Surprise! Budapest is awesome

I’m back! Crazy to think I was in Europe yesterday, and today I’m in Toronto waiting to attend a concert from my all-time favourite musician (Fiona Apple). The world is WILD.

And if you hadn’t noticed, my blog looks a little different. Like, a lot little different.

I have so much European content right now, it’s practically exploding from my brain. And not enough time to write.

So the thing about Budapest is that it just kinda takes you by surprise. Everyone raves about Vienna and Prague and all those neighboring cities (and rightly so), but Budapest is kinda lonely. Its streets aren’t cluttered with hordes of tourists jockeying for the best camera space or picking their noses in public. It’s not the most English-friendly spot in Europe, and its people can come off as a tad rude. They’re extreme no-bullshit people, and if they can’t help you, then they’re not gonna go out of their way to do so. Seems to be the Budapest way.

Why was I so surprised by Budapest?

Its history is amazeballs

Buda and Pest were actually two different cities separated by the Danube. In 1872, Pest, Buda, and Obuda (“Old” Buda) were united into one city to officially become the capital of Hungary.

And like most other European countries, it had its share of political turmoil. As our lovely Contiki guide said, “The city was liberated by the Russians after World War II, and then they forgot to leave.” The result was the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, where a student demonstration against the government and Soviet policies caused a nationwide revolt.

(Ahem, Montreal. I’m looking at you.)

Unfortunately, thousands of Hungarians were killed in the revolution, mostly around Heroes’ Square. This happened less than 60 years ago. It took more than 30 years to get rid of that dictatorship. No wonder Hungarians are so gruff and determined — they’re still getting used to this new world.

Heroes’ Square

SORRY. I totally geeked out on history this whole trip. My notebook looks like a war zone of shorthand and side comments.

The city is prettier than that chick you keep eyeing at the gym

And gritty. You get the best views from across the river in Pest, looking back at the Parliament in all its glory. Do a river cruise at night — the Parliament and its surrounding buildings all glow like a Christmas tree.

There’s a whole lot of art nouveau stuff going on too. When you’re walking through the Old Town, keep your gaze shifted upward for some sweet roof patterns that will cause seizures if you look too hard.

Its nightlife is on steroids

Ever been to a “ruin pub”? I’ll talk more about those later, because they warrant their own blog post, but ruin pubs are basically abandoned buildings turned into creative art spaces/pubs where you get unreasonably liquored and hang out with ridiculous people.

Plus the bars just never close. Ever.

Yes, that’s a tub

Hungarians love to party, and beer is CHEAP. Get to it!

This trip was hosted by Contiki, but all opinions are my own. Unless I’m winking at you and then you’ll know I’m lying about everything.

  • July 04 2012
    The Constant Complainer

    Candice, what’s up!!! Happy Canada Day, Happy Fourth of July and happy any other holidays that I missed. Just got back from nine relaxing days in Hilton Head and hope this finds you doing well. P.S. I love the new site layout!

    • July 10 2012

      Thank you kindly!!! It’s been a hoot.

  • July 05 2012

    Awesome. I was on the fence with Hungary but more and more people keep saying go. It sounds like a great city. Oh and I like the new look. I usually read in google reader so I didn’t know when you change it, but I like it.

    • July 10 2012

      Thanks! And I highly recommend it. You’d be missing out if you didn’t spend at least a few days there.

  • July 05 2012

    Sounds pretty awesome, Candice!
    Not sure that tub will hold much water, though.
    Just sayin’.

    • July 10 2012

      I knew that tub was faulty somehow…

  • July 05 2012

    Well, you’ve convinced me.

    • July 10 2012

      Muahahaha, all part of the master plan. ;)

  • July 05 2012

    Wow, never thought of Budapest as a destination before but you definitely made me consider it with this post! (Mostly with the “bars just never close” line.)

    • July 10 2012

      Right?! The bars did it for me too. Totally.

  • July 05 2012

    Spot on. I’ll have to crib your history notes because for whatever reason (most likely my disorganization), I somehow lost my notes on scribbled on Ramada notepads. So bummed! So glad Budapest surprised you as much as it did me. :)

    • July 10 2012

      Hahaha, did the ruin pub have something to do with it?

  • July 05 2012

    My friends who’ve been to Budapest rave about it. Seems like the praise is pretty warranted. The ruin pubs sound really interesting – can’t wait to hear more about them.

  • July 06 2012

    Budapest is great. Pretty and gritty sums it up well. Great old architecture, but it still has bullet holes in it.

    • July 10 2012

      Isn’t that crazy?! Blown away when the guide told us about the bullet holes.

  • July 10 2012

    Hey Candace! Been enjoying you posts/tweets… just wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award! :) You can get it out here Cheers!

  • July 11 2012

    Sounds to me like the trip was fabulous! Eastern Europe is on the agenda for me. And I love your new look – though I always loved the exuberance of the old homepage.

    • July 13 2012

      Thanks, Leigh! The consensus is divided…some people love it, some people miss the old look. ;)

  • July 18 2012

    I can’t wait to hear about the ruin pubs! Oh, and the rest of Budapest looks amazing too :)

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