5 Travel Tips for Budapest

Budapest is a cool city. Matt and I did a lot of walking while we were there. There’s nothing more interesting than walking around a new city. I feel that walking around allows you to see unexpected things more frequently than when you just take public transportation. Matt and I walked everywhere in Budapest and we definitely got a great feel for the city for the amount of time that we had. Here’s some tips that we collected to help you navigate the city successfully.

 

Check out the view from the Fisherman’s Bastion and get a bite to eat.  This location provides a great lookout over Budapest. You can see the parliament building across the river. It is a great place to take awesome photos of the city. Matt and I also grabbed a bite to eat at the HB Cafe which is in the structure. Once again, it was an awesome view and we had some great food.

 

Walking around to see the sites. Matt and I managed to snag a hostel in between the river and where Heroes’ Square are. These two areas of the city are in opposite directions. We split our trip in half visiting each area. Walking along the streets we got to see the true character of city. Check out all the museums, castles, bookshops, and restaurants along the way.

 

Public transportation can be confusing. Plan ahead. Matt is awesome at figuring out our public transportation routes. We typically utilize public transportation solely to get to and from the airport. Budapest’s public transportation is a beast. Matt spent lots of time working out how to get to and from the airport. It was a bit more complicated considering we had taken the train in so getting to the airport was new for us in that city and we took a very early flight. It’s definitely doable but take the time to do the research and a lot extra time incase you get lost.

 

Take the tram up to castle hill. Sure, we could have walked up to the castle. But we didn’t want to. It was fun to take the tram up the hill even though it was a bit expensive. A panoramic of the city slowly comes into view as you ascend the hill. And it was nice to not have to walk up that steep incline.


Check out a Hungarian secret box.
Matt and I found these after we got off the tram on castle hill. We collected coins for my cousin during our trip and needed a box to put them in. This type of box is so cool. You have to remove secret panels in order to get to the key. It was an awesome souvenir to bring home.

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10 Things I’m Thankful For As I Travel

I’m quite used to missing Thanksgiving due to schooling or work. I always find my own way to celebrate Thanksgiving while I’m gone. Usually my celebration involves a large box of Annie’s macaroni and cheese because I can. This year I thought I would honor the holiday a bit more thoughtfully by creating a list of things that I’ve been thankful for during my trip. This list ranges from the material objects to the intangible but it’s all something that I’ve found myself being grateful for while I’ve been backpacking. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

A Nice Hostel: Choosing a hostel always feels like a crap shoot. No matter how  much research you do, you still feel like you might end up with bad lodging. Matt and I take the risk of not staying at perfect hostels in order for our trip to be more affordable. We’re thankful every time we end up with a good, safe place to rest our heads.

Support of Loved Ones: Matt and I have incredibly supportive family and friends. It would be hard to do this trip without knowing we have people back home to help us out if we got stuck and, at the simplest level, accept that we’ve decided to take this journey. This is a dream fulfilled for me. I am so thankful that those important people in my life understand why I wanted to do this and are happy for me. It gives me something to come home to because I know those people understand me as a person and accept who I am rather than scold me for taking a risk and following my dreams.

Cheap Food: Finding good cheap food can sometimes be difficult. Occasionally eating pasta is the only way to keep costs down. From time to time we’ll find ourselves in a country where good, cheap, quality food is the norm. That’s always a happy location that we’re grateful to have stumbled upon. It means not having to compromise the healthfulness of our meal for keeping money in our pockets.

Freedom of Travel: Backpacking around Europe has revealed to Matt and I how lucky we are to be able to travel. Matt and I were able to get on a plane and just go because of the good relationship between the US and EU. No visas required. No hassles. It has been a freeing experience that not everyone we met were able to say they also enjoyed so we’re thankful for the freedom we’ve experience.

Quiet, Nice, Friendly Roommates: Part of staying in a hostel is sharing close quarters with strangers. My best experiences have always been with friendly, respectful roommates. They keep their space clean and are quiet so everyone can sleep. You don’t always get good roommates as a backpacker so it’s a relief every time you learn that you’ve lucked out and the hostel gods have answered your prayers. It makes the journey that much better.

First Hand Experience with Other Cultures: It’s a great opportunity to be in another culture and experience it first hand. You can read books but it’s not quite the same. I recognize that not everyone is in a situation that would allow them to have this experience. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn about other cultures in this way.

Inexpensive Flights at Reasonable Times: Very early morning flights are doable but they are rough. Matt and I have had our share of experiences in which we must catch a 7am flight in order to be able to even afford it at all. A 7am flight often means a 3am wake up. Those days can be tough and test your sanity. When we can find a cheap flight at a reasonable hour, we are so thankful.

An Awesome Travel Buddy: When I’m down, he reminds me of the good parts of our day. When I’m sick, he makes sure that I get everything I need to feel better. By coming on this trip with me, Matt has helped me fulfill one of my dreams. While I could have done this without him, I wouldn’t have ever wanted to. Matt’s made my experience infinitely more fun and multi-faceted. He makes me think of things in ways I never have or suggests experiences I never would have considered. I’m thankful that my boyfriend and awesome travel buddy helped me create positive memories that will last a lifetime.

Good Weather: The sun doesn’t always shine but it also doesn’t always rain. We hope for sunny days. When we’ve had a few days where the rains is so bad that it soaks through our clothes while we visit the city, we are infinitely more grateful for the sun.

The Kindness of Humanity: Traveling has restored my faith in humanity. Don’t get me wrong, I see some sad, horrible things when I travel. There’s still plenty that humans need to work on. But for the most part, people are good. To be honest, Matt and I haven’t had one bad experience with people while we’ve traveled. Everyone has been helpful, courteous, and, the vast majority of the time, friendly. The world can be a scary place; it is easy to become cynical and disappointed when you hear about all the things that are happening, especially when you feel like you can’t do anything about it. But I try to remind myself of all the good people I meet. I’m thankful that I’ve been given the enlightenment that humans are generally good. It’s something I might have to work to remember from time to time but it is something worth not forgetting. It makes the world seem a bit brighter.

Cool Art at the East Side Gallery, Berlin Wall

The East Side Gallery hosts over a hundred paintings by international artists. The paintings have been directly applied to a portion of the Berlin Wall. These massive murals are both interesting and eye-catching. If you ever find yourself in Berlin, check out this monument. I think that it is a great use for remnants of the Berlin Wall. Here are some pieces you might find interesting:

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Cool Art at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm

The Moderna Museet in Stockholm has been one of my favorite museums during my travels so far. This particular museum of modern art allows you to see objects that are more current which I love. The Moderna Museet is located on Skeppsholmen which is an island close to the city center. There are many other museums on the island and the National Museum sits on the mainland right next to the bridge you need to cross to Skeppsholmen. You could make a day of it.

 

Here are some objects I found particularly interesting at the Moderna Museet:

 

Smile as if You Have Already Won, Miriam Baeckstroem, 2012

Smile as if You Have Already Won, Miriam Baeckstroem, 2012

 

Detail

Detail of Smile As If You Have Already Won, Miriam Baeckstroem, 2012

This is a tapestry, guys! A tapestry! When I first saw it I thought it was a huge painting but nope.

 

Untitled (Fold), Tauba Auerbach, 2011

Untitled (Fold), Tauba Auerbach, 2011

I couldn’t believe how well done this was. It is a flat image that looks truly crumpled. I was impressed.

 

Exhibition Poster

Exhibition Poster, Andy Warhol, 1968

 

Electric Chair, 1967, Andy Warhol

Electric Chair, Andy Warhol, 1967

 

Painting to be Constructed in Your Head, Yoko Ono, 1962/2012

Painting to be Constructed in Your Head, Yoko Ono, 1962/2012

 

Money Thrower for Tinguelys HTNY (Homage to New York), Robert Rauschenberg, 1960

Money Thrower for Tinguely’s H.T.N.Y. (Homage to New York), Robert Rauschenberg, 1960

As I told Matt while we were at the museum, I love me a good Rauschenberg piece.

 

Detail

Detail of Blue Sponge Sculpture RE 17, Yves Klein, 1960

 

Pepper, Edward Weston, 1930/ca 1975

Pepper, Edward Weston, 1930/ca 1975

Weston is one of my favorite photographers. I particularly love his studies of vegetables.

 

Handlanger

Handlanger (II) [Bricklayer], August Sander, 1928/ca1975

 

Lady with Fox Boa, Otto Dix, 1925

Lady with Fox Boa, Otto Dix, 1925

She reminds me of Ms. Havisham from Great Expectations.

 

Fair, 1923/ca 1950, Eugen Atget

Fair, Eugen Atget, 1923/ca 1950

When Atget took up photography, he began to systematically capture images of all the districs in Paris. His work is a great resource to know what Paris looked like at that time.

 

Marquis Joseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac, Oskar Kokoschka, 1910

Marquis Joseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac, Oskar Kokoschka, 1910

Doesn’t he look daper?

 

Animal

Animal Locomotion, Plate 133, from series Animal Locomotion 1872-1885, Plates University of Pennsylvania, Eadweard Muybridge, 1887

Muybridge famously first used multiple cameras to capture the movement of a horse which showed that all hooves were airborne at a certain point. Muybridge studied other animals and humans after the first series of a horse. The photographs Muybridge produced were used by artists at the time.


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Also check out the Fotografiska if you love contemporary photography. It’s a huge gallery in a cool old building right by the water so you can also check out the huge cruise ships as you walk to the museum.

 

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Please note that the featured image is a detail of Miriam Baeckstroem’s Smile As If You’ve Already Won, 2012.