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This year I decided to spent my New Year’s Eve somewhere extraordinary (at least for me). Hence, my boyfriend Pit and I decided to go to BUDAPEST!
I had previously asked a lot of people what they think of the city and had only received amazing feedback. Apparently, it was meant to be like a second Paris, only in the East
And let me tell you: Budapest did not disappoint me at all!
On the first day, we explored the city-life and immediately went to the MENZA restaurant (Étterem és kávézó)! It is one of the most famous restaurants in Budapest. On their menu they have goulash soup and other Hungarian specialties like ”duck liver pate”, ”lean bacon with lentil salad ” or ”poppy-seed pastry with vanilla sauce” (for me, the dessert was a bit unusual…).
In the evening we passed a restaurant named BOCK Bisztró. It looked so good that I immediately went inside to ask if they had any free tables. Fully booked they replied! We were both so disappointed, but we ended up going to another restaurant, which was remarkably good as well. We didn’t get to check out the nightlife (which appeared to be really busy!) on our first day as we were too exhausted.
On the second day, we did some sightseeing on one of those buses designed for tourists (I think those buses are perfect for tourists by the way, as they take you to all the popular attractions and trendy places). The downside of those open-top buses is that in winter it feels like -30, but with a big coat it was bearable.
First of all we visited the Citadella. “Citadella” is the Hungarian word for citadel, a kind of fortress. The word “Citadella” is exclusively used in other languages to designate the citadel on the top of the decisive Gellért Hill. From there, one has a magnificent panoramic view over the whole city and over the amazing castle district! Then we went on to visit the bunker of the Citadella. It was built during the Second World War and is full with wax figures. Those figures seriously make the bunker feel alive, as they look very real.
After that we continued the tour and we visited the Parliament (biggest building in Hungary, inspired by the British parliament). In the afternoon, we felt a bit peckish and so we went to a nice restaurant, Stand Bisztro, near the Parliament at the heart of the city.
Afterwards, we visited the biggest Christian church in Budapest the St. Stephen’s Basilica. It is certainly magnificent with all the fold details and a great dome. The church is the third highest building in modern Budapest and therefore a reference point. Plus, we got very lucky as during our visit the choir gave a little performance.
There is also a water well from which the famous Széchenyi Baths (one of many thermal baths in Hall of Art)get their water.The well is 971 meters deep, the well produces 831 liters of hot water (74 degreesCelsius) per minute. So, here I was, freezing and watching, slightly jealous, some ducks that were bathing in this nicely warm water. But hey, that’s life isn’t it? The place is spacious and reminds me a bit of the communist period.
TheHero Square also marks the entrance to the City Parc (Városligeti Műjégpálya) with the largest artificial ice surface in Europe.
There was even a small food market and as we passed the stand with de meat dishes, one of the vendors offered me a bite of paprika duck to taste. Hmmm delicious! Unfortunately, I was too full to eat a whole meal.
On our way back to the hotel we passed the Bock Bisztró again. So once again I went inside and asked for a table. Fully booked they responded once again! Second time I tried, second time I failed. But I had another idea. At the hotel I asked the hotel manager if he could get us a table for two at the BOCK. But he gave me the same answer: fully booked, not a chance! My plan had failed. In the end, around 10 o’clock we decided to go to a different restaurant, which someone at the hotel had recommended to us. But as soon as we saw the place, we decided not to go in.I asked Pit if he wanted to try at the BOCK – and to be fair, what else could he say than “yes honey”. And this time we finally got our table! Maybe beacause I tried to use every little bit of my charm so that they couldn’t say no. And the effort clearly paid off: the menu was superb, the wine was fabulous, and live music (accordion) contributed to an excellent atmosphere.
Saturday then was the 31st of December, finally! We spent the whole day sightseeing yet again, but we returned to the hotel earlier this time, because apparently our hotel has the greatest cigar bar ever.
The NEW YORK cafe. In the old days, this was a place philosophers, famous writers and known politicians met. Full of expectations we went downstairs to the bar, looking forward to smoking a smooth cigar and drink a cucumber Hendrickx gin tonic. And here came the first disappointment in Budapest: “NO SMOKING!” The new smoking policy clearly destroyed what we had imagined would be the perfect aperitif. We then resolved to install a smoking area in our room, which was not bad at all!
For dinner, we went to a restaurant called SPOON (situated on a boat). They offered special menus for New Year, but I wouldn’t recommend it. As so often, it was way too
expensive for what it was. A clear tourist trap I would say. However, this did not keep us from celebrating. The streets of Budapest were absolutely crowded. People, old and young, were dancing in the streets to music (no idea where it came from!) Such a great atmosphere! To finish our lovely evening, we went to the Buddah Bar. Yes, I know it’s French and not Hungarian – but the F
rench just know how to party! Such a great place! I advise everybody that travels to Budapest to go the Buddah Bar Hotel just to take a look.
The last day we went back to the Váci street (váci utca). It is one of the main pedestrian areas and perhaps the most famous street of central Budapest (Buddah Bar Hotel is also located there, as well as some other nice restaurants and famous shops).
And then time had come to go back to Luxembourg.
Little side note: Be careful if you fly with WIZZAIR. The limit of hand luggage is ridiculously low!