Little more than a year ago, I was a confirmed solo traveller. A few bad experiences had knocked my faith in other people, so I decided it best to vacation on my own. I also had a penchant for exotic far-flung destinations. Forget all inclusive- my idea of a holiday was travelling to a developing country, staying in a hostel, and volunteering with animals or photogenic orphans.
However, last year I took a leap of faith and booked a trip to Prague with my friend Zey. Since then, we’ve been inseparable travel buddies, and are slowly making our way around European cities whilst building up a girl squad. This long weekend, we went to Budapest, Hungary, and it was (in my opinion) probably the best trip yet. So here’s a recap of the trip.
Mercury in retrograde again
People may scoff at astrology, but last time Mercury was in retrograde I fell out with someone I’d previously considered one of my best friends JUST SAYIN’. Unfortunately, the latest retrograde happened to fall on our trip to Budapest. On the way to the airport, I’d forgotten to buy an extra train ticket from Liverpool Street to Stanstead. The ticket inspector on the train accepted my travelcard so I didn’t think I needed one. However, the train staff at the other end informed me that I did, and instead of simply letting me buy one when I offered, they slapped me with a fine. We ended up arriving at the check-in desk 5 minutes after our check-in time at the airport after queueing, and got slammed with a £165 fine. That night, my coat got stolen when I went downstairs for 10 minutes to let my friend talk to a guy. On Friday, we took the Metro to the spa- and the ticket inspector informed us that rather than simply buying a ticket we had to stamp it with these machines- so we got fined AGAIN.
Moral of the story: plan any trips abroad around the stars.
First class accomodation
The hostel we stayed in in New York wasn’t brilliant. But this time, we really nailed it with our accommodation choices (probably because I chose them teehee). The hostel we stayed in was called Carpe Noctem. It was based on the top floor of an apartment block (which kept us nice and toned) and the walls in the common room had some cool paintings. The hosts were super-friendly and there was a family dinner, drinking games, and planned nights out every night, so it was really easy to meet people- especially because the hostel was linked to others in the area so we got to meet their guests too. On Saturday, a sister hostel held a dog day, where you could meet dogs from the local shelter and help them raise money by buying food an souvenirs. The dogs particularly enjoyed the ham I saved them that my friends wouldn’t eat at lunch.
Zey wanted to spend some time at a hotel, so on the final night we moved to the Corinthia. I was expecting a 3-bed hotel room, however for the same price we paid for an aforementioned room in London, we ended up with a 2-bedroom APARTMENT complete with a kitchen and lounge. The pool was also the most luxurious pool I’ve ever swam in, and the steam room gave my pores a thorough clean.
Seeing the sights
As we were only there for 4 days, we didn’t visit all the attractions that Budapest has to offer. However, I was quite organised in that regard, and did a bit of research beforehand and narrowed it down to a few must-dos, so we managed to get through a fair amount. On Friday, we visited the Szechenyi Thermal Bath while slightly hungover which (after the drama getting there) was very peaceful and scenic. On Saturday, we walked past the Hungarian Parliament Building, along the Danube, past the Danube Shoes memorial, then up to Fisherman’s Bastion to look at views over the city. On Sunday we visited Margaret Island- this one was a bit of a let-down but I’m sure it’s better in the summer.
As a side though, as much as it’s great to see a few of the main sights when you visit a new destination, my favourite times were the more random activities. Which leads me onto…
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade
On Saturday, we got back a little later than planned from out sightseeing, so we were running behind schedule. However, we could still just about squeeze in a shower after our swim, then dinner somewhere fancy, then a rooftop bar. However, when we got back to our hotel room, we found we had no hot water in our bathrooms. We called reception, and after an hour or so of tinkering, the engineer concluded that the water was going to be broken for the forseeable future. By this point, we were guaranteed to miss the 12am closing time of the rooftop bar.
However, I had the brainwave of using the spa showers to wash. My friend Angel manged to negotiate a complimentary breakfast at the hotel. We ordered in-room dining to our room while we got ready. As we’d missed the rooftop bar’s closing my time, Angel suggested going to the hostel’s karaoke event instead. She had an argument with her friend over the phone on the way there, so as soon as we arrived she started buying tequila shots. Then Zey asked me to sing Mamma Mia with her at karaoke. I’m usually one of those people who NEVER EVER sings, so I’m usually say no, but I’m on this kick to become more outgoing, so I thought- let’s go for it. And it was great! And overall, it turned out to be the best night out of the trip.
Have you ever been to Budapest? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!