travel diaries | 48 hours in Budapest
Updated: Jun 3
Amara Amaryah | travel + books + poetry, always poetry. a platform for story-telling, visuals, positive self-talk and empowerment.| 48 hours in Budapest.
i’m back with my travel diaries and i couldn’t be happier. today i am sharing my wanderings from my 48 hours in budapest. solo travelling to budapest allowed me full autonomy over what i wanted to do. ofcourse, 48 hours is not a very long time to get a full feel of a city. and i don’t use this post to pretend that i did. in my last travel post about solo travel tips + lessons, i discuss the reality of this.
budapest diaries |
i used 48 hours the way i needed to, for this trip. it was the first month of the year and i wanted to treat myself. so i created a trip that catered for that. i shared parts of budapest on instagram while i was there, but i tried not to overshare and be present. here is my diary – the places i enjoyed and the sites that i saw, how i got there, what i thought. all of it.
Great Market Hall
[i took the M3 (blue line) bus replacement to from Kőbánya-Kispet to Kálvin. the M3 metro line is down for replacements on weekday evenings and the entire weekend]
this was my first stop. after getting to my hotel a little bit earlier than check-in, i decided to take my first trip to the markt as it closed at 3pm that saturday. and it was closed on sundays so it really was my only chance. on this note, i will say that unlike other european cities that i have visited, budapest doesn’t halt or slow down on sundays as you’d expect.
as a market girl myself, i had high expectations. this is an indoor market and quite touristy. (and the food is quite overpriced inside?) but it was beautiful to wander around. and it was the perfect place to buy all of my favourite women some signature hungarian Paprika. maybe this would be a good place to end your trip and buy all your foodie gifts + souvenirs.
New York Cafe
[nearest metro is Blaha Luzja tér on the M2 line (red)]
this might have been the best idea of the trip. a worthy treat to self. when i walked in i had to keep reminding myself that i belonged and then i tried to google the menu prices because surely this was a little out of my depth. and then i doubted all the bloggers who told me to go, with their big girl blogger budgets. and then it was my turn in the queue and i ordered a table for one like the bad boujie b that i am. and then i sat back to think about where in the world i was, dining alone, living how i don’t normally. i enjoyed that realisation for a while.
the New York cafe is perfect for desert. in true traveller fashion my eating habits were everywhere. so i might have had desert before dinner. this time. but if you’re a dairy eater- apparently the hot chocolate is amazing. i had the sorbet and an lemondae iced tea (in this cold). honestly, it was affordable and the food tasted as exquisite as i felt. the interiors are amazing and the staff will take pictures of you when you ask. they just might not be post-worthy.
side note: i definitely tried to go to the thermal baths after and definitely couldn’t find the bus stop. i took it as a fair sign from Yah because it really was quite late. but that’s the balance and sacrifice you have to understand. as a black female solo traveller, there are precautions you can’t play around with. i went home a little frustrated, feeling like an idiot for only doing two things in my first day.
i learnt then, and am sharing now for whoever needs it, that plans are just plans. go with it. listen deeply to your intuition because this is how you invite good things, God’s things and magic.
the next day.
the next day i made the effort to remind myself that i am travelling intentionally. i wanted to be in the moment and not stress about ticking things off the list. see budapest as best as the day allows – was the vibe.
so. i made my way back to Deák Ferenctér because the night before i came across a tourist stand that offers deals on night boat tours. i made a friend- whose name i cannot spell or remember- but he was a blessing. i spent the first day avoiding conversation with people to be safe. i found myself keeping myself to myself and other such behaviours of a first time solo traveller. but on my final day i opened up and it turns out that my friend has actually visited Birmingham before. he came to brum on an exchange programme when he was younger. he says he’ll come back here but his eyes lit up when he spoke about London, Bristol and Stonehenge. i hope he goes.
i caught the 16 bus which helped me cross one of the many beautiful bridges in Budapest. a tiny joy for me, a bridge lover.
i explored Mattias Church (which i thought was the buda castle) and explored the surrounding area. there is so much to see once you cross the bridge. anybody who has visited budapest can vouch for how easy it is to get swept up and sightsee the day away. i almost walked further to explore the fisherman’s bastion but remembered that i can’t see it all in one day and that is okay. i had 5 more places to visit before the day was up…
i bought some bits, asked a local where to get good Hungarian food and then caught the 16 back to Deák Ferenctér. from there i caught the M1 line (yellow) to Széchenyi fürdő. (if you haven’t guessed, budapest is easy to travel around). i was ready for the famous Széchenyi thermal baths, a little nervous and unsure of what to expect as a solo black woman traveller. but before that, i was distracted by the opportunity to maintain a tradition of mine…
The Museum of Fine Art
i’m definitely not a massive fan of fine art museums but i am a lover of observing art while travelling. it was good to learn briefly about Hungarian history, the relationship with Vienna, the brief Ottoman rule etc. i don’t think it would have felt right to visit and leave without being taught about the land whilst in the land. it was good to maintain little traditions in budapest (even if it did cost more than you’d expect spontaneity to).
i also got to see the much talked about heroes square of budapest. sunset made it magical. i was aware of the fact that i was already on a detour so i didn’t get a proper roam. but it felt funny. like Yah letting me know that even though i was nervous about over-cramming my schedule i could still see more of budapest on my way.
Széchenyi thermal baths
it was a cool experience. a strange experience and i could have been alright missing it out. but i read that it is the largest outdoor thermal bath in europe. i personally preferred the indoor baths as they felt more like my energy. i know some people are about the Széchenyi sparties but i was a bit too on-guard, time conscious (alone and very stand outtable) to properly enjoy it. go though, if you get the chance.
Boat tour on the Danube River
the most magical of experiences. i’ve recommended this to everyone so far. mainly because it was recommended to me. i toured with dunyacht boat tours where i had a detailed tour of everything we passed on the river. the tours were in English and German. thankfully the tour runs at several times during the day but i was told to experience it at night. i have no words for how grateful i felt in the 50 minutes on the boat. even seeing the parts of the city i’d seen at daytime lit up at night was something surreal.
[i got on a bus 5/8 to Astoria from the boat docks- no more than 7 minutes journeying]
the favourite ruin bar of Budapest according to any blog post i read in preparation for my trip. this helped me say with my chest that i could come back to Budapest with friends and have a G O O D T I M E. the ruin bars began with young Hungarians converting abandoned buildings into spaces to drink beer… for cheap. there are several ruin bars in the Kazinczy Utca area, but Szimpla Kert was the first and is the most known one. there are countless bar rooms, pieces of art, open mics spaces, (a bathtub) and a upstairs kitchen to keep you busy for the evening.
i left Szimpla kert, roamed the jewish quarter, admired the jewish quarter and actually returned back to the bar and enjoyed a final cherry beer at the open mic musician session before i headed back home. ready for my morning flight. it was honestly the best way to end the trip.
this has become a beautiful memory and writing it up has reminded me of how ready i am for another solo trip. have you travelled to budapest? or maybe even travelled somewhere solo? share your experiences below. remember to subscribe for more travel posts.
thank you for reading what i write.
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