We are in the midst of a couple of weeks of hectic visiting/travelling (don’t ever believe that expats get a truly relaxing summer holiday!), and so, until I am back in Munich to put my feet up in a short while, and can then regale you with what we have been up to (including reviews of glorious Luxury London Hotels that are truly family friendly (yes they exist!), and of stays in English cliff top light houses and beyond, I shall leave you with a couple of pre-written posts about a city that we recently visited, and which is now very firmly on our top ten list of favourites! Back soon!
Budapest is a city that’s been on my “must visit” list for a very long time. My brother and sister-in-law visited in the depths of winter a year or so ago, sending back images of ruin pubs and monolithic communist sculptures (plus incredibly beautiful cityscapes), and that was it – I was sold.
After staying with us, they caught the overnight train from Munich, which seems like such a romantic way to get there (when Mr R and I made similar journeys in our child-free days, both of us agreed that there’s nothing nicer than being rocked to sleep on never-ending tracks, and waking up in new cities/countries), but in our case adding children to the unsociable departure times mix had me reaching for the map and discovering it’s actually only a 6 hour drive from us anyway – even if you don’t stop off in other major Danube city’s such as Bratislava or Vienna overnight (which you absolutely should!)…
As is the case with all of our city adventures (and contrary to the belief of nameless individuals who I suspect have the idea that we selfishly drag unwilling Small People from place to place, without factoring in any kind of interest or enjoyment for them), we always make sure we stay in or near places that feature something completely aimed at children, so that they get a little more out of it other than all that history and culture (although I hasten to add I have yet to hear any complaints or “I’m boreds” from them anyway!)!! And this time we chose to stay slightly out-of-town at the AquaWorld Resort – not dissimilar to the AquaPalace where we stayed in Prague to find a good family travel balance.
Although the swimming complex is open to the paying public, the spa attached to the hotel is not – so that’s where you could find me soaking in Budapest’s mineral enriched waters after a heavy day pounding the streets; whilst Mr R and the Small People investigated the huge slides and pools that the Swimming dome had to offer. Incidentally, we didn’t have a chance to visit one of the historic spas that immediately spring to mind when you think of Budapest, sadly two days didn’t really allow – but it’s on our list for next time!
Budapest itself lived up to my every expectation (having lived in two teeny cities recently), with its wonderful big city vibe, stunning architecture, great food, and the all important friendly, welcoming locals.
We spent a happy hour wandering map free on our first evening, investigating the City Park (just behind Heroes’ square) which was hosting a big food festival at the time (feeling very familiar to us temporary Munchners!), admiring castles, the beautiful Hungarian Agricultural Museum, and the faded grandeur of the (currently empty) boating lake/ice-rink.
We also had a chat with a local or two, before heading into town and doing what we do best – getting hopelessly lost (aka exploring), pointing out old things and discovering new….
After an initial foray into the world of Budapest public transport (luckily I have a friend who recently relocated here, and she gave me a few pointers – buy ten tickets for around 3000 HUF at the purple machine at tram stops. You need one ticket for each tram/bus journey (children need a ticket each too!) we somehow ended up on Budapest’s “Broadway” – Nagymezo Street, and at Bordó Bisztró for dinner at what must be the perfect city summer venue.
Mr R was incredibly happy sampling a few beautiful local wines with dinner, the deprived English children enjoyed fresh and authentic fish and chips (minus the mushy peas obviously), and I was more than happy just soaking it all in, with the prospect that we had another full day ahead to enjoy…