On The QT


Blogger: Clara Murphy

I recently went on a fleeting trip to the offbeat city of Budapest. It’s been impatiently sitting on top of my “Wanderlist” for months, mainly due to its popular reputation among fellow budget- conscious travellers. I couldn’t resist booking a last minute flight for only €52. Finally my optimistic trolling through of various airline websites resulted in more than just another stream of junkman.

A few days later I found myself riding the metro from Budapest airport to a stop name that I couldn’t pronounce, two friends in tow. We hadn’t even had time to book accommodation. Once we connected to the shaky wifi we were on our way towards the infamous Grandio Party Hostel which we jokingly dubbed the Grand Budapest Hotel after the 2014 film starring Jude Law and Ralph Fiennes.

The hostel may not have been very grand but it was undoubtedly the most outrageous place that I’ve ever stayed in. It was reminiscent of a Neverland theme park for its wanderlustful guests, safely protecting us against the grim outside world of real adulthood and responsibilities. The trees were decorated with forgotten shoes, the walls adorned with outlandish street art, the basement advertised as the “rave cave.” The staff played their roles as the Lost Boys with proud conviction as they pranced around the colourful courtyard in skintight leggings and kitschy kimonos. None wore shoes. All sported long unruly hair with matching beards. Their handsome Peter Pan was a Grandio legend – a 29 year old Australian who hadn’t left the hostel since he’d stopped by a number of years ago as a fresh-faced, stubble-free backpacker. He checked us in before we had time to squeak that we were in the wrong place. The three of us felt as alternative as Starbucks coffee. However, despite our doubts we ended up having a fantastic time. The Lost Boys took us on the Budapest Boat Tour where we leisurely cruised down the Danube River. My personal highlight of the trip was sipping on cheap champagne as we passed the dazzling Parliament Building.

Another favourite activity was visiting the iconic Budapest Baths. We chose the Széchenyi thermal baths, which is one of the biggest natural hot spring spa baths in all of Europe. I personally don’t find regular swimming pools to be all that entertaining, but the baths were a real treat and truly deserving of their prestige as one of Budapest’s greatest attractions. My little trio happily spent a few hours hopping between all 18 baths and were pleasantly surprised by how cheap the refreshing cocktails were; only €4 a glass! If you find yourself in Budapest without a swimsuit or towel then fear not for the baths offer reasonably priced rentals.

Budapest is known for its delicious cuisine and while we didn’t get to experience any upmarket dining, we did discover a few hidden gems. The Lost Boys recommended Bors Gasztro Bar in the Jewish Quarter for “the best soup and sandwich you’ll ever taste.” I was admittedly sceptical as we waited in a long line with Hungarian rap music booming onto the streets. However, my dreamy toastie was well worth the impatient wait. I was told to try their raspberry mint juice to match my sandwich and I can confirm that my tastebuds were well satisfied. I was even happier upon discovering that everything cost only just over €3! We also ate at a quirky Street-food venue which gave me the best cheeseburger I’ve ever tried complete with a generous serving of chunky crispy chips. Again, surprisingly inexpensive for less than a fiver.

Budapest was the Budabest indeed!


1 Comment

  1. Love this blog ❤ I have many happy memories of this great city. Thanks Clara.

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