After Vienna, I didn’t think that it could get much better, but Budapest might be my favourite European city to date. My bus arrived just after noon, and I set off in the vague general direction of McDaniel Europe–my home institution’s Hungary campus. There, of course, my dingus best friend had gotten confused about when we were meeting, so I ended up very grateful to myself for only having packed my messenger bag and a light tote bag for my blanket.
I had yet to eat at a restaurant on the trip and was doing well on money, so I decided to go to a cafe my friend had recommended–KönyvBár is a book bar and was my dream come true. Each week, it does a themed menu, and the book of the week was Jean-Gabriel Causse’s The Incredible Power of Colours, so while I waited, I was served a little glass jar that looked as if it were filled with crayons with sticks of different coloured peppers, beetroot, and carrot. I had mini bowls of three different soups in vibrant red, green, and orange–roasted red pepper, herb cream, and carrot soups–and I tried Hungarian dumplings from the regular main menu. While it was definitely more upscale, it still ended up only being ten Euro. (It seems an average meal off the street in Budapest would be around five.)
Since I wasn’t going to be in the country long, I didn’t get any Hungarian forints, but just used my card. A lot of places also took Euro.
I went through the City Park, or Városliget, home to Heroes Square with many impressive monuments, and more importantly featuring the Vajdahunyad Castle. I was so excited to see such a huge castle that looked as though it could still have knights walking out at any moment–though the ruins I’d been encountering were fascinating, this felt like the real deal. Unfortunately, since I was meeting my friends, I had to go through pretty quickly.
Back at the school, I met up with one of my best friends from high school and one of my best friends from college–two incredibly different people who I both love to death. I got to say hi to other people I go to school full time with before we went back to one of their apartments for me to finally dump my stuff.
We set out in search for a bathhouse, and this did not disappoint. My bruised and battered knees and especially my very tender foot really appreciated the relaxing evening. The place we ended up with was about 16USD or 4400 forints, on the higher end, but was open late and was mixed gender. We enjoyed the warm pools and the sauna, but I think our favourite part was going around and around the lazy river.
Back at my friend’s apartment, we cooked dinner and hung out with a couple of our friends, and it felt just like any other night last year where my close friends and I planned family dinners and did homework together–relaxing, peaceful, and well needed.