We arrived in Budapest on a warm evening and let Tamas, our host, know we were coming. We grabbed a cab, and the taxi stand was super efficient! You order a cab and they hand you a receipt with the cab licence number and total fare; in this case 6.50 Euros; not very much for a 20 minute cab ride!
Our Budapest journey started in Bulgaria when I contacted the owner on vrbo.com and he said he had two apartments: One he wasn’t sure would be vacant, and one that wasn’t yet complete. He seemed very reputable (another use for LinkedIn!) and we had a WhatsApp call and sealed the deal. Next came the PayPal money transfer of deposit to him and he updated me on progress for the apartment. Would we be smelling wet paint for our stay? 🙂
We got to the apartment at Janos Pal Papa Ter (Ter = street), across from the park of the same name and were met by Tamas and his assistant and we walked in and said WOW.
The apartment is huge (three bedrooms) and across the street from a beautiful park. Of course the park is half normal people and half shouty/weird people, but it’s all good. Every morning without fail there’s been a brilliant sunrise and a warm breeze to greet us; as well as the tops of the trees.
It is mid summer and sometimes it rains, HARD. It’s fun to watch:
The very next day we grabbed our transport passes, we stuck with 24-hour group pass that gave us unlimited travel throughout the local network. The extra cost is worth it, epecially when you use the pass the next day too before it runs out. So of course we saw the train station at the end of the south western line on the Buda side of Budapest and then came all the way back and saw the station a couple of blocks away from our apartment.
We love our local subway station. It’s super tidy and the guy who checks our ticket knows us now and has been such a great help to us, even with our limited Hungarian and his limited English. These subway trains are automatic – they have no driver.
On another excursion we went toward the centre of town and found this great Pop Up Park! It’s wood was new (I love the smell) and it was a great place to sit and rest and watch the world go by.
We carried on to Vörösmarty Mihály szobra so we would know where to go for our walking tour; though we didn’t end up taking the tour until probably the third week of our stay here. It’s very touristy here (lots of shops like H&M) but also keeps an air of defiance as if it’s saying, “I’m still of historical importance”.
A music store a little closer to our apartment, on the main drag, had this great piano outside which we played at every opportunity. I’m sure they were glad we were outside instead of in, banging away on the keys. 🙂 Ms10 learned some piano lines from “The Sound of Music” and made her dad very proud. Mr7 had a good go too and danced. We met a woman from Split, Croatia (where we happen to be going later this year) and she gave us some great recommendations for when we’re there. Serendipity!
Wow, Szimpla Kert didn’t disappoint, it’s just around the corner from the piano. We had a quick snack at the pop up restaurants; the kids tried dry-ice-freezed ice cream, and we enjoyed the shade and the vibe. Felt a little like Portland, Oregon’s food cart scene.
Our hood is on the fringe of the updated downtown so that you get all types. It’s an up and coming area, and it fits with our mantra, don’t be too big for your boots. We love having Tesco on our block, just a few minutes away.
This was our view any day we went out for an adventure. It was all too easy to spend 3000 Forint on a 24 hour pass; There’s nothing I love better than to have someone else do the driving. 🙂
Our first week in Budapest was so smooth we wondered if we forgot something. We slid right into our travel routines without any interruption and nothing out of the ordinary happened, challenge-wise so that’s a bonus. Budapest, so far, is a city with a rich, if sometimes troubled, history, but that is currently experiencing quite a bit of economic success. There are a lot of homeless people here, though, which shows things are not perfect.
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