That title was awful. I’m sorry.
Anyway, I was in Hungary for two days last weekend, and now I’m going to Turkey tomorrow until Thursday. I wanted to show some highlights…I went with my old roommate, often my partner in crime. For these purposes (and since we were traveling), we’ll call her by her travel name, Willow (You don’t have a travel name? What do you go by when random homeless men introduce themselves?).
So, Willow and I have a Thing when we travel. That thing is using public transport as little as possible, walking more in a day than many probably do in a week, and eating at as many cheap, vegetarian restaurants as possible.
With that in mind, we rolled in on the Friday at around 12.30, then immediately headed for a place called Frohlich, a kosher bakery right by the synagogue. It was kind of a scramble, since they closed for Shabbat at 2 pm, but we still got some delicious goodness.
Both of our cakes were excellent, moist and full of taste. Budapest in general is not very expensive, and this first stop in the trip was no exception. The flodni, hard to find outside of Budapest (according to the travel guides) is a three-layer cake of apple, poppy seed, and nuts. Willow in particular was pleased.
After wandering to the synagogue, we first decided we were too cheap for a tour, then realized they were already closing for the sabbath, then couldn’t decide whether or not we were disappointed…we got over it, though, because our next stop were the Szechenyi Baths. It was a really good day for the baths, too, because the temperature had reached early 55 degrees fahrenheit. Add that to water which is anywhere for 32 to 38 celsius, and it’s pretty great…definitely worth spending around 10 euros for a few hours of hot baths, some of them herbal and medicated. You can also get other beauty and health treatments too, but we didn’t.
We walked to the baths, though, which were on the other side of the city, and walked back for dinner at Iguana, a very tasty Mexican restaurant. I forgot to take photos this time, but here’s the website.
We stayed at the cheapest hostel we found, with the plan to go, sleep, leave…which is exactly what we did. The next morning we left by 7 am. First up was a pastry shop. We wanted gofri, Hungarian waffles…but we got there around 8 to discover that they didn’t have them until 10 am. The early bird did not get the waffle. It also forgot to take pictures again, so I can just assure you I had a delicious chocolate roll thing (sort of like a cinnamon roll) and Willow got a piece of fruity tart/cake…very balanced breakfasts.
Thus sustained, we walked across the bridge to wander around a bit, then it was on to the flea market, back up near the baths, castle, and parks…the only time we took a tram.
To be honest, the flea market was sort of a bust…lots of nifty things we didn’t want to buy, some not so nifty things, and some dubiously legal things (and people). Highlights, though, included some serious 90s nostalgia, including video games, movies, and clothes…and since when are DVDs old enough to be sold in the bargain bins at Hungarian flea markets?
The big problem, though, is that we were just really hungry and kind of cold…it was also windy. We did see ferrets being walked, but that was sort of the highlight at that point…although we did go to the Eco Cafe, ironically located right down the street from the House of Terror.
Seriously, I think that is probably the opposite of a good time…even for someone who is as interested in European history as I am, I really don’t relish a museum devoted to the torturing of people during fascist and communist times…in the building where many of the atrocities occurred. Even the Tower of London is a little more romantic…and probably has an Eco Cafe of its own.
After that we wandered around. We looked in some stores, wandered around, forgot where we were going, ended up back at the synagogue (no, I don’t really know how either), and realized that we were ravenous. So it was time for the big meal of the day, at the Gorilla Vega Bufe. It’s cheap, tasty, and vegan.
This restaurant also had still water in pitchers at the table, something that you quickly become appreciative of in Europe…also something a lot easier to find in vegetarian restaurants. Also, those fries were delicious. We both ate like gorillas, though, with slightly different results, as evidenced here:
For the remainder of the day, Willow bought some shoes, I bought a book, and we took a train back in time to collapse after a quick dinner. We also walked, by our estimation, about 18-19 miles in two days.