Why do I love this city so much? I adore it. Last time I was here, it was over 30 degrees everyday. We went to the lake, ran around the island, and spent a lot of time drinking on patios. This time, it’s Christmas. After every city I’ve gone to recently not having their market open or Christmas lights on, Budapest does. I’m hoping the amount of hot wine I’ve consumed since being here is acceptable because of the Christmas lights. Other than the things you should see all year round, these are the must do’s in the winter.
The Christmas Market
This is number one. I’ve spent almost every night here just walking around. There’s one market in Vörösmarty Square that opened November 11th this year, and the other in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica opened November 25th. Hot wine, langos, chimney cakes, goulash, and everything else I can’t pronounce are all sold here. Coming soon is the best things to eat at the market; that place is overwhelming. Things have gone up in price a bit everywhere in this city, and especially are more expensive in the tourist filled markets. Can you blame them though? Even if you buy your wine (or chimney cake) somewhere just outside the market, it’ll be cheaper, and it’s fun walking around looking all the decorations, cookware, and of course, the food.
This is the outdoor skating rink, and opens mid November. Last time I was here, I remember people using those little swan pedal boats where the ice is now. It’s by the castles and Hero’s Square. I find it really interesting that kids don’t wear helmets when skating. The last time I tried to go skating with the “skate with the players” thing with Robi’s old team, I was asked to put on a helmet. Survival of the fittest I guess? I saw a man here skating around with a weighted vest on as fast as he possibly could. Public skating terrifies me a little because there are so many people who think they’re athletes, and I don’t want to get run over by them. It was fun though. It’s such a big ice rink that it doesn’t really feel as busy as it is.
I had no desire to go here in the summer, but it’s cold out so I figured I should go at least once. We went to the biggest one, called Szechenyi Thermal Baths. This place is a maze. I didn’t realize how massive it was. I wanted to go from 6-8am so it was cheaper, but I didn’t wake up in the morning. There’s no other option other than to just buy a day pass, but I was over it after two hours. It was the most expensive bath I’ve ever taken. The water also smells like farts in some of the pools… It’s the sulfur and the other minerals that are supposed to be good for you. Did I make this place sound desirable?
The Budapest Eye
This wasn’t here in the summer, and apparently it used to be here permanently and was way bigger, but now it’s just a plain old ferris wheel with lights on it. It looks gorgeous lit up at night, but there’s not a chance I’m paying for that when you can get the same view from Fisherman’s Bastion. If I had more money to waste on dumb shit, I definitely would though- same deal as the London Eye.
I think I’m enjoying Budapest more the second time around. Whether that’s because of the hot wine, the fact that I absolutely hate the heat, if I’m just stoked to not be paying $16 for a beer anymore, or it’s actually better in the winter, I’m not sure. There’s so much to do even though it’s a bit cold, especially if you get lucky and have a few sunny days.
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