First Impression of Budapest

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Alan and I have been living in Budapest now for a little over a week and are starting to settle in and get into the swing of things.

Thankfully the dreadful heat wave has finally broken and we have some relief!

I tell ya, I can handle the heat normally, but this was almost torturous. Our AirBnB doesn’t have air conditioning or even a fan, so we have pretty much been smelting for the past week.

Besides the heat, I am really liking Budapest.

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View of the chain bridge and St Stephen’s Basilica

Before we even got here, I had been looking up places to go and interesting things to see. Budapest really has a lot to offer.

One of the first items on my list to research was bike rentals. I had a bit of an issue when we rented bikes in Frankfurt, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t have the same issues here. I found that Budapest has a system that seems really easy and really cheap. Hopefully I can get a few rides in while we are here.

Alan and I rented bikes for a day already and rode around the city to get better acclimated. While we were riding around, I was blown away by how beautiful the architecture is. It’s crazy how many different styles of architecture are found within the city.

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Parliament

There are ruins that have been decked out and made into trendy new bars and restaurants.

Alan and I both stopped dead in our tracks the first time we saw Parliament. There aren’t words to describe how amazing this building is. I have seen a few Parliaments in my travels and Budapest definitely takes the cake.

Our apartment is in a really good somewhat central location. Our street is residential, but within a few hundred feet we can find restaurants, cafes, and bakeries.

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This is our neighborhood for 5 weeks!

A small square is about a 5 minute walk from us where a lot of locals hang out after work, and we have already found a great vegan place that I think will be a staple for us while we are here.

The city center is within walking distance of our place as well. It’s nice to walk around or grab some dinner, but I’m glad we aren’t right in the heart of it. I like that our street is calm and quiet.

We also have the Great Market Hall (also known as Central Market Hall) within a 10 minute walk from us. I didn’t know what the food situation was going to be like, but we have a lot of options to keep up a healthy lifestyle.

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The Great Market Hall

Central Market is huge, and there are plenty of stands filled with all kinds of fresh produce, nuts, and herbs. Alan also likes it because he can get better quality meats there.

My favorite part of the market is the lower level where you find all the pickled veggies. I could seriously eat a whole kilo of pickled veggies in one sitting. You could say that I might be a little obsessed with pickled goods.

Since we’ve been here, Alan and I both had our first experience at a bath. Budapest has a good number of baths from old Turkish baths to newer outdoor facilities. I had read that the locals go to the bathhouses on Sundays, so Alan and I figured we should do as the locals do. We chose one of the older baths for our first time. After about 20 minutes, I was hooked. It’s definitely a cultural perk I could become very comfortable with.

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Enjoying the hottest of all the hot tubs

My favorite part of this first week has been our first night out. We weren’t planning on going crazy, but we wanted to see what the nightlife was like in the city. We had found a strip of wine bars and restaurants near St Stephen’s Basilica when we were riding bikes, so we planned to go back later for a glass of wine.

It was a little bit of a mistake going there because it’s more touristy and the prices pretty much doubled from what they are near our apartment, but live and learn. It’s still a nice strip of restaurants, and you get a great view of St Stephen’s Basilica.

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Hanging out at the pool

Also, had we not gone there, we wouldn’t have found the summer hang out for the locals.

On the weekends a small strip of outdoor bars open up and right next to them is a huge pool. You can’t swim in it, but hundreds of people gather around it and just hang out.

There were people who had brought their own drinks and snacks to have a late night picnic. Another group had started a drum circle. People were dancing and having a great time.

Alan and I grabbed a beer and found an open spot at the pool to dip our feet in. It was a great way to start off our stay in the city.

So needless to say, my first impression of Budapest has been quite pleasant even with the sweltering heat.

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