Here we are again for the weekly Sunday blog and this one is, hopefully, going to be a good read!
When I first interviewed for this job I knew I would have three weeks of work, then a two week ‘winter break’. It sounded like a pretty good deal. Who turns down a two week paid holiday? Not me!
Thankfully, Flixbus is a godsend. I think most people have heard of it but if you haven’t, it’s like Megabus. Super cheap buses that travel across Europe at all hours of the day and night. I had some savings in my UK account and scouted the internet for Flixbus promo codes – it took a while but I found three in the end and saved about a tenner!
I decided that the best route would be:
Budapest – Bratislava – Vienna
I booked an overnight, 12 hour coach from Warsaw to Budapest and was already freaking out about it! Anyone who really knows me should know that I hate long journeys, so I really surprised myself by doing this.
Off I go!
I finally arrived at 10am, after eating 5 sandwiches, a bag of crisps and an entire bag of pepper and carrot sticks! Piggy.
I walked from the Népliget bus station all the way into the city centre, which took about an hour, because I was determined not to pay for public transport. God knows why I decided that?!
My instant reaction was that I hated it. I thought it was so dirty, old, uncared for. It almost felt like culture shock, but it softened once I finally hit the city centre. Although I did find it extremely dirty everywhere, I was quite fascinated by the buildings and how many coffee shops there were.
First stop: Budapest Baristas for an amazing coffee and croissant.
Some other places I enjoyed throughout the day were
- Dohany Street Synagogue
- St. Stephen’s Basilica
I stayed in Caterina Private Rooms, which was just lovely because I had an entire room to myself, except for one guy who came in at 9, went to bed and left again at 7. The lady was lovely and also provided a small breakfast. Toast, cereal, coffee, etc.
And on Sunday I walked from the hostel up to the amazing Heroes’ Square and then to Vajdahunyad Castle (which was first built in 1265!). It was unbelievably magical and like stepping into a Disney film. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I wish I could have stayed forever (but -5 and feeling frostbite starting to form).
Then I walked over to Magrit bridge to cross the river and explore the other side, Buda.
I also really enjoyed exploring
- Buda Castle
- Matthias Church
and just walking along the river.
P.S here’s a little video of Budapest *click*
My bus left at 6:30pm at took 3 hours, finally arriving at the hostel around 10:15pm and the taxi only cost me £3! Unbelievable.
As soon as I walked through the door I could hear football and an English accent – I put my head round the common room door and someone said “Hey! Come and join us!”
So I ended up making 5 new friends and staying up until 3am talking about different countries, going to the kebab shop and watching the Hangover. I’ve never had such a nice hostel experience before!
After a crappy sleep, some of us went for breakfast at this wonderful book shop and cafe – Foxford
The snow was falling fast and heavy, like I’d never seen before! It was so beautiful but so inconvenient. Two of us went on a free walking tour around the city, but as we were the only two that showed up it was really cool!
A few of my favourite places were
- The Blue Church
- The Theatre
- St Michael’s Tower
- The most narrow street in Europe
I also discovered that my super expensive, German, waterproof boots are not so waterproof and we made a quick stop at the mall – Thank god for Sports Direct – and I bought some new socks and wellies. LOL!
My friend had clearly done more research into the city than I had, because he knew all the restaurants and places to go. We went to this AMAZING old theatre called the Bratislava Flag Ship Restaurant and had some traditional food – pierogi with sheeps cheese, bacon and something else I can’t remember. It was so bloody good. And cheap!
We walked around these huge gardens, completely covered in snow and not another person in sight. It was beautiful. Grassalkovich Gardens in front of the palace.
We found a cafe called Bieber (lols) and then I needed a nap. My feet hurt so much from walking around Budapest for so many hours!
In the evening we found this awesome pizza and pasta restaurant which served beers the size of my head (see below for proof) and the atmosphere was lovely.
Thanks GREAT for a super dinner.
And the night ended with just the two of us walking up to Bratislava Castle, checking out the view and trying to figure out what were stars, planets or planes (safe to say I lost that game!)
On Tuesday morning I had the most amazing pancakes and coffee at FACH!
Followed by a wander across the river and through these beautiful gardens
a bit of shopping and a bloody amazing lunch at Basilico 🌿
Thankfully the bus to Vienna was just over an hour and I managed to get a nap in. The taxi from the station to the hostel was £13 and I had absolutely no energy to explore so I found an amazing Chinese restaurant just 2 minutes away and had a fantastic meal. And ordered in Chinese!
I felt really at home and it was lovely to be surrounded by Chinese culture again.
Wednesday morning I treated myself to pretzels and an Apfel schorle (Although in Austria they called it Apfel Gespritz – why?!) before heading over to the amazing Schoenbrunn Palace. What a place!
I also found a wonderful independent cafe called GOTA coffee and sat there for a while, realizing that my level of German was atrocious and should probably have some lessons.
I took the train into the city centre and every building was absolutely gorgeous.
I started at the Naschmarkt, and found it extremely difficult to not eat all of the hummus, chocolate and other amazing foods for sale, and wandered up to the National Library.
The Library is one of the most beautiful, amazing, fascinating places I’ve ever stepped foot in. I’m sure security thought I was an absolute nutter as I just sat on a bench staring up at the ceiling. I wanted to cry it was so beautiful. It’s 8 Euros entry but I absolutely recommend it (plus, you don’t have to pay to use the toilet there so make the most of that!)
In the city centre there are tonnes of shops, cafes, restaurants and fabulous buildings and my favourite was definitely St. Peter’s Church.
In the evening I took the train up to the Rathaus where they still had an ice-skating rink and loads of lovely stalls selling Gluhwein, snacks and gingerbread hearts.
My review of Vienna is staggered, I know, because that’s how I explored it. I was absolutely exhausted, my body ached and I was fighting off this bastard episode of depression.
I went back to the Chinese restaurant for dinner and had an amazing veggie sushi box. I would absolutely eat that every day if I could!
On Thursday I took a 10 hour coach from Vienna back to Warsaw, because as much as I wanted to visit another city, I was mentally and physically done.
I had the most amazing 5 and a half days and I wish I could download my memories and turn them into a movie because it was all just so fantastic. I met some lovely people in each city and even made some friends.
I’m so proud of myself for getting on that 12 hour coach in the first place because this is definitely now one of my favourite holidays.
Lots of love xo