Vegan Travel: Budapest
Vegan Travel: Budapest
Off to Gatwick at 8:30 for a midday flight, just to fit in a few hours of Monopoly Deal at an airport cafe. If whoever is reading this is not familiar with Monopoly Deal, my advice would be to make yourself familiar with it at your next convenience. Having outstayed the welcome of the cafe we jumped ship and headed for Yo-Sushi, who do a great vegan pumpkin katsu curry by the way! More Monopoly Deal and more curry and to the gate we went.
We landed in Budapest at around 6.00pm and, as expected, were welcomed by some cold weather (about minus 5 degrees). We opted to take a taxi to our accommodation because we were already behind schedule and wanted to maximise our evening. Asha found a vegan restaurant nearby called ‘Napfenyes Etterem’ which made delicious food and a comforting mulled spiced apple juice drink. Wanting to investigate the news broadcasted by the BBC of the ice blocks floating down the Danube River we went there after dinner. The ice blocks have shrunk in size very slightly and were very impressive indeed.
Day 2: We met for our walking tour at 10.30am in front of St. Stephen’s basilica. We were informed, however, that it is not an actual basilica because it does not have an Archbishop. Although we did not go inside, our guide explained to us that St. Stephen’s right hand was located there and also legendary football player, Puskas was buried there. Walking through Budapest it became very evident indeed that we weren’t quite prepared for how cold it was and quickly switched our attention from the guide’s interesting talks, to the challenge of avoiding frost bite. Despite that we all picked up that Hungarian’s really love paprika and sour cream, and apparently eat both ingredients with almost all of their meals. Before crossing the bridge the guide explained the story of how and why Budapest gets its name; that it used to be two cities either side of the Danube river: Buda and Pest that joined together to form Budapest as it is today. At this point I have to confess that when we were given the chance to have a warm drink and were told to “meet back in 15 minutes”, we decided to interpret this more as an opportunity for respite from the cold in a more permanent way. Needless to say, we split from the group, regained feeling in our feet, and headed towards a vegan burger place, ‘Vegan Love’. The food was absolutely delicious and the following games of Monopoly Deal didn’t disappoint either.
Having heard that the view from the top of The Citadella was one not to be missed, we began to climb its icy steps to the top. We made it there for sunset, treated ourselves to a mulled wine and enjoyed the mesmerising view of Pest. Ian took a few snaps and we began our descent. Really feeling the cold we opted to pick up some groceries from Aldi and make dinner back at Ian and Asha’s apartment. Of course we played Monopoly Deal in this time as well. Following dinner we went to a member’s club, ‘Brody’s Studios’, that Ian had been recommended we visit, which was very pleasant indeed and we had some nice drinks there. Feeling brave after two slightly alcoholic beverages we thought it would be a good idea to suss out the night life of Budapest. ‘Szimpla Kert’ was the bar we had all heard most about so we went there. It is one of many famous and unique ‘ruin’ bars in Budapest. These bars are in buildings that were abandoned and left to decay after World War II which were then converted into edgy bars. Anyway, having hit the Budapest night life hard, we returned home to bed; at 11.45pm.
Day 3: With raging hang overs from last night’s extravaganza, we had a slow start to the day. However when we did get going, we were treated to the enchanting Szechenyi Baths. The baths consist of a number of indoor plunge pools at different temperatures as well as a large pool outside, all heated by thermal springs. Although this was a fairly expensive experience, I would thoroughly recommend it.
After lunch we were under the photography orders of Ian to get a photograph of the Hungary’s Parliament building at sunset. It is without doubt one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. The building lights up when its dark and looks absolutely glorious, as does the reflection in the river immediately in front of it. Left very content with the snaps we got of the building we went for a Thai as our last meal all together in Budapest and then went our separate ways to bed.
By Guy Harper