, and beautiful - a good start.

We then took Line 1 back 2 stops and walked about 5 minutes over to Kiraly100 Gastropub, where we had a reservation. It was a great choice for us. They were ready, were patient and efficient (groups are not easy), and the food was really good. No one was less than happy ( and that’s saying something). The decor was a bit dim (in a good way), lots of wood, interesting installations hanging from the ceiling, wine was good, and it was comfortable. After eating, we decided to put 3 of our less mobile in a taxi. I had read the warnings about un-regulated taxis; but the one we stopped right outside the restaurant agreed a price of €5 for three, which was definitely worth it to them. The rest of us walked 15-20 min back. James is not joking about the pull and elegance of Andrássy Út, even at 10pm.

The next morning we had a 4 hour guided tour scheduled. Our original guide came down with a stomach bug the previous night but found us a replacement. She used our transportation passes to good advantage (used the metro and busses to create less walking) and showed us the Buda Castle area: the castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, St Matthias Church, and back down. The views were beautiful.

In the afternoon, I ran over to Keleti to print our train tickets for the following morning (makes me feel far better to be prepared ahead with a group!) and others had a leisurely outdoor lunch or headed to the Liszt Museum or just wandered. The MAV website was harder for me to navigate, so I had worried about the ticket machines but with the codes, it was simple. And there was always someone around to ask. I had 3 codes, having purchased tickets in 3 batches, and a nice employee checked with me to see if I needed help, as I was making sure I had finished. It was interesting that I had only 3 tickets, since there was one ticket for each set I purchased (2 for 5 people/each and one for 4 people). (Cont)

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1934 posts

In the evening we had a dinner cruise with Legenda. I am sure all companies would have been fine but Legenda seemed to have slightly better reviews. It again was a simple Line 1 ride to the last stop and a 5-7 min walk to the river. Dock 7 was easy to find and well marked. The food was fine and the views were gorgeous. It really was something special and everyone loved it.

The next morning the hotel arranged for 2 very comfortable 7 passenger vehicles to pick us up and head back to Keleti, where we caught our Railjet train. The rate was €18 per vehicle, which we rounded to €20. Felt very fair for a large vehicle comfortable for 7 and luggage.

I can’t say enough about the K+K Opera. The staff were phenomenally accommodating. They made check in and check out for the group easy, and even found a space for the singers to rehearse a bit for a later performance. That went above and beyond. The breakfast was easy, plentiful, with lots of seating space (not the case everywhere). And they have air conditioning for Americans from Texas who are used to having it. :) As James says, it’s a great place for first-time American visitors to land. I found an OTP bank only a few blocks away - but our stay was so short and many things already paid, so I was the only person to utilize it.

There are many more things on my list to experience that will wait for a later, longer visit. I see why people return over and over. Thanks for all the help - whether you knew you were helping or not!

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961 posts

Wow - you did a lot in 1.5 days, especially with a large group! Your report makes me feel more comfortable planning a trip to Budapest in our future. Thanks for sharing with us.

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13725 posts

The part that warms my heart the most is how good the people were to you. That's the experience I want everyone to have. Thank you for the post.