30 Countries Memoirs – Hungary

Country: Hungary

First Visit: June 2012

Number of Times Visited: 2 (2012, 2013)

Cities Visited: Budapest

Budapest is one of those cities that anyone who has been there will tell you you must visit, and I completely agree.  The first time I went there was with Alex, Tom, Shane, Tyler, Dave & Megan in June of 2012, and then I returned the following year with Megan for a stop on our whirlwind, 7 country, 17 day tour of central/eastern Europe.

Favorite Memory: It’s tough to pick a favourite, but I would have to say the afternoon Alex, Tom, Shane and I spent drinking at a castle lagoon side cafe in Budapest.  It was just one of those spontaneous times where we stopped for a beer, which turned into half a dozen or more and us arriving late back for dinner because we had lost track of time.

Other Highlights:

  • Visiting the Szechenyi Baths both trips. The complex has dozens of pools of varying temperatures and is super relaxing.  It was hot out when I was there in 2012, not quite so much in September 2013, but still really relaxing.  If there was a similar operation in Calgary, I would definitely be a regular visitor.
  • We happened to be in Budapest for Megan’s 25th birthday on September 28, 2013, and to celebrate we went spelunking. The caves we went through were natural, and had actually been used as bomb shelters during WWII.  There were some pretty tight squeezes, and they definitely were not as open as the salt mines I had visited in Poland, but was still a cool experience as long as I didn’t think of all the tons of rock above my head.  The group turned off all our lights and sang happy birthday to Megan in a perfectly dark, perfectly quiet space, she definitely enjoyed that.
  • While in Budapest with the travel crew we had some pretty fun drinking nights, including partying on a moored boat on the Danube, and also going through the Jewish District and checking out some pretty cool Ruin Pubs.
  • One night while out for dinner on the 2012 trip we were sitting eating at a streetside cafe, all the sudden we heard a sound and across the street saw some rock come falling from the sky, bounce off a cafe awning and onto the ground nearby. A chunk of a gargoyle from a building had broken loose and fallen, luckily no one was hurt.
  • One morning while visiting with Megan in September 2013, we were awoken to the sound of a helicopter landing in the street right in front of our hostel, which was on a main road! I still don’t know what it was landing for, but it was gone pretty quickly, secret ops perhaps?

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30 Countries Memoirs

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