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Where We Are: Budapest, Hungary

Back in June, we were two drinks into happy hour at Stout (our favorite Chicago bar) when we  hopped on our laptops and registered for the Budapest Marathon. We had intended to try to run a few marathons abroad and Budapest fell perfectly in the month we planned to be in Europe. We probably would have made our way to Budapest anyway, but having the marathon was a perfect excuse to lock it down.

Everyone we talked to who had been to Budapest said it was absolutely incredible, so we were really excited to get here. We arrived at 7 AM via an overnight bus from Krakow, and by noon, I already decided I loved this place.

My hair actually looked good today so I made Kenny take my picture in front of Parliament.

We got coffee at Starbucks from the nicest barista I’ve had in Europe, took a great walking tour through Elizabeth Square, over the famous Chain Bridge and up to Buda Castle, and then got drinks at a Ruin Bar (more on that below). It was a perfect first day in a new city and it got us really excited for the days to come.

This is what 8-hours-on-a-train, just-did-a-3-hour-walking-tour-with-backpacks looks like.

Europe has been amazing, but exhausting. We’re primarily traveling by buses and trains, many of them overnight, and we’re hopping from city to city usually every 3-4 days. We’re excited to be in Budapest for a solid 10 days. We’re excited to settle back into a routine of mornings spent working from cafes and afternoons exploring the city. We’re excited to catch up on TV, travel planning, and laundry. We think Budapest is going to be the perfect city for us to recharge.

Matthias Church near Buda Castle had the prettiest roof that looked like sprinkles.

Sometimes I wonder why more people don’t vacation to South American, but I get why Americans flock to Europe. Europe is just so easy to love. Everything is beautiful. There are so many castles, ornate churches, buzzing squares and fabulous food. Every city has a story of royals and empires, their role in the world wars, and often a story or two lovingly talking smack about a neighboring country. And Budapest is another fabulous European city that I would recommend to anyone looking for their next adventure.

Initial Reactions on Budapest

  1. Ruin bars take cool to a whole new level. Budapest is known for what are called “ruin bars” and they’re the coolest. They came to life in the early aughts when someone decided to convert an abandoned, old building into a bar by filling the rooms with random flea market finds, decorating them with art and lights, and selling people beer and great food. The concept exploded and is now the center of Budapest culture. They’re hip without being pretentious, edgy but not intimidating, and they’re all unique oozing with their own authentic charm. They’re just the best.
  2. Nothing beats a city on a river. I might be a little bias being from Chicago, but I have a special place in my heart for cities with a river running through their downtown. Budapest is split by the Danube River with Buda on the west and Pest on the east, and they’re connected by a series of gorgeous bridges and lined by riverwalks and castles.
  3. Extremely walkable, but amazing public transit. We have only actually taken the train in Budapest once because we tend to walk everywhere, but the transit system here is pretty impressive. One of the trains, which runs along the riverfront, was voted one of the most scenic tram rides in Europe. Not only does the transit pass you through the most beautiful parts of the city, but it also has many diverse routes interconnecting the whole city, and even includes a water taxi.

The view from the patio into the main room at Szimpla, the original Budapest Ruin Bar (sorry, bad photo)

What you need to know:

  • Population: 1.8 million
  • Altitude: 130 meters
  • Exchange Rate: 257 HUF to $1 USD
  • Primary Language: Hungarian and English
  • Walking Tour: Free Budapest Walk
  • Time Zone: Central European Summer Time, GMT +2 (7 hours ahead of US Central Time)
  • Taxi: Yes, but don’t hail on the streets!
  • Uber: No
  • Public Transit: Bus, Street Car, Train, water taxis
  • Emergency Number: 112 (all responders can speak English)
  • Running: Budapest Marathon!!!
  • American Football: Yes! We’ve passed bars that even replayed last weekends games! Several advertised NFL games including Ziccer
  • Starbucks: Yes, many.
  • Local Starbucks Specialty: None.
  • Coffee Price:  800 HUF (~$3 USD) for a grande iced Americano
  • Beer Price: 900 HUF (~$3.50 USD) for a regular local draft beer


Monday 16th of October 2017

I have finally caught up on your blog! You look amazing - your face is beautiful as always, but you look so relaxed you're just glowing!


Wednesday 18th of October 2017

Aw, thank you Aurora!! I feel like it's glowing because I probably didn't shower that day. ;) JK, JK! We're having the BEST time! Thank you for reading!!