Loving. This is how happy I was the entire time I was there. Seriously.

Let me make this very clear. When I arrived in Budapest I learned that not only did I know negative 3% about the city itself, but I knew negative 100% how to properly pronounce the name. If you can do it without sounding like a pretentious non-Hungarian, by all means begin NOW. The correct pronunciation is “BudapesHt”; don’t ask me why, that I can’t tell you. The only thing I can tell you is I felt unbelievably awkward attempting to straighten out my mispronunciation on more than one occasion. Probably a personal issue. Moving on:

ManDate

Let’s talk about the Baths. I’m almost 100% positive I was at the wrong one. When I arrived at the Szechenyi Thermal Baths I realized the price was a bit too much for me to swallow; nonetheless I still wanted the opportunity to take a look and snap a few pictures (annnnd maybe meet a future husband — see above). Knowing that the Szechenyi Thermal Baths are the oldest in Budapest I was expecting something more natural… something along the lines of hot springs in Colorado or a place of leisure in “Fern Gully” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104254/). Unfortunately for me, not only was Szechenyi completely redesigned in 1999 with water filters (WHAT?!), but “Fern Gully” was a cartoon. And cartoons aren’t real.

The young lady at the door was kind enough to let me in for free with a 10 minute look-around limit, although I’m pretty sure she could not have cared less and knew that once I got inside to take a peek I’d be less than desperate to stay and take a dip with my new found Bath-friends, risking my 10-18 Euro. To speak candidly about the subject I will only say this:

Win/Win

As so thoughtfully illustrated in this photo, a wide variety of characters are in attendance at the Baths; probably the best thing about them. Aside from that I would save your money and spend it on 2-7 bottles of cheap wine at Kaisers (http://kaisers.de), or bring a flask because the beer is expensive, and who wants to sit in a vat of mystery water in the hot sun with a whole plethora of strangers speaking another language without a nice drink?

Roof Hikers “Roof Hikers”

Aside from this, I began my stay in Budapest by getting asked by my couch surfer host, with whom I had arranged to stay, if I could stay at his friends place. Down the street. His friend, then a few nights later, had a second couch surfer and decided he could only have one. Thankfully, the lovely girlfriend of my original host was kind enough to take me in and show me around. There is a lesson to be learned from this antecdote: If you find yourself in a similar situation, or even getting kicked out of your housing arrangement at 3AM because your host wants to entertain a lady friend, DON’T FREAK OUT! People are nice in Budapest, particularly, and it was a piece of cake meeting good, trustworthy folks on both couch surfers and through new aquantainces. Travelling in a “day to day” can often lead to time spent without any specific plans. We can talk about this in greater detail, later. Budapest is a great city for this type of travel: walk up a hill and look over the city, or attempt to sneak and crawl around in the hidden caves beneath the

St Gerhard Statue: St Gerhard Statue

The other great thing about Budapest is that it’s a completely bike friendly atmosphere, so if possible, borrow one from your host or, if funds so allow, rent one from day to day. Not only is it completely worth it but trust me, the city is so beautiful that you will wonder why you would want to travel under ground. Budapest is currently expanding on either side of the River Danube; this expansion includes something that, although I did not get to experience, I want to hear about. I REALLY MEAN THAT. Here goes: Amphibious Bus Tours. Okay, so you’re “la la la” touring the city in a bus and WHAM out of no where: into the water you go! These buses are only available in approximately five cities around the world so please, for my sake and yours, pay the 28 Euro for a super touristy and interesting ride through the town and the river without even standing up. Here: http://www.budapestinfo.hu

 

Come Sail Away, Hungarian Dreamers.

You see, I’m beginning to believe that I love this city so much that, although this post is getting a bit long (as so to avoid information overload), Travelettes could use a second post to introduce Hungarian food, shopping, nightlife, and entertainment. What do you say, readers?