Early Budapest Arrival, Let’s Explore! – From the Journal
budapest arrival

An early-morning Budapest arrival gave us a full extra day to explore

Budapest Ferihegy Airport felt serene. It was as if the entire terminal was only waiting for our flight. The customs queue was a breeze. Our passports were stamped nonchalantly, and our bags were in-hand with hardly a wait…

Budapest Arrival

budapest arrival

Before leaving the airport, we hit the machine for some local currency. Not only did we find the ATM, but we were pleasantly surprised to find an attached grocery store… We picked up only the essentials. Two bottles of wine, two liters of beer, coffee, eggs, chips, salsa, and two chocolate bars. The grand total? 2000 Hungarian Forints (insert scary moment here…), or just $7USD. Nice, we could get used to this..

So instead of hopping on the recommended and more affordable Airport Shuttle, we splurged for a taxi… A $20 fare and twenty minutes later we arrived at the flat. Our driver left us with a smile and long list of Hungarian recommendations. Schnapps, goulash, and fish stew, all musts for our visit in Budapest.

budapest arrival

The apartment, booked on Airbnb.com, was equally (or exceedingly) affordable… For about $60USD/night, the amazingly-renovated, artist-decorated apartment was well over 1000 square feet, with 20-foot ceilings, a brand new kitchen and bathroom, and balcony views of the Budapest City Park. #livinglargeinbudapest

Time to Explore!

budapest arrival

Brightly painted carnival rides and loud electronic music immediately grabbed our attention, so we headed towards the park to check out the hubbub… It seems that Pentecost is a national holiday in Hungary, and the two-day celebration was just getting under way. We preferred to imagine the stands of sweet and smoke, games of chance, and the squeal of children, our personal welcoming party…

We made our way through the park grounds, interest peaked by an enormous sculpture at the carnival fairway’s end… The Monument of the 1956 Revolution was built in the same place that Hungarian protesters defied Soviet tanks and toppled a giant Stalin statue fifty years earlier… Beautifully intriguing…

budapest arrival

Beginning to realize Budapest’s amazing architectural detail while passing the Eclectic–Neoclassical Hall of Art, we stepped into Heroe’s Square and were blown away… Magnificent in size and grandeur, statues of Hungarian leaders tower over the plaza… Turns out, we had wandered into one of Budapest’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, built in 1896 to commemorate 1000 years of Hungary ancestry in the Carpathian Basin.

We walked on to the banks of the Danube, the fast-flowing river that divides Buda from Pest, and we couldn’t help from marveling at the remarkably preserved buildings… Intricate sculptures, murals, and mosaics give individuality to nearly every building. And with long, straight streets, and little commercialism to ruin the view, Budapest owns a beauty we haven’t quite experienced elsewhere. We came upon the golden Margaret Bridge, giant angel statues looking over the Danube on every pillar, and followed the Pest-side river trail towards the astonishing Hungarian Parliament Building, with views of the immense Buda Castle dominating the opposing shore…

budapest arrival

If planning to visit Budapest, you might want to check out our Budapest resource page.

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