A Break in Budapest

I was desperate to get out of the country for a bit, so jumped at the opportunity when cheap tickets to Budapest popped up on the Internet.

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I have oddly low expectations of Eastern European cities. For some reason, I expect all former Soviet countries to exude Spartan greyness in the form of monolithic concrete tower blocks, stars and sickles plastered over every surface and statues of Lenin looking into the distance. Perhaps it’s indoctrination at school, who knows?

So anyway, I was pleasantly surprised when the plane glided into an astonishingly modern terminal building. Central Budapest is a gorgeous confection of former Austro-Hungarian splendour, and there’s plenty in the way of architectural delights to admire.

The main highlights of the trip were the House of Terror, Hospital in the Rock, and the Holocaust Memorial Centre. Hungary had a turbulent 20th century, and you can’t help but feel that nobody really escaped suffering through it.

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Then after all those sobering reminders of human atrocity, it’s nice to think about the more glamorous aspects of Hungary’s past by having a coffee and slice of cake in one of it’s fancier establishments. Not it to mention that everything in Budapest is so cheap by UK standards you can afford to go fancy not just once, but basically every day!

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Everyone talks about the New York Cafe being the place to go hang out, but despite its glitzy interior, I didn’t think it really lived up to the hype.

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I likes Hotel Gellert better but my favourite place was Ruzwurm, a quaint establishment that sits in one of the most picturesque parts of Budapest in the Castle Hill district. You can see it’s incredibly popular and they serve the most wonderful hot chocolate and delicious homemade cakes.

Then naturally, being as food-centric as I am, of course I had to pay a trip to the big food market, where I picked up a souvenir sausage to take back for A. The other food there was fairly underwhelming, cakes had rubbery over-gelatinised fillings and the strudels were soggy.

Other highlights of the trip included the Ethnographic museum which had a fascinating exhibition on Hungarian Jews and is situated in one of the most beautiful buildings in Budapest.

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I was pretty orney about spending all my forints so on the last day, determined I had to use them all up, via a trip up the funicular railway, a really enormous Hungarian chimney cake, and some bacon-flavoured crackers. I’m proud to say that I managed it too! Lovely as Budapest was, I’m not likely to make another trip there soon, so it seemed unnecessary to have lots of spare forints rolling around the place, especially as everything there was so gloriously inexpensive.

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