Budapest diary #2

Every month, I publish a little (picture) diary from Budapest with the highlights of the past month. Here’s August! Summer was still in full swing this month, but unfortunately, I also got sick twice. That, plus recovery time, makes me feel like I’ve missed the whole month! My sister was in Budapest for 12 days, so most fun was had with her this month.

I barely had any plans in August: some Wombat events, training for my next half marathon, and working a ton before my sister got here, so I could spend a lot of time with her. My plans were messed up a bit when I got sick, so August definitely wasn’t my favorite month. I did really enjoy the time with my sister though!

I spent the first week of August in my bed, being sick. After that, I was able to do some work and go to the store for groceries, but still not feeling great. Luckily I felt a lot better when sister got to Budapest!

We did a lot of sightseeing in Budapest. We went to the closed down Szabadsághíd (Liberty bridge) on her first full day here, but we also walked around quite a lot and did a bus tour to see some of the main sights.

Of course, we also took advantage of the 30°C+ here in Budapest and made our way to the baths and beaches of Budapest. As this was my sister’s summer getaway, we chose to go sightseeing one day, and enjoy the sun, pools, and temperature the next. We went to Széchenyi first, but it was full and we were supposed to wait for people to leave. No way, so instead we did a bus tour and headed to Rudas the next day. It was perfect!

After that, we went to Palatinus Strand twice. We mostly wanted to enjoy the sun and pretend we were lying on a beach in Spain (like last year), so instead of paying extra for the thermal baths (that we didn’t want to use at this time anyway), we opted for the cheaper option with a lot of space to lie down. We were also planning to go to Lake Balaton in the second week, but the weather cooled down, so we didn’t.

Oh, don’t worry though! I made her promise to come back in the fall/winter and I’m sure we’ll go and appreciate the thermal baths then 😉

Rudas gyógyfürdő
Döbrentei tér 9

Palatinus Strandfürdő


August 20th was one of Hungary’s national holidays: St. Stefanus day. It’s like the July 4th of Hungary, where they celebrate the birth of their kingdom (at that time) and their first king, St. Stefanus (or St. István in Hungarian). It’s celebrated by a flag ceremony in the morning, a procession with St. Stefanus’ hand during the day, and fireworks at 9 p.m. And a lot more festivities, such as a traditional market at Buda Castle, free entrance to most museums, something with bread (I think they bless bread to pray for food in the next year?), and special country cake.

We mostly focused on getting better that day, as I got food poisoning a few days earlier and this was a Sunday. In the evening we went out to the river with Julika to enjoy the spectacular fireworks show. It took a good half hour, but the view right before the show was also amazing. Afterwards, I took my sister to the Parliament to show her one of my favorite (solved) mysteries in Budapest (the flying lights above the Parliament).

As I said, we did a lot of sightseeing. Especially in the second week, when the weather cooled down and it was nicer to walk around all day. (Did you notice I’m even wearing long jeans? After four months of 30°C weather, I’m so ready for sleeves, scarves, and blankets!)

As huge Sissi fans, we couldn’t skip Matthias church. We enjoyed the Fishermans bastion and I was so happy to complain about too many rude tourists together with my sister. I missed her! But seriously, tourists wanting to take pictures with the view from Fishermans bastion are seriously the worst. Nobody can stand in their picture with them, but they can spoil everybody else’s pictures.

Anyway, we quickly walked to Buda Castle to enjoy the view from there instead. We must’ve stayed there for almost an hour! We got to see the changing of the guards (I didn’t even know that was a thing here) and admire the Hungarian traffic as it regulated itself around an accident on the Chain Bridge before the police arrived.

We had a goodbye-dinner with a friend of mine, where one of the other guests told us we should visit Jánoshegy and the Erzsébet lookout tower. It had been on my list for a while and I thought it was a good idea to take walk through nature. Some peace and quiet after all those tourists on Castle Hill.

On our last outing together, my sister and I went to Esztergom, one of the oldest cities in Hungary. It has quite some history, but the highlight for us was definitely to be able to walk across the bridge into another country (Slovakia)! So cool.

We spent the whole afternoon in Esztergom (and an hour in Slovakia, haha), just walking around the sights, the main square, and taking pictures of each other and together. A very relaxed last day together, I’d say.

After my sister left, it was back to daily life for me. Back to work, the gym and running, doing errands, etc. This picture is after running 11 km on Margitsziget, my favorite running spot in Budapest. So far.

I also went to Arkád shopping mall with Stacey. There’s a huge Spar there and even though they also don’t have everything we want or need (what is it with those supermarkets here?), we did have a good time at Ikea, spotting shops we want to visit next time (we usually go to WestEnd City Center), and testing makeup at Müller.

I’m definitely excited for September to start. It always feels like New Years 2.0 for me. Is that weird? Anyway, I’ve written down some goals for me and I’m excited for a new month! The most important Budapest-plan for this month is the half marathon weekend when I also have two friends visiting who’ll also be running!

How was your August? And what are your plans for September?

Petra in Budapest
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