My first full day in Budapest, which is actually made up of two cities, Buda and Pest (pronounced Pessshhht), didn’t start until about 4pm. No, it wasn’t the jetlag. I had prescribed myself a cocktail of two benadryls before our flight and needless to say, I passed out before our flight even left the gate. I woke up to a sunny morning in Zurich where we had a layover (as you can’t fly direct from NYC to Budapest).
Nope, I have to admit day one was cut short because after an evening walking tour during which we got this perfect view of Buda Castle from the Pest side, I shamelessly responded to the tour guide when asked if anyone had any questions, “So…like…where do you go clubbing?” Twelve $3 vodka sodas later (did I tell you Budapest is INSANELY cheap), and we somehow stumbled back to our hotel at 6am. Our hotel was gorgeous by the way. We chose Boscolo because we wanted a 5 star hotel that was unique to Budapest (i.e. not a Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton). It didn’t hurt that this pretty thing only cost us less than a couple hundred a night.
We also decided on Boscolo because it’s home to New York Cafe, a breathtaking restaurant that pre-dates to 1894 when writers would come to drink coffee and pen stories under ornate fixtures that reminded me of the Louvre. We had tea and coffee to start, and then as a result of our miserable hangovers, proceeded to devour spaghetti bolognese and a hamburger that pretty much resembled a fancy big mac. Did I tell you the Hungarians were thrilled when the first McDonalds landed in Budapest?
To be honest, I would recommend only going to New York Cafe for the beautiful ambiance and just having tea and a pastry. The food was overpriced for Hungarian standards and most of the menu was American.Since I was feeling so sluggish, I threw on an easy sweater made interesting by ruffled sleeves and wore some jeans I had bought the night before when I realized I forgot to pack my favorite pair and only brought with me some insanely expensive, but splurgeworthy, Paige leather pants. Excuse the messy hair which was the result of a haphazard shower at 5:30am.
After eating, we walked around the Jewish neighborhood and visited the synagogue. One thing I didn’t realize about Budapest before visiting was that the city is home to some gorgeous architecture. It’s interesting because the gilded window accents and windy streets totally remind me of Paris or Vienna, but you can definitely feel the remnants of communism when you turn a corner and see an unrenovated building.The Synagogue was breathtaking and had these immaculate ceilings. I have to say, I found it more beautiful than even the Notre Dame in Paris or St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. The only religious site that I think tops this is La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We ended the day by walking across the Liberty Bridge and up a giant hill to Citadella, where I got this gorgeous sunset view of the city. Our day began with a rough start, and I mean ROUGH. I don’t know if it was the pound of carbs I ate or all the unique treasures of Budapest I saw, but by the end, I was cured and ready for day 2…which I can’t wait to show you come soon.