I was in Budapest for a long time due to it being Christmas. You may or may not know this but Christmas is a huge event in Europe. Majority of the shops are closed on the 25th and usually on the 26th as well, and some shops may be closed until the 27th. In addition, majority of the shops close early on Christmas Eve as well. Thus, I don’t feel like moving from one city to another city when I know that the attractions would be mostly closed. I chose Budapest to stay at for Christmas because of their famous baths. According to various websites, the baths would be open on Christmas day itself. Unfortunately, my period decided to be a little B and come earlier than I anticipated and it totally put a damper on my mood. I couldn’t go to the bath, not with my blood flowing like a waterfall. The worst part was, I did not even have a single sanitary pad on me. I had to borrow one from Gooka, and then run around the city looking for a shop that would actually be open on Christmas day. It took me hours, but I eventually found a small convenience store that opens at a later hour.
At Budapest, I went to the various Christmas markets, from the one near St.Stephen Basilica to the one near the Fisherman’s Bastion. I absolutely love Christmas markets. They are filled with stalls selling various types of merchandise and food. It is also the best place to try out various traditional food. Even though at this point I had went to at least 10 different Christmas markets, I still like exploring a new market. You never know what you could find. Maybe a soldier nutcracker, a king nutcracker, or a cute leprechaun nutcracker (I bought all three), or some affordable unique tree ornaments, chocolates in the form of shoes, or weird food that you haven’t seen before.
The picture above was a stuffed cabbage known as Töltött Káposzta. It was filled with mince pork meat with pickled cabbage on the side. It tasted great in the cold weather. The steaming hot air escaping from the cabbage as you cut into it, that first bite of a new dish? Heavenly! Gooka had a potato pancake but we didn’t like it very much. It was hard to cut into and it was much too salty (for me at the very least).
Obviously, we cannot go to Budapest and not try the chimney cake aka Kürtőskalács. I made the mistake before because I thought the chimney cake would be too sweet. It wasn’t, at least not the one from the stall we bought from. The sweetness was just right and Gooka and I were both crazy about it. There was something fun about eating chimney cake in the winter and looking at the various Christmas decorations.
If you are someone who likes to stand at a high place, then you must visit Fisherman’s Bastion. I refused to pay for the funicular ride that is less than 5 minutes, and chose to walk/hike instead. Given that I kept eating and trying new stuff, I figured it would be good for my figure to get as much exercise in as possible. It took me a long time, but given that there was nothing else to do on that day, time was a friend and not an enemy. The walk up the hill could be a little off-putting for someone who is not used to walking at an incline, but i think it is still manageable. The views at the top of the Fisherman’s Bastion was great especially when it was a sunny day and I can clearly see the whole city. I’d say that the overall design of Fisherman’s Bastion was quite unique as I don’t recall ever seeing anything like it in my trip.
While you are at it, you might as well visit the royal abode. The Salzburg Palace is in close proximity to the Fisherman’s Bastion and is worth a visit when you are on this side of Budapest.
If you have some time, then maybe take a walk down the Danube River and be reminded of the atrocity that used to happened to Jewish people living in Budapest. There is a monument there simply known as “Shoes on the Danube River”. Like the Lion of Lucerne, this is one of the monuments that tugs at the string of my heart, especially when I know about the history behind the shoes.
If you have trouble locating the shoes, just walk in the direction of the Parliamentary building which by the way, looks amazing at night. As usual, my phone is incapable of taking good photos without the proper lighting. Hence, the lack of photos. Oppo, did you get that?
My Budapest trip ended with me and Gooka separating and going our own way. But we believe that we would meet again, by chance or by fate.