Springtime in Europe has certainly arrived! I just had Spring/Easter Break, and I went to Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria with my (Danish) boyfriend, Anton. We also stayed one night in Riga, Latvia!
Note: SUPER UNFORTUNATELY, I left my camera on the train from Budapest to Vienna, and so I don’t have the SUPER CUTE pictures I took of us in Budapest 😦
Note 1.5: I’ve got my camera back!! Check out the new photos here.
Note 2: Alternate title for this post “In which I shed my red winter coat and prepare for springtime”
Budapest was by far my favorite place we visited. Did you know that Budapest is actually Buda (hilly) and Pest (flat)? They’re separated by the Danube, and connected by the Széchenyi bridge.
On our first day there, Anton and I walked alllll around the city:
- Lunch (a traditional street food called lángos) was at the Grand Market, and then we walked down Váci (the pedestrian walking street)
- We walked along the river and crossed the Széchenyi bridge (with the lions!) to Buda.
- Kürtőskalács (chimney cake!) are delicious!
- We walked up to the old fortress–we sat on the wall of the fort and soaked up some rays!
- We walked to Fisherman’s Bastion, which is a fortress from the 800s, where fisherman would watch the river and guard the city
- Then we went into Matthias Church, a beautiful Roman Catholic church. It was so beautiful! I wish I had the photos I took, but here are some from Wikipedia that are also pretty decent, haha.
Then we were suddenly exhausted and starving, so we walked down the hill (felt like mountain!) and got lunch/pre-dinner snack at an outside cafe. We had delicious sausages and bread and beer and mango lemonade 🙂
By the time we were finished, it was almost dinnertime, haha! We got coffees from a Costa (British chain) to warm us up while we walked to the Parliament building. Here are some more pics from Wikipedia 🙂
We watched the sunset on the water, by the Jewish monument “Shoes on the Danube.” We had dinner at another cafe (paninis and wine special for EUR 5!) and got complimentary shots of pálinka, a super strong liquor made from apricots (blech!). Our table was next to this British couple (bankers from Kent), and they bought us this dobos torte and Hungarian dessert wine that tasted like honey (much better than the pálinka) and talked to them about their travels and our studies and everything people talk about when they happen to sit next to each other in a foreign country and happen to speak English 🙂 It was very spontaneous and fun!
The next day we took a revitalizing dip in the Széchenyi baths! What an experience! There were over ten different pools, three large ones outside, and TONS inside. They varied from 60ºF to 105ºF and some were smelly with minerals and other good stuff. We were there all morning, and emerged refreshed and pruny (pruney? –saturated with water with our fingers and toes all wrinkly). Starving, we set out in search of food, and found these gelato roses! Mine was pistachio and strawberry, the best mix of salty and sweet 🙂 We had dinner at a great Indian restaurant, and then went to a quirky ruin bar!
The next morning, we set out on train for Vienna. It’s so crazy that it only takes 2.5 hours and then you can be in a totally different country that speaks a totally different language and has a totally different culture and has a totally different vibe.
Since it was Easter weekend, many of the shops (and even grocery stores!) were closing/closed. So in Vienna, we mainly walked around and hung out in parks, soaking up as much sun as possible 🙂
Our trip ended with an 18-hour layover in Riga, Latvia. It felt SO Eastern European! We stayed in this AirBnb halfway between the airport and the center of the city. It was so strange to see the quality of living there after just coming from Vienna. There were scruffy dogs and cats everywhere! But hey, that’s how it is traveling as college students all around Europe, right? Our building was full of old grandmas and cats, and the whole situation was so hilarious that we were very lighthearted and silly about it 🙂
It’s finally getting warmer in Copenhagen now!! Springtime in Europe is so lovely to watch–all the cafes take their warming lamps and blankets from their outside tables, and all the shops have their doors open. People are starting to shed their black clothing, and I’ve even seen some girls in skirts without tights!!
PS-I feel very safe in Copenhagen. My friends studying abroad are safe too–Jobelle was in Berlin when the Brussels attack happened, and she’s back safe in London now.
PS-I had dinner with Anton’s family last night and brought them a little bit of Kansas 🙂