We left Bratislava feeling more comfortable than when we arrived, relieved that we wouldn’t be spending the long train ride with an agonizing hangover. The journey itself was largely uneventful and we pulled into Budapest late afternoon.
After a short walk through the outskirts of Pest and a slight confusion with the keys we found ourselves being shown into our room, which turned out to be more like an apartment, by Pal of Pal’s Hostel. We found ourselves with a large living area, kitchen, bathroom with a bath and most importantly a balcony that overlooked St Istvan Basilica. We chilled out for a bit, taking advantage of the luxurious space.
After long enough we made it out into the city on the hunt for some food. David had marked a Lonely Planet recommendation on the map and after a few wrong turns we found Klassz. We sat down at a table, flicked through the menu and went to order some beers; the waitress looked at us as though we had done something terrible and then she asked us if we wanted some wine. We politely declined, and once she had left we looked around the restaurant to find that everyone was sampling and drinking various wines; turns out we were doing it wrong. Still we enjoyed a great meal and substandard beers. We then headed back to the apartment and enjoyed balcony tea before heading to bed.
The next morning we decided that at some point during our stay it would be necessary to have balcony bacon sandwiches and finding some became part of the day’s plan. We headed out to the Buda hills, crossing the Chain Bridge to check out the Buda castle quarters; home to many museums, galleries and several churches but the two focal features are the view across the Pest plain and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
While we were enjoying the view we were able to watch a storm cross over the hills and drop an almighty sheet of water down upon us. We took shelter for the worst of the weather before heading back to Pest via the impressive Parliament Building which is an equal to Westminster in terms of appearance.
We then continued back to St Istvan’s Basilica and and to our apartment. The next few hours were dedicated to a search for Bacon, and we eventually were greeted with success and stocked up on enough to give us balcony bacon for the remainder of our stay.
That evening we headed out to Menza and this time we decided we had better order some wine. I left this down to David due to my complete lack of knowledge, he later informed me after we discovered we’d ordered a dessert wine that he also suffered from the same lack of knowledge. Regardless, the wine was enjoyable as was the meal.
The next morning an almighty bacon sandwich was enjoyed before another storm crashed in over us. We stayed in, hoping that the weather would clear and eventually we got lucky and immediately headed out to Heroes’ Square which, like the Parliament is one of the most impressive structures I have ever seen.
It is probably my favourite monument so far. Beyond the square was the city gardens and we thought we may as well check these out, finding some pretty interesting examples of Hungarian modern art in a moat around a smaller castle and a rather disappointing ‘park’. After plenty of milling about we decided to head back to our apartment we were hit with another storm but this was no ordinary storm, we were pelted with some sizable hailstones as well. We’re from England, we’re used to awful weather and we continued back despite being soaked. On the way a girl took pity on my state and offered me shelter, I felt bad for David, due to his height he was unable to join us out of the worst of the elements.
After drying out, we headed out to a small local pub recommended by our hostel owner and were not disappointed, we were even able to order some beer without being seen as criminally insane. We didn’t stay out too late and headed back to get ready for our long train ride to Belgrade.