2019/2020 Starting the New Year with a month in Budapest

This stop was a little bit of a late change; my original plan was to be in Venice for a week around New Year’s before heading to Budapest. But after going to Venice for a day trip while staying in Verona, I decided to head straight to Budapest. I still want to spend a few nights in Venice at some point, I just feel it would be better during a warmer time of year. Plus, my backlog of photos to edit was quite large, and after moving around for about two months it was time to get organized and get to work! Of course, I still went out wandering streets a little. It wasn’t just to mess around the city, well, mostly not, I also had to do a little shopping since I hadn’t prepared too well for the cold weather I would be in the next few months. Getting out was also necessary to clear my head once in a while; editing photos, writing posts, and working on a website can be tough work.

I’ve decided to try some new things with the site, posts, and my approach to this opportunity in general. It’ll take some time to develop, but I think it’ll be fun (I keep trying to convince myself, LOL). We’ll see where it goes; I hope you enjoy and throw me some feedback along the way. I’m looking to document this in a fun way that will entertain and help others at the same time. Now, back to the post at hand…

This change meant taking a train from Florence back to Rome to catch a flight to Budapest. The train to Rome was good, but it would’ve been better if I’d taken a little more care when booking it. Looking back I’m not sure what I was thinking. I didn’t even look for trains directly from Florence to the airport (FCO) and it turned out the train I took into Rome Termini was going to FCO. So buying the ticket to extend the ride ended up costing a little bit more than buying it all upfront. Not a big deal though, at least I didn’t have to run through the train station with my bags. It was a knucklehead move for sure, but it was a pretty cheap learning experience. The flight was fine but delayed about an hour; I certainly don’t recommend Wizz Air. The last step was an airport shuttle I had booked with the flight. It was 10 euros to be dropped off right at my Airbnb. I think it’s a good price for simplifying things, but because of the flight delay, I rushed through the airport looking for the check-in location and just barely caught the shuttle. There wasn’t time to ask, but I think they would just put me on the next shuttle if I missed my originally scheduled one. That would have been a pretty long wait though, and actually, the fact I did catch the shuttle shows how long of a wait I would have had if the flight wasn’t delayed. So it worked out, but there are buses I could have taken for less money and without the added stress. I’ve since found out that the 100E bus circles between the airport and 3 stops in the city center for 900 HUF (about $3, USD as of writing this). When you arrive at the airport you’ll see desks with information on the transit system (BKK). Stop and ask some questions, I’m sure they can help you get to where you need to go.

Budapest has some really good food and like most big cities, quite a wide variety. I was looking forward to the classics like goulash and paprika chicken myself, but was extremely happy to find a really good burrito spot! I guess being in Italy for so long made me miss spicy food! There are a few Mexican restaurants, but out of the ones I tried I liked the Papitos outside of the Arany János utca subway station the best.

If you’re heading to Budapest during Christmas, or I imagine during any time they have popup markets, you might like to know; when I arrived the Christmas Markets were still going strong and they had what looked like some great food booths. But looks can be deceiving; a mediocre and modest-sized plate of goulash, potatoes, and langos (fried bread) cost around $18 (USD) and gave me horrible indigestion. You’ll find a lot of restaurants with better food and prices. I didn’t go to a lot of restaurants during the stay, so I don’t have a whole lot to compare, but I’d recommend checking out the Central Market Hall. I liked the goulash with dumplings at Fakanál Étterem on the second floor and a little pastry shop on the first floor had amazing Kremes! 

Since I was here for New Year’s Eve, I had read about the unorganized celebrations around the city; and it did live up to that. There were people in every square with areal fireworks, and others were selling all kinds of noisemakers and Roman Candles. A bit hectic, borderline dangerous, in places (mortars tipping over and firing towards buildings). Everyone was having a great time from what I saw, and thankfully, I didn’t see any injuries either. I was only out until around 2 am though, so I certainly missed quite a bit.

The city is stunningly beautiful, but with all the work, prep, and planning I was doing, along with the frigid temperatures, I have a lot still to see. So I’m very much looking forward to another stay I’ve booked later this year when I hope to get a bit more full experience of the great city. If you have any recommendations please let me know, I’m starting a list and would love the input.

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