16 Hours in Budapest

Budapest wasn’t on the itinerary for this trip. We went five years ago, and while we liked it, we tend to travel General Sherman style–we burn through our checklist with the expectation that we will never return. We have never burned down a city.

Geographically it didn’t make sense to add this city, but it was the easiest way to travel from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Novi Sad, Serbia. As we exit the EU and the Schengen Zone, direct routes may no longer be possible. It will be fun to see what surprise cities we add to the itinerary as we work our way through the Balkans.

Lake Bled is a beautiful lake town in the mountains of Slovenia. We spent a few days enjoying the sunshine and walking around the idyllic lake. At night we could see the stars and we found an app to help identify constellations.

Moving onward we had the goal of going directly east to Serbia, but hours of research proved to me that it wasn’t possible. We had to add an extra 500km to the journey by changing busses in Budapest. We might as well spend the night and revisit the gorgeous capital of Hungary.

Once again we found ourselves with a short window and a concentrated itinerary: fancy Hungarian dinner, night stroll along the Danube to Parliament, and my favorite building in the world in the morning: Fisherman’s Bastion. It sits on a hill above the banks of the Danube River and it looks like a sandcastle. My future house will look like this and I know my neighbors will love me.

Perfectly placed behind it is the beautiful Matthias Church.

The best Hungarian restaurant in the city, Retek Bistro, sits around the corner from our hostel. It has five tables and usually requires reservations, but we tried our luck with a walk-up since it was a Monday night. They gave us their last table, and the next fifteen couples to walk up were turned away. This place is really popular. We had a delicious paprika goulash and two stews with dumplings. The service was fantastic too. We plan to eat well for the next few weeks.

We ended the evening with a night stroll along the Danube to admire the buildings illuminated against the dark night sky. It was another perfect day.

4 thoughts on “16 Hours in Budapest

  1. Barry Calfee

    I just got back from Palm Springs and our eventful trip…..
    Budapest looks wonderful. One of Mom’s friends, Gizella is from Hungary and traveling back
    in June. She has brought us some dishes to try at different times.


  2. Rob & Cathy

    Valarie & Aaron,

    We’ve really enjoyed your blog, but I’m taking notes from this entry since Rob & I are going on a river cruise and ending in Budapest this June. You’ve given us some good information we can use. Thanks! Enjoy the rest of your trip,
    Cathy & Rob


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