Never in a million years did I think I would get to go to Europe, especially when I was freelancing full-time and on my own. I thought this might happen sometime in the future, but somehow I managed to go and cross off something of my ‘bucket list’ and twenty-eighteen year goal list. Honestly, at the beginning of the year, I didn’t even have my passport, I didn’t have my passport when I booked my trip in September. Thankfully though, everything fell together as it was supposed to (with no hiccups) and I got on a plane, to my first stop, Budapest, Hungary on November 6th.
The fights to Budapest all went smoothly, and on time, so I managed to get to Budapest at 4 pm on November 7th. (I would defiantly recommend traveling with Lufthansa - everything was so clean and friendly.) The downside of getting into the city so late was that it took an hour to get to my hotel because it was rush hour. And let me tell you traffic in Budapest is no joke.
After an hour or so car journey I finally got to my hotel and checked in. I got myself settled, and then around six met up with the tour group I was traveling with for dinner at the hotel. Now, I knew going into this that I would be the youngest person in the group and that was confirmed at dinner. I think I was at least 40 years younger than most people there. (Not mad about it at all it’s just amusing to me.) All the people were friendly (though if I hear ‘It’s courageous of you to travel alone’ I might scream…) and the two other people that got to Budapest on the 7th became my little group. Because what I found out at dinner was that the tour originally started in Poland, so myself and the two others joined in midway through the tour. And since the trip began before us, people had their little groups already, which is entirely reasonable, so I just teamed up with the other two people.
So, the tour of Budapest started the next day at 8 am. We had a bus tour that took us around Budapest and the first actual stop we had was a Matthias Church and at the top of Fisherman's Bastion. But first here are some photos from the bus to our destination.
"Matthias Church is one of the finest churches in Budapest, and the most unique churches in Europe. Located atop the Buda Castle hill, it has been serving the citizens of the Buda Castle Hill since 1015, its foundation by the first Hungarian king. The church has a breathtaking interior with colors inspired by orientalism and romantic historicism. Its mystically exotic atmosphere paired with its Neo-Gothic features differentiates it from any other church." [source]
Matthias Church was beautiful. All the details in the architecture of the church building, the paintings, and sculptures in the church were absolutely breathtaking. Like most of the places I saw on this trip, I could have spent hours just looking at the details. I do think my favorite part of the church was its colorful roof.
Even if you don’t like churches I will still recommend going the plaza outside of the Matthias Church, the top of Fishermans Bastion, for this stunning view of Budapest. You will not regret it.
After we spent a little over an hour at Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion, we headed off to Hero’s Square to see the The The Millennium Monument.
“The Millennium Monument in the middle of the square was erected to commemorate the 1000-year-old history of the Magyars. Archangel Gabriel stands on top of the center pillar, holding the holy crown and the double cross of Christianity. The seven chieftains who led the Magyar tribes to Hungary can be seen on the stand below. Statues of kings and other important historical figures stand on top of the colonnades on either side of the center pillar.
When the monument was originally constructed, Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and thus the last five spaces for statues on the left of the colonnade were reserved for members of the ruling Habsburg dynasty. The Habsburg emperors were replaced with Hungarian freedom fighters when the monument was rebuilt after World War II.
In 1989 a crowd of 250,000 gathered at the square for the reburial of Imre Nagy, former Prime Minister of Hungary, who was executed in 1958.” [source]
After the quick stop at Hero’s Square, we headed over to the Great Market Hall. The building itself beautiful and, yet again, has a stunning roof. I mean look at that detail and pattern. If you are from Cleveland, Ohio, like me, you will fell right at home here because it’s a larger version of the West Side Market. Though honestly. I wouldn’t recommend going here as it’s pretty much a tourist trap. Yes, locals do shop here and the first floor sells meats, cheeses, pastries and veggies but there is a ton of touristy booths and a ton of people. (Even in the ‘off’ season of November.)
The last couple of stops of the day were to the Hungarian Parliament building and to St. Stephans Basilica.
After our last stop we headed back to our hotel around 4 pm. Most of the tour group signed up for a boat wine & dinner tour on the Danube River for the evening. But I decided that wasn’t for and since I only had one day in Budapest, I wanted to experience a traditional Hungarian meal. So, I asked the front desk at the hotel for restaurant recommendations and headed off to a placed called Firkász Restaurant. The food was great and the space was cozy. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are near by.
Sadly this was the last place in Budapest that I got to check out as I only had one day here in Budapest. I absolutely loved Budapest and I will for sure be going back as one full day in the city is not enough.