I spent 6 days in Budapest in August 2014 and was compelled to return to this cultural capital just a couple of weeks ago for another couple of days. It is always a good indication when you enjoy an experience, that you choose to return on a future vacation. I often hear from operators on the Great Northern Peninsula that before the season begins they have bookings from past guests that are coming back to experience more of this special place, we get to call “home”.
My first evening in Budapest, I walked by the breathtaking Parliament building and viewed the Palace and Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side of the river since I opted to stay on the Pest side of the city. Since I did not have a reservation, I was given the option of a 45 minutes time slot to enjoy a meal at a highly ranked traditional restaurant near where I was staying. Although, it was highly ranked by TripAdvisor, I opted to go to another restaurant. I feel sometimes these review sites can be a real curse at times, as they tend to create over capacity as tourists flock to those highly ranked spaces. There is certainly value in being reviewed and ranked by such sites.
I walked to a place called “Dracula” which was decorated with bats and themed to reflect cuisine from Transylvania. I ordered up the famed goulash soup, a traditional dish and an espresso, skipping dessert. The service was exceptional and the food extremely well prepared. The soup reminded me just how my grandmother use to make it.
One piece of decor captured my attention. It was the red sign that instantly made me smile – Praha or Prague. More than 7 years ago, living, studying and experiencing this city forever changed my life. It is where I met my European friends in which we have our annual reunions, it open my eyes to so many different cultures and where I fell in love only to return many many times and hope to have many more returns. Prague will always have a special place in my heart.
My morning included a nice breakfast of meats, cheese and pastry before I would walked many kilometers to do some shopping near the chain bridge, stopping to view the bronze shoes on the Danube (a memorial to the Jews killed in Budapest in World War II). In the afternoon I would finally tour the Parliament building (after-all this was my third trek and well lets say I have an interest in politics). The structure was as impressive inside as it was outside. The interpretative tour was of exceptional quality and well worth the entry fee (Note: EU citizens pay 1/4 of those outside the economic region pay).
That evening I would attend a jazz concert and listen to the up and coming stars. There were many concerts at this cultural facility, built only a decade ago. I really feel the nightly entertainment offering in Europe, whether large or small venues creates high-value for the tourist visiting. After the concert, I would return to my favourite restaurant in Budapest – “The Spoon”. It is a riverboat that has exquisite views to the Royal Palace and food to match. It is always nice to end a vacation on a high note – Budapest certainly would not disappoint.
From the starry nights to the early morning walks, I was in good company. Until the next visit, I’m sure the Spoon will be there waiting too!
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North)
That evening I would attend a jazz concert and listen to the up and coming stars.