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Budapest Beckons

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Being British, we’ve come to accept train delays as inevitable in one way or another, in particular on long journeys. The Zagreb to Budapest train was certainly one-of-a-kind the train crawled through the Croatian and Hungarian countryside on a baking hot afternoon. At one point near the border the train stopped and we were all told we’d be waiting at the station an hour, which wasn’t ideal but we all gathered we could use the fresh air and a cold drink. To our dismay though, our train started pulling away with the vast majority of our luggage on-board as we were queueing, only to reappear 20 minutes later with more carriages attached at one end! By the time we reached Budapest (significantly later than planned) our train had at least three times the number of carriages than it started with!

We were privileged to stay in both Buda and Pest whilst in the Hungarian capital and both aspects of the city have their own unique flair! Buda is characterised by the Castle District, including the stunning Royal Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion and Gellert Hill, all looking down onto the Danube and in particular, the Chain Bridge. The architecture is astonishingly beautiful and the views are without a doubt the best of what we have experienced on our journeys thus far!

Over the Chain Bridge and you enter Pest, the urban hub of the city, where the jaw-dropping Parliament Building and Andrassy Avenue (designed by the same architect as the Champs Elysees in Paris) are located, as well as hundreds of nightclubs, local parks and restaurants. At the end of Andrassy Avenue lies Heroes Square, a memorial to the Magyar who settled in the region in 896AD. To our wonder though, just to the side of Heroes Square lay the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, which offered some heavenly relaxation after two and a half weeks of exhausting exploration throughout Europe!

Budapest is a truly beautiful city, but a la Rome you will need your walking shoes, as there is plenty to see and do at all times of the day! In our perspective, the city is at its most attractive at night; you’ll have to trust us and see it with your own eyes, you won’t be disappointed!

But of course, we can’t mention Budapest without mentioning the brilliant and bizarre Sziget music festival, held on one of the cities’ Northern Islands. Having never been to a festival of this scale before, we were both awestruck at the sheer variety of events, activities, food and drink on offer, and that’s before we get to the music! Any festival where you can play Beach Volleyball one minute, circulate a gigantic Ferris Wheel the next and dance the night away with thousands of other festival-goers to some of the best new music around the next is certainly an experience neither of us will ever forget! We loved it so much that we decided to head back the following day to dance the evening away once again!

We will miss you greatly Budapest and we shall definitely come back and explore more of Hungary one day! But the neo-gothic wonder of Prague awaits us next and we can’t wait to explore another new city!

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