It’s ya girl, coming at you from her apartment, she is home, but her heart still longs to be on vacation. So instead of sharing all of my days on my blog, I figured I would save my journals for me, but share some of the highlights. So the first of these: my favourite day.
My favourite day in Budapest was perhaps the most unusual, it was my fifth day there and up until this day we had been doing the more tourist-y sights in the city, and today was different.
As with the rest of my trip, I let my friend Tom make all of the plans, as the leading tour guide/local for my time in the city. Every once in a while I would be charged with the task of making small decisions, such as the type of food we would eat or whether or not we should stay in or go out. This day was no exception, this day was all at the hand of Tom’s guide. I believe he had heard about the chairlift from a friend and that was enough- we were off with some directions in hand.
We had to tram across the city, from the centre to the Northern corner. But I found this an exciting part of the experience, I was ushered around to places I am unfamiliar with and upon arriving I was always faced with a great experience, each better than the last.
This day exemplifies this, as this city is filled with beautiful lookout points, this was the hardest to get to. First a tram to the station, then a 45 minute bus ride through Buda and up Buda Hill. I may be one of the few, but I find taking transportation to be a great part of the experience, as it gives you the time to relax and see the city. In this case, it offered us a chance to see the residential side of Buda, with large houses and vast gardens. It was something that you may assume doesn’t exist if you spend your time in the city centre. Plus, the bus did half the work for us, bringing us up the hill, so we didn’t have to walk it. A great plus when the person you are traveling with is equally as lazy and slightly hungover as you are. Which brings us to the chair lift, or “Zugligeti Libego”, which was an unexpected experience. As we arrived at the chairlift we bought our return tickets for our trip up and back down, but I quickly realized that this was more than we bargained for, we were quickly scooted up onto the lift and forced into a 1040m lift up the side of the hill. This, though simple, was a lot of fun. Well at least for a little while. Tom and I are both scared of heights and were greeted by a great challenge of fear vs. laziness in our decision to ride up instead of walking. It was so different from everything we had previously done and although scary, it was really funny and entertaining to watch Tom squirm in his seat as the lift bumped and slowed.
By the time we were nearing the top, we began to see snow, if that is any indication of how high we were. When we arrived, we hopped off the lift and vowed to find a different way down. From there we were on our way up, yes, more up than the 500m we had already gone. After walking up a little further you are greeted by a lookout point better known as “Erzebet Kilato”. This is the highest lookout yet, it is a small castle-like building with four levels. However, as we reached the top, it began to snow. That didn’t stop me from continuing on the theme of “facing my fears” and going to the top level while barely surviving being blown right off by the wind and snow. We wandered around, but there wasn’t a whole lot going on up there, and as it had been decided that we wouldn’t be taking the chairlift back down, we set off to find our alternate way down.
Instead we took a nice long walk through the forest to find our alternate way down- the children’s railway. But first a small hike, where I found myself constantly hoping we were going the right way. A 200m walk became no less than 1.4km. But the walked offered us a new break from the city and it’s smells. We took in the sights and smells of the hill as we made our way to the railway.
Finding the railway was like finding Narnia, it is a small building hidden in the forest with a few children playing on the tracks. (I guess here I should explain that the railway wasn’t made for children, but was made by and run by children). So here we found another delightfully weird experience. Being ushered onto the train by young children in uniforms who take their job extremely seriously. The ride down was more comfortable, we rode through the hills, with views of the countryside and the city as well as journey through the green surroundings.
Once at the bottom we rode back to the city. At this point the sun was already beginning to set. We headed back to the apartment where we stayed until Tom’s phone had enough power to go on and from there we went out for dinner.
We made our way back to the Buda side of the city for dinner to a cozy grill place, which was a great change from the Italian-Hungarian places that we had been eating at. (the most popular food style here). Here is where I realized how good of a day I had, I was tired, but in a good way and I was in good company. Yes, it was simple and nothing typically exciting happened, but it was good. A nice change from the super populated city, filled with many random experiences and new views. We chatted over dinner about our day and it was comfortable and relaxed, a feeling that I hadn’t really felt since arriving. And this feeling stretched over how I was feeling in the city, comfortable, relaxed, excited. The city’s weird secret places make it a trip for the books and this day especially.
The evening was no exception, we took tram #2 along the Danube to see the beautifully lit castle hill by night. Budapest is strange, its busy, populated and has a crazy night life but it is also home to many great attractions that they put on display by night for everyone to see. We ended the night like any friends hangout- watching Grease in the apartment. Once again, I realize that this may seem too simple to be part of my favourite day, but this is a small privilege that our cross border friendship lacked, being able to just chill together and watch movies. So there you have it, my favourite day. By the way, the simplicity of this day doesn’t mean my other days were boring, but in its casual nature triumphs over the rest. However, there are many other exciting experiences to share yet!