Budapest Part 2: Daylife

This entry is part 8 of 13 in the series Bucharest to Brussels:

  1. Bucharest to Brussels – Introduction and Our Route
  2. Munich, Germany
  3. All Roads Lead to Rome, Part I
  4. Bucharest, Romania
  5. Brasov and Dracula’s (Bram) Castle
  6. Smaller Cities of Transylvania
  7. Budapest part 1: Sziget Festival
  8. Budapest Part 2: Daylife
  9. Budapest Part 3: Nightlife and Food
  10. Vienna and Salzburg, Austria
  11. Berlin, Germany
  12. Beer Around Belgium
  13. Biking to the Best Beer in the World
It's not too often you get to see a 1000-year-old mummified hand!

It’s not too often you get to see a 1000-year-old mummified hand!

For the other four days we were in Budapest and not at the Sziget festival, we ended up falling in love with Budapest and its eclectic neighborhoods. While we were there, we did a usual “free walking tour” that took us to many of the main sites around Budapest. Some of the highlights for us were the Castle District, which afforded some great views of the city, the Danube River, and the parliament building directly across. Another highlight was St. Stephen’s Church. The church itself wasn’t especially exciting, but seeing the 1000-year-old mummified hand of St. Stephens certainly was!

We also really enjoyed going to Varosliget park and neighboring Heroes’ Square. The monument and park were nice, but we most enjoyed the recreated castle park which featured replicas of some of the most famous castles in Hungary. Since we were only going to Budapest, this made us happy! We also really enjoyed leering into the Szechenyi baths, one of the biggest and most famous in Budapest.

Beautiful interiors of the Kellert baths

Beautiful interiors of the Gellert baths

Although we didn’t go to Szechenyi, the day after Sziget we went to the Gellert baths, another of the bigger, more touristy (and non-nude) Hungarian bath houses in town. We wanted to go to one of the more “local” ones, but they are still segregated and neither of us wanted to spend all day alone with naked Hungarian retirees. The Gellert baths are located inside the Gellert hotel, next to Gellert Hill (which we hiked up after our “bath” and got an even better view of the city). There are two pools outside, one of which is a wave pool, and also a dry sauna for sweating out the festival beer. Inside, there is one large pool and 5 additional thermal pools (heated at different, warmer temperatures), as well as wet and dry saunas and a variety of massage facilities. The whole building was incredibly ornate, and we spent just as much time oo’ing and ah’ing at the architecture and decorations as we did relaxing in the pools. It was a great day there, and is a definite must-do in Budapest.

Make sure to look out for the T-Rex on the loose at the Miniversium!

Make sure to look out for the T-Rex on the loose at the Miniversium!

We also did a couple of nerdier things while in town. The first was going to the Miniversium, which is a massive model train exhibition that recreates Budapest and several Hungarian and central European cities on a smaller scale. It was incredibly impressive to see the level of detail – each country had the correct trains, there were everything from vacation sites to farms to firemen extinguishing a building. If you looked carefully, you could even see a triceratops and a t-rex on the lamb!

Budapest is also the place where breakout rooms were invented. You may remember we did one in both Singapore and Prague and really loved the challenge, so we thought we’d try to keep our victory streak alive at one of the original rooms. We did really well, but we our time ran out on the final puzzle, leaving us a few minutes short of victory. It was a bit frustrating, but still a lot of fun and a good challenge.

We had a fantastic time in Budapest during the day, and as you’ll read, a great time at night there as well. It was a really fun city with a ton to do, and we would definitely like to return one day.

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