There's something nostalgically mesmerizing about a city that contains so much history and timeless beauty. Without doing much research on the city or country itself, a "let's see how much we can explore and eat on a budget" unfolded two weeks before departure. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with our findings. With our 3.5 days we decided to roam by foot and keep it simple.
Our days consisted of lots of coffee, lots of comfort food, lots and lots of walking, and some lounging in one of the most badass "hotels" I've had the pleasure of renting.
Welcome to Budapest
Just how old is the foundation and history that lies beneath the layers of architecture? Interestingly enough, traces of the first communities date back to the Stone Age. I believe this is why I felt the opposing sentiments and conflicting ancestral energies so heavily below my feet while roaming the streets.
I have never been someone who was very into history or even one who can remember many historical events, but for some reason I was enthralled by all that Budapest had to offer. Seeing as this city is quite the tourist spot, free history tour guides are easy to join and are 100% worth the time.
The Living Quarters
If you know anything about Budapest you know that paprika is in everything they cook or at least served on the side like salt, Goulash is their known specialty, and white wine and beer from the country are a must. We tried a different goulash everyday and our favorites were from Pécsi Sör Beer & Traditional Food and Kazimir Bisztró. The Chicken Paprikash, another well known Hungarian dish, from Frici Papa was also a favorite, but whatever you do, do not get the plate of noodles with sour cream and cottage cheese. Rookie mistake (based off a recommendation). I don't even like cottage cheese or sour cream. But hey, the generous pour of white wine made up for it!
St. Stephen's Basilica
The largest church in Hungary dedicated to Hungary's first king, St. Stephen
Controversial Memorial in Szabadság Square
Why so controversial? This "memorial" is to the German occupation of Hungary in 1944. Many say this contradicting monument tries to rewrite Hungary's involvement with the Holocaust in WWII by paying tribute to all the Jewish lives that were taken by the Nazi's, whom the Hungarian's allied with prior to Hitler's invasion. But the Hungarian's contributed to the violence and murders as well (read the museums section below to find out more) - To many, it is an insensible, false depiction, that whitewashes their involvement in the murders of the innocent Jewish lives that were brutally taken. The local's protests along the monument tell the truths on barbed wire.
Hungarian Parliament Building
This is easily the most break taking building in Budapest. It took 17 years to complete and sadly the Hungarian architect, Imre Steindl, who designed the Parliament died right before it's full opening in 1902.
Monuments Surrounding The Parliament
Lots of men on horses... I know.
Haunted Shoes Along The Danube River
Upon careful consideration, we decided to visit these two:
- House of Terror -
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria
- Hungarian National Gallery -
House of Terror
I didn't take a lot of pictures of what we discovered inside of this museum. We were strictly asked not to. Usually, I do whatever I want but in this case I chose to be respectful and take it all in without any camera.
This museum is all about the German Nazi's,
the Hungarian (Nazi) Arrow Cross Party,
and the Russian Soviet Union.
The House of Terror was once home to the Arrow Cross Party and used to be called The House of Justice. Trust me, there was nothing just about what the Hungarian government was doing to these innocent Jewish people. The house was only occupied for a month and would later be taken over by the Soviet Army.
We were advised to start from the 2nd floor and make our way down. When entering each room you were offered a full sheet worth of textbook history; Extremely informative, little exhausting, but definitely intriguing and worth each read, but what made the museum worth it was the final floor of the exhibit: the cellar.
The cellar was used as a prison torture chamber. Hundreds of innocent lives were murdered between these cold, concert, walls. The silent cries float along the dense air as you make your way through each prison cell.
If the memorabilia held on each floor wasn't disturbing enough
the cellar would be.
Hungarian National Gallery
On a lighter note! I introduce to you, art.
A whole bunch of it. Ranging from the 15th century to modern day.
We didn't get to thoroughly enjoy every exhibit but I think we did a good job..
Invisible Sleeping Woman, Horse, Lion
The Rotting Donkey
Summer of St. Michael
The Double Secret
Buzogánytorony - Mace Tower
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge
Mátyás Church & Fisherman's Bastion
Food Truck Takeover
On our last day we happily stumbled across this food truck takeover in the streets. I love food and I love food trucks and this was a perfect way for us to end our visit. It's clear there is always something to do in this busy city!
We love you, Budapest..
"Look up, and baby you'll see the light"
As we exited the train onto Grand and made our way out into the streets, I was warmly welcomed by the sun and quickly shuffled into the crowd. I actively watched people sweep through their own lanes with their headphones on and the rest of the world off. Me, on the other hand, I was too busy looking up. The architecture in Chicago is too beautiful not to pay attention to.
Ok.. onto the goods. Art is first, food follows..
Beauty In All Shapes & Sizes
Museum of Contemporary Art
Green Mill Jazz Club
Girl & The Goat
This is one of the top restaurants in Chicago right now. We had a reservation made months in advance (10:15pm on a Monday was the only spot open) and I unfortunately barely remember visiting.. why? Well, this was my first night in town and we started drinking pretty early..... Needless to say, I was drunk for this experience.
SO, even though I know the food was amazing from the little I remember, my photos of the experience, not so much! Woops!
The daily happy hour spot. Who doesn't like a $2 taco and cheap Mexican beer? Had some great mezcal here. If only I can remember the names of the brands...
Delicious Asian food and craft cocktails? Yes please.
Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
A family-owned local chain pizzeria that I just had to visit for some famous deep dish pizza.
"What's the greatest lesson a woman should learn?
That since day one, she's already had everything she needs within herself. It's the world that convinced her she did not."
- Rupi Kaur
A movement about unity
but more simply,
l o v e
"I want this project to be about unity. And not the bullshit women are better than men type of unity. I do not wish to be seen as an army because, in my opinion, that gives some false assumption that we need to dominate. We don't. If I can do something as small as getting a bunch of inspiring, resilient, dope women together the love will organically spread. And this is how you create immortality" -Korie