Hello my loves!
How are you?
Have you seen the latest news about the movie “The Spy Who Dumped Me” (TSWDM), with our beloved Sam Heughan in the cast?
Well, on July 25th there was the premiere of TSWDM (which you can watch our coverage here) and Sam participated in many events and programs to promote the film, including an interview to Jimmy Kimmel Live on the 26th, where he emphasized how much he fell in love with the city of Budapest, one of the cities where the film was filmed.
Inspired by the interview of our Carrot Cake and the premiere of “The Spy Who Dumped Me“, scheduled for tomorrow (Friday, August 3rd), I decided to show you a little more about this magical city that also conquered my heart, so you can understand why Sam speaks so much about the place.
“For safety measures, keep your seat belt buckled during the entire flight, even when the warning light is off. Attach the ends to close it and pull the tip to fit it to the body. To open it, simply lift the buckle from the top.”
You, dear reader, may think that Budapest is just the name of George Ezra‘s song, but this is the name of the sixth largest city in the European Union, Hungary’s most populous city and main financial and cultural center of the country.
The city of Budapest is divided into two sides:
- the Buda side, which is the side of the hill, the most historic of the city, where most of the tourist attractions are concentrated;
- the Pest side, which is the flat side of the city, making walking easier, as well as being the busiest and most modern part.
The city is divided by the Danube River (the same from the valse) and the BEST way to get to know the city is to take a boat trip on the river as soon as you arrive in Budapest.
With the tour, you will have a better spatial notion about the city and, if you opt for the night tour, the view will be priceless! If it were up to me, I would do this tour every night because it was an indescribable experience!
Although it is a city full of beautiful and interesting sights, three days are enough to get to know Budapest, especially if you are on an eurotrip and have other cities planned on your schedule, as it is a relatively small city.
Although Hungary is part of the European Union, the local currency is not the Euro!
The official currency of the country is the Hungarian Forint (HUF), which in Hungarian is called forint (Ft).
1 Dollar is equivalent to 273,99 Hungarian Forints (US$ 1,00 = Ft 273,99)
You must have realized that I always try to teach a few words in the language of the place that I present in the posts, right?
In Budapest you do not have to worry about learning more than the basics keywords in the local language, because Hungarians speak English very well. They understand that their language is extremely challenging and does not look anything at all like English.
So if you are planning a trip to Budapest or any other city in Hungary, here are some words and phrases that can help (a lot) your tour.
Hungarian food is very spicy (“very” still not enough to describe it, actually…).
Meat is the main item in the menus and spices like paprika and onion are used in
all almost every dishes.
I think the best known Hungarian dish is the Goulash soup, which is made with meat, vegetables and, of course, a lot of paprika!
SIS’ alert: if you do not like spicy food, you will be hungry! So try to eat as much as you can, do not be ashamed to ask if it is possible to take off or reduce the pepper or paprika…explain that your taste is accustomed to softer flavors. But if you can not take the paprika, have a gastric protector nearby and drink lots of water or neutral juices, like apple!
When I went to Budapest, I simply abominated anything spicy and suffered at first to eat. But after 1 or 2 days, when I was already leaving, I got used to eating spicy things until today here in Brazil (Thanks, Budapest, you’re beautiful, because you set me free!)
- Where to stay
Budapest has many charming hotels and hostels in the city, but I will indicate a hotel that I know and trust, as it was where I stayed and my experience was incredible.
I stayed at the Budapest Marriott Hotel, located right on the bank of the Danube River (if you are afraid of insects, do not worry! I did not see a single insect when I was there and I went in the middle of summer).
Besides the wonderful location, the hotel has amazing views!
The hotel has 342 rooms, 22 of them are suites, spread over 10 floors, as well as having a car park recharger for electrics cars, garage (US$ 3,50 per hour or US$ 35,00 per day) and internet for guests.
If you want to stay in Marriott, click here or search for offers on websites like Booking and Trivago.
It is possible to know much of the city on foot, but if you do not feel like walking a lot, that’s okay! With tram line 2 (yes, tram! The trolley cars are so charming) or to any of the four subway lines, you will get to most of the sights in the city.
The city has more than 40 tram lines that cross the whole center, with Line 2 being the most important, as it runs along the eastern bank of the Danube River and has stops at all the sights on the banks of the Danube from Pest side, including the Chain Bridge, the Parliament and the Central Market.
A single ticket costs 350Ft (US $ 1,28), but you can opt for the Budapest Card, which offers free tickets to the Budapest History Museum, the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts and the National Gallery Hungarian, plus a 20% discount on the guided visit to the Opera House and 10% to 40% off in some restaurants.
Budapest Card prices are approximately:
– US$ 25,66 for 24h;
– US$ 38,50 for 48h;
– US$ 51,32 for 72h;
– US$ 63,00 for 96h;
– US$ 74,65for 120h.
- Where to go
The Budapest Parliament is the third largest parliament in the world and a great icon of the city.
Built between the years 1884 and 1902, the Parliament was considered the greatest construction of the time, demonstrating the economic power of Hungary at the beginning of the century.
Also known as the Royal Palace, this castle was once the residence of the Hungarian kings.
Today, the Palace houses the Budapest History Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery and the Széchenyi Library.
Also known as Lion’s Bridge, this is the oldest bridge in Budapest and joins the Buda and Pest side of the city.
Before the construction of this bridge, the Danube was only crossed by boat and the bridge took 20 years to be built, only to be inaugurated in 1849.
During World War II, the Germans blew up all the bridges of Budapest, which demanded a reconstruction that tried to be as faithful as possible to the original bridge. The reconstruction was inaugurated in 1949, exactly 100 years after the first version.
SIS’ Tip: This bridge is incredibly wonderful and has even appeared in movies and clips such as Katy Perry‘s Firework. It is a beautiful walk at any time of day, but if you have the opportunity to cross it at night, do not miss this tour!
The Fishermen’s Bastion is an observatory which sits atop the hill of Buda and offers an indescribable view of the Pest side.
Besides the view, the Bastion is close to Matthias Church and Buda Castle, so you can enjoy the 3 points in a single stop.
The Matthias Church is officially called the Church of Our Lady, it is the most famous Catholic church in Budapest and was once the site of great royal marriages and coronations.
The Budapest Opera House was financed by the then Emperor of Austria and King of Bohemia, Francis Joseph I, who demanded that this one was not greater than the Vienna Opera.
From the outside of the building you can enjoy sculptures of famous musicians and composers.
Heroes’ Square has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and has statues honoring the leaders of the seven tribes that founded Hungary.
Budapest has several Spas, such as Széchenyi Baths, one of the largest thermal venues in Europe, and Gellert Baths, which is the best known in the city and appears in various magazines and advertisements.
Philanthia Flower Shop and Váci Street
It may seem very weird me indicating a flower shop as a tourist spot, right? But the Philanthia Flower Shop is a flower shop that was inaugurated in 1906 and has a different architecture of everything that, added to the decoration, will make you feel like on a fairy tale!
They sell wonderful flowers, including artificial flowers, but what I love most about the store is the ornaments. If you love to buy treats when you travel, you’ll love this shop!
The Váci Street is pedestrianized and an elegant street in Budapest. In this street you can spend a beautiful afternoon and see shops of all styles and prices. It’s a great family outing.
So…did you like Budapest? I fell in love with the city and I really plan to return, so I do not condemn Sam for talking so passionately about there.
By the way, is anyone going to Budapest that could take me too? Promise to be a good company.
Proofreader (Portuguese): Manu