I was lucky enough to have some of my favorite people in the world travel to Budapest to visit me. It started with my older sister (Leighann) and cousin (Katie) staying with me for about a week. Unfortunately, my younger sister (Delia) was unable to visit because she is still in high school and in the middle of her track season. The day after they left, my best friend from my hometown, Kelly, and her friend Cynthia came up. Kelly and Cynthia both attend Rutgers University. They stayed with me a couple of days and then my four really good friends (Carly, Maggie, Morgan, and Rachel) from the University of New Hampshire came to visit. They stayed with me for the week and we even made a trip to Vienna towards the end of the week (Vienna blog post coming). I found it so funny how every single one of my visitors commented on how fast and long the escalators in the metro stations are. I’ve gotten so used to them, but I remember commenting the same thing when I first arrived here.
As I was showing them around, I got a much better sense of my way around Budapest. Before they had come to visit, I had spent the previous three weekends traveling, so I had only really spent a couple weekends in Budapest. Pretending to be a tour guide is what I think made me officially fall in love with the city I am studying abroad in. I still have been using checklists on my phone for when I have been traveling, so I made one for Budapest. This is the list I used for my sister and cousin (below), but I would say this list is always being revised as I learn more about the city and as the weather is warming up. Perhaps I will make an ultimate list for Budapest at the end of my program highlighting my absolute favorite things that the city has to offer.
We were not able to go to the Book Cafe (book store with a cute cafe featuring a beautiful ceiling) because it has been closed for renovations, and they were not here on a Sunday to visit the Farmer’s Market, but otherwise we saw a lot. I was able to send them places while I was in class as well, which was helpful.
When I took them for a walk on Margaret Island, we came across these ruins (shown above), which are the ruins of the Dominican Convent and Church. The island is named after Princess Margaret, who was a nun at the convent back in the 1200s. We also saw the burial spot for Saint Margaret. I have been using the island for its 5k track to go on runs, but it actually has so much to offer. There is a petting zoo, water park, hotel, gardens, and statues. It’s a beautiful place for a picnic or run along the Danube.
My entire family and many of my friends are obsessed with eating and trying new foods, so it was really fun to have them here and try more of the amazing cuisine the Budapest has to offer. I am going to be making a separate blog entry on food in Budapest, because I have been discovering so many places with good, cheap eats.
As for night life, I think my friends and family enjoyed Szimpla Kert the most. It’s one of the most famous ruin pubs in the city and it is super unusual and fun. They play really good music, it’s covered in awesome graffiti and decorations, and there are so many rooms to explore and sit down if you want. There’s even an outside beer garden in the back. They come around and sell carrots sometimes, which my friends thought was a hoot and a half.
Some of my friends also have really nice cameras and were able to capture some great pictures during their visit.
The Szechenyi Baths were also a big hit for everyone, especially since Budapest is known for its baths. It’s such a relaxing a fun way to spend an afternoon, and it is cheaper on weekdays (about $17 for a day pass).
I also discovered a really nice park behind Hero Square with my friends. The weather was just warming up during their stay, so it was so nice to sit by the fountain and soak up some sunshine. I’ve been back several times since then; it’s a great place to bring a book!
I am so incredibly grateful that my best friends traveled around the world to come visit. It makes me so happy to share this amazing city with them and I hope they all had an unforgettable time!