Europe’s Little Secret

“I woke up in the morning feeling like P Diddy, put my glasses on, I’m out the door – I’m gonna hit this city…”

Ke$ha really did sum up how I felt when I woke up this morning after a night out in town. Although it wasn’t the mega awesome clubbing night I expected, it was fun, clean and down to earth. We went to lots of great bars and clubs and sampled a couple of Hungarian shots called unique, jägermeister like and spicy. It went down rather well.

Before the big night out yesterday I ventured to the castle district in Buda and sampled a traditional Transylvanian cake (yes, Transylvania was originally in Hungary and still is a deep wound they still feel after WW1). It’s kind of like a sweet pretzel that had been wrapped around a jar and then cooked (if that makes any sense at all). I saw the Fisherman’s Bastillion which is five turrets before St Stephens Church and is the huge piece of architecture just so it looks impressive from he Danube and when one goes towards the church. It did look spectacular. From then you walk past a couple of guys in jester uniforms exchanging forints for holding a falcon on your arm and having a photo taken towards the royal palace. From the outside it doesn’t look like much but as you walk closer you realise how big it is. It holds three museums inside one of them being the national gallery.

Being an avid art lover, I had to check it out and I must say I was rather impressed! Their historical range was good, from the fifteenth century to the modern day and spans over three floors. My favourite piece was of a painting called Skylark by Pál Szinyei Merse in 1882. It is a painting of a naked woman in a field looking towards the sky and there is a tiny skylark right in the distance. I thought it was pretty clever and it was one of the very few bright pieces of work on display. Although the National Gallery in London does not have the historical range that the Hungarian gallery does, we have a far more diversity of european paintings in our collection and different styles and techniques, probably because we have another museum dedicated to portraits, at least two for modern art, one for design and countless others. From what I noticed, it was mostly if not all Hungarian art. After taking the tram back to the hostel I watched Grimm and HIMYM and readied myself for the night ahead.

The morning after I was rather reluctant to wake and managed to just change, shower and breakfast myself to check out before I headed to Margaret’s Island, a little island in the middle of the Danube with a national swimming pool and trees galore. There I stayed for a while and fell asleep listening to Carmen over the loud speakers and grand fountain. Feeling relaxed I headed towards the Thai massage parlour near where I was staying and spent an hour of being clicked, stretched rubbed and pampered. Just what I needed to sort out my back which hadn’t been feeling great.

I was looking forward to going to Budapest because its a city that has always been on my mind but I never though I would have enjoyed it as much as I did. With its rich history, culture, thermal baths, spas and beautiful architecture and scenery along with some cool museums from which to gain a fountain of knowledge, it was difficult not to fascinated by the city. If you have a couple of days to spare for a little TLC I’d definitely recommend going to Budapest (stay around the Pest side, cheaper and more to do) to indulge in a thermal spa day, shopping on Andrássy út (Budapest’s answer to Rodeo Drive) and walking around Margaret island and the Castle District.

Budapest, one of Europe’s little secrets.

át, és ki!
Nathalie Lot

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