Episode 12: Buda, one half of Budapest

I woke up early on my first full day in Budapest and decided that this was the day I would hike across the bridges and go to Buda.

Fun fact, when I first told people that I would be going to Budapest, someone told me that it was actually two cities. They told me I better make sure I know which side of the river I will be on.  I thought they were lying to me.  Apparently I was wrong. Buda and Pest used to be two separate cities and have since merged.  Buda is more on the hilly, mountainous side while Pest is more flat and full of buildings.

I left my hotel and walked down the street I had discovered the day before (yes I learned my lesson and figured out where the Danube was).  According to Google, some of the best things to see while in Budapest are on the Buda side and this includes the:

  • Fisherman’s Bastion
  • Buda Castle
  • Matthias Church
  • Liberty Statue

I had mapped out a route the day before. Or rather picked specific things I wanted to see, screen captured their locations on Google Maps and then decided to semi plan out which things I would see first.

I walked out of my hotel, and jumped on the train to go to Buda.  I knew that I could get to that side of the city by metro and then I would need to hike uphill.  So I thought that I might as well start off my day in a more relaxing way before I started my hiking.

I arrived in Buda and had to find my way to Fisherman’s Bastion. The only thing I knew was that I needed to start walking toward the center of the city and as long as I was walking uphill then I was going in the right direction. Buda isn’t the easy to navigate because, like any other European city, the street signs are not super obvious.  I wasn’t quite sure where I was going but I just started walking.  I eventually arrived next to a tour bus and tagged up with the end of the tour group and that got me to where I wanted to be.

Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church share a plaza and there was some sort of flea market going on up there so it was packed.  You can get a fantastic view of Pest from up there.  I fought my way through all the tour groups to try and nab a great photo and a selfie before I continued walking around.

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That area is great because there are adorable restaurants with a great view of the city and they have great little hidden areas that you can check out.  I ended up finding an open gate to a small secret garden that was secluded, empty and had a nice area of shaded seats to hang out in.

From there, I walked back down to the river and started walking along the river.  I stopped by the Buda Castle and climbed to the top to check out the view.  This place is packed and there’s even a gondola type ride that you can take the to the top.  I managed to find my way up there on my way by taking a path through the forest.  Just a warning, choosing to walk anywhere uphill in Buda requires going through super dense neighborhoods or wooded areas.  They seem to all be pretty safe but sometimes you’re walking along so don’t be too put off by that.  I may or may not have done a fair amount of back pedaling when the wooded areas would get too dense.

After hiking my way to the top and trying as hard as possible to avoid the selfie sticks, I made my way back down to the river and decided to walk toward the Liberty Statue.  As soon as I got to that area, I stopped for lunch at a small cafe hidden in the neighborhoods.  I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but I knew that I wanted to try out real Hungarian food.

I looked at the menu and opted for a dish called “letcho” which was described to me as “Hungarian ratatouille.” That solidified it for me.

Please note that at this time, I was sweaty, it was about 90 degrees and 75% humidity and I opted to sit inside of a cafe with no air conditioning.  Spicy soup was probably not the best idea but it was probably one of the better decisions that I have made. When the soup arrived, it came with some bread for dipping and at that point, it was game over. The food was delicious, spicy and hearty.

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After I finally cooled down and stopped sniffling from all the spices, I paid my bill and made my way back out to the world.

Next stop: The Liberty Statue.

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