I will confess that I rather enjoy East European countries better than any other European country honestly. The reasons are countless, be it that they are fairly unexplored due to being ruled by communism until the 90s. If you decide to visit an East European country you shall be prepared to dive in rare glimpses of old European glamor, rich history and architecture. Times has stopped in those countries and few old traditions are well preserved, the West feels very far.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at Roombach Hotel Budapest Center and I believe it must be the best hotel I’ve stayed in. It wasn’t only because of the good breakfast, clean room and location. The service, the people were the kindest and that’s what matter’s after all.
What we ate:
The Hungarian cuisine is actually quite heavy in terms of calories and meat. I would recommend visiting HB Lounge and Bar not only for the food but the view. We had the best Japanese food (in Hungary!) at Nobu restaurant. While this part of Europe does not enjoy the same economic prosperity as the rest of Europe, in terms of entertainment you shall expect the best at a rather fair price. Another interesting place we tried was Edeni Vegan restaurant. I had never tried vegan or raw vegan before, I can’t even name some of the ingredients, but it tasted good.
What to wear:
This is where things will get interesting. I was telling M. the other day, next time I visit Russia I need to pack my prettiest clothes with me. East European women are truly stunning and take very good care of themselves. I would rather advise you in addition to pretty clothes, pack comfortable shoes for Budapest, attention cobblestone pavements!
Where to shop:
I honestly did not pay much attention to shops but I did manage to buy a pair of vintage 70s velvet trousers at Ludovika.You will notice the usual suspects such as Zara and H&M on the main shopping streets. I would recommend visiting Young Hungarian Fashion Designers shops as well. M. experienced a traditional barber haircut at this very retro look place, women not allowed inside!
Budapest can be distinguished into two parts by the Danube river, Buda and Pest. Buda is by far the most beautiful part.
With M. speaking Russian we can easily get around in east European countries, it hasn’t been the case in Budapest. Hungarian belongs to the Uralic language family and it doesn’t ring like anything I’ve heard before. In fact, I found it very hard to keep up with the history city guides, as I couldn’t actually apprehend even the names of historical figures.
Nevertheless, I was very impressed to learn Hungary had been for nearly 2 centuries under the Ottoman empire. Excluding the traditional Turkish baths, there are no other traces of the Ottoman conquest, by that I mean no churches converted into mosques. If you do wonder how in heaven’s name I thought this sort of things. Albania was under the Ottoman empire for 4 centuries, the dark ages as it’s named in our history books.
The Liberty bridge
Taxis in Budapest are yellow, it exudes New York vibes, doesn’t it?!
The Buda castle
View of the parliament from the HB Lounge & Bar
The barber shop
The highlight of this trip for me was a glass of wine while listening to live music (you did as well through my Instagram stories). High ceiling, sparkly chandelier and the angelic voice of the 60s pinup girl. A boy sitting shoulder to shoulder with a girl, counting on good health and many more trips to come.