My Favorite (Non-Italian) City
Written by Kelsey V. March 19, 2015
Last Friday, I set off on a 10-day journey with 24 other students on my program for “spring break”. We were on a mission to see 4 countries in 10 days. We traveled by bus, which was a nice change of pace from all the flying I’ve been doing lately.
We left Friday night around 9pm and drove through the night for 12 hours. Yes, we spent 12 hours on a bus! Early the next morning we arrived in Budapest, Hungary.
Where do I even begin about Budapest? Budapest was incredible. It was much different than other cities I have visited thus far. It wasn’t as touristy or as fast-paced. Budapest was homey, filled with beautiful buildings and had a TON to do.
We had the whole day to explore Budapest, so we got a ticket to the “hop on hop off bus”. They have these in every major European city, but I haven’t used one yet. However with just two days to explore such a huge city, we knew this would be a good option. We rode the bus all the way through the 17 stops, just looking at the attractions and listening to the audio descriptions of them. This enabled us to decide where we wanted to “hop off” at later on the trip. At the end of the 17 stops, we got off at a beautiful castle. We climbed to the top, where we had a breathtaking view of all of Budapest.
For lunch we found a cute cafe. I had a bacon wrapped pretzel and it was JUST as good as it sounds..
That night we made some international friends in our hostel. That’s the fun part about hostels- you meet tons of young people traveling from all over! We met some nice girls from Spain who cooked us pasta for dinner. It’s hard to beat the pasta in Italy, but it was nice to save a little money by not buying dinner!
The next day we “hopped” back on the bus and went to the opera house. We had some very delicious coffee at a fancy coffee house by the opera house.
The opera house was beautiful, but sadly we couldn’t tour the inside at that time. We got back on the bus and rode it to the main square of Budapest- Heroes Square. I really liked this huge, wide open space in the middle of such a big city.
We walked to the zoo after seeing the square. The zoo was a really great change of pace! One thing I love about my time here is the variety of my experiences. We were able to get in the pen with ostriches. They were hopping all around us. It was a little freaky for me..
On the way home from the zoo, we stopped at Varosliget Park. This park was incredibly beautiful and very peaceful. By that time it was sunny and the place was packed! We continued on because we had an appointment to catch at the spa.
That evening we got “fish pedicures”. This is something that’s banned in the U.S but that I’ve always really wanted to try. You put your feet in the tank and the “Doctor fish” eat the skin particles off your feet. It was an experience for sure. I started off by practically screaming- I was freaked out! The sensation that the fish gave was something you had to get used to. It felt like tiny vibrations.
Coming to Europe, I never imagined that I would visit Budapest. But I am so, SO very happy that I went. Budapest is nothing short of amazing and I love how it doesn’t feel as touristy as many of the cities I have visited. I promise I will be back one day, Budapest!