A day in Grand Budapest

Disclaimer :This post has very little information about tourist attractions or any vacation planning (for reasons mentioned below).

The visit to this gorgeous town was quite unintended. While on a business trip to Debrecen, Hungary a couple of my colleagues and I decided to go to Vienna, Austria for the weekend. It so happened that we were asked to be available to work that Sunday and that put a damper to our Vienna plans. After regrouping and figuring out that tickets cannot be refunded we learnt that our train to Vienna makes a stop at Budapest (far away from the city) and decided to do the next best thing, go to Budapest. And I’d say this,  it’s been a good change of events 🙂

Now, there were 4 of us that were to take this trip. Owing to some Friday night happy hour shenanigans it just happened to be my colleague Richard and me. We took our scheduled 5:15 AM train from the Debrecen train station and chatted about various things through the 3 hr journey. We got off at the Kelenfold station and asked the associate at the ticket office to get to the city center and she gave us instructions on how to get to Deak Ferenc Ter.

 Deak Ferenc Ter , like Richard would call it is American-ised Budapest. From fast food chains to high end stores everything was pretty familiar. We decided to walk towards the river Danube but half way there we realized that we did not have our return tickets to Debrecen. We made our way towards the Keleti train station and got our tickets for 5:30 PM train and also invested in a daily Metro Pass (Highly recommend this). This gave us exactly 6 hours to tour the city before heading back.

We stopped for lunch at a little bistro and gorged on some delicious Goulash and some Hungarian Red Wine. Next door was this pastry place Chez-Dodo (best macaroons ever!!). Needless to say we bought a box of those to snack and set off. Next stop was the St. Stephen’s Basilica – a neo renaissance style Catholic church with its majestic exterior and an equally gorgeous interior. The dome in my opinion was spectacular! We walked about clicking pictures after which we made our way to the highly publicized Hungarian Parliament.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

The dome – St. Stephen’s Basilica

Enroute, we saw this beautiful castle on the other side of the river and mentally marked it as our next destination. By the time we reached the Parliament, the sun was just getting started with its mission of making us weary. We sat under the shade of a tree , admired the architecture and continued to gaze at the river and the castle ahead.

Buda Castle from across the river

I needed a little bit of coaxing to walk across the bridge towards the castle. We witnessed a breast cancer awareness march close to the Chain Bridge as we made our way to the castle. Once up there, I was truly blown away by the view from Fisherman’s Bastion. The vastness and the grandeur of this city has no compare to any city I have visited so far.

Hungarian Parliament
View from Fisherman’s Bastion

Despite not wanting to leave, Richard and I made our way to the metro to be able to catch our train to Debrecen. After having a taste of what this city has to offer, there is no doubt in my mind that this will be a future holiday destination. Until then, so long,Budapest.

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