Europe Hungary

Falling for Budapest

Aug 02

Budapest
My first memory of Budapest is walking along the Danube, bleary eyed and delirious after an early morning flight. Ambling along the river, I slowed my usual fast pace to marvel at beautiful bridges, grand buildings perched on hills, and picturesque yellow trams speeding along the riverfront. This initial moment remains etched clearly in my mind, but the entirety of my stay in the city is a blur of sunshine and humid nights, baths and bars, old-world charm and stunning architecture.

Budapest parliament Budapest Chain BridgeBudapest Street
To me, Budapest is a city of beauty and history, of unexpected surprises and a strong feeling of familiarity. My ancestry is rooted here; my grandparents were originally from Hungary, and the sights, sounds, and smells of the city overwhelmed me with nostalgia.

Budapest Castle Hill Budapest DanubeBudapest Bridge
Nowhere did I feel a stronger sense of sentimentality than at the Central Market Hall. Embroidered tapestries prompted memories of my grandmas kitchen and the countless hours we spent together making nokedli from scratch. Scents of spicy paprika and fried cabbage transported me to holiday dinners, crowded around a table filled with káposztás tészta, paprikás krumpli, kolbász and lecsó. The cadence of the Hungarian language seemed vaguely discernible, even with my basic understanding of only a few words.

Budapest Central Market Hall Budapest Central Market Hall2
My trip to Budapest was characterized by contrasts. I feasted on Hungarian dishes, some completely new and others I’d tasted dozens of times. I explored the lively, cosmopolitan restaurants and pubs along Gozsdu passage, and visited strikingly beautiful 13th century churches. I danced the night away at world-famous ruin bars and sipped craft ale from trendy beer gardens. I soaked in intimate Turkish-style baths with locals, and brushed shoulders with hundreds of tourists at the popular Széchenyi Baths.

Budapest Matthias Church Budapest Matthias Church2Budapest thermal bath
It wasn’t the nostalgia and familiarity, the unique ruin bars, or the grandiose baths that warmed me to Budapest; it was the simplest of moments that made me fall in love with the city. People watching in Erzsébet Square; strolling along Andrássy Avenue, photographing the beautiful Neo-Renaissance style facades; marvelling at the intricacies and elegance of the Parliament building illuminated at night.

Fleeting and insignificant as they may have been, it was in these moments I realized I had fallen for Budapest.

Budapest Castle Hill Night Budapest Parliament Night

Have you been to Budapest? What cities have you fallen for?

12 Comments

  • Reply Camille Aug 03 at 12:46 pm

    Yay, a new post! I love your description of Budapest’s atmosphere… I tend to fall for a lot (too many!) of the places I visit. Most recently, I was taken completely by surprise by Riga and started picturing myself living there!

    http://www.camilleinwonderlands.com

    • Reply ashleywanders Aug 03 at 8:51 pm

      Thanks, Camille! I can definitely relate – I tend to fall for too many of the places I visit, as well. I’ll admit I don’t know much about Riga, but I’m now intrigued since you loved it so much that you could picture yourself living there!

  • Reply Jenia Aug 03 at 7:11 pm

    We LOVED Budapest. Although we’ve heard plenty about the city before, we never expected to fall for it so hard. It’s truly magical. I am glad others out there feel the same way as we did!

    • Reply ashleywanders Aug 03 at 8:58 pm

      I’m glad to hear from fellow Budapest lovers 🙂 I’d also heard so many good things about the city before visiting, so I was worried it might not live up to my expectations – but it somehow managed to exceed them! It’s now easily one of my favourite cities!

  • Reply Kelly Aug 05 at 2:00 pm

    I’ve always had such a strong feeling that I would LOVE Budapest. From what I’ve heard about it (including what you’ve written in this post) it totally sounds like my perfect city.

    Yet, I always seem to fall hardest for the small towns anywhere I go, rather than the big cities. There’s never as much to do there, but I just love the quiet vibe and scenery that seems to come with smaller towns.

    • Reply ashleywanders Aug 06 at 8:43 am

      Budapest is such a cool city – I’m sure you would love it! I’ve fallen for quite a few small towns, as well! I’ll always prefer quiet, natural spaces as opposed to crowded, concrete jungles.

  • Reply Elle-Rose Williams Aug 05 at 9:18 pm

    These photos are fab!! And oh my gosh how adorable is that little car in the first photo? So cute!

    • Reply ashleywanders Aug 06 at 8:46 am

      Thank you, Elle-Rose 🙂 And I know – that car is ridiculously cute!

  • Reply Nadia Natalia Aug 07 at 3:50 pm

    OMG! The colourful roof tile on the church is just too pretty! Nice capture 😀

    http://www.hellofromtheroad.co

    • Reply ashleywanders Aug 08 at 7:04 pm

      Thank you, Nadia 🙂 That church is stunning!

  • Reply Marni Aug 14 at 8:21 pm

    Budapest has never been on my list, but it’s totally gorgeous! I could stare at the architecture of those buildings forever and not be bored. The nighttime photo of the bridge is stunning.

    • Reply ashleywanders Aug 17 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you 🙂 The architecture in Budapest is so beautiful – I basically walked around the city with my mouth agape the entire time!

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