Sunday, August 6, 2023

Eurotrip 2023 - Days 0-1 - 7/21-2/2023 - To Budapest

Apparently our new thing is flying to Zürich overnight, because this vacation started with the same Friday night flight from JFK as 364 days ago. This time we had a connection in Zürich to Budapest. We departed JFK almost an hour late, but we apparently made up the time in the air (despite some moderate bumps over Nova Scotia) and arrived just about on time (almost 11am). We had no problems making the connection given the almost 1.5 hours between arrival and departure, and there was no line at passport control. I barely got any sleep on the overnight flight (though not for lack of trying) and tried to close my eyes some more on the flight to Budapest. Fran seemed to get even less rest than I did. Despite this, we were both in better shape (i.e., felt less tired) than last year for the first day of the vacation.

After arriving in Budapest and gathering our luggage, we found our way to the 100E Express Bus stand. The ticket machine was pretty straightforward to use, and the bus arrived soon thereafter. It also turned out that the first stop in the city center was about a 7 minute walk from our hotel, so the transfer was pretty easy. We checked into the Alta Moda Fashion Hotel, and then headed up to the room to decompress for a bit. I would say that the hotel is pretty decent, and well-located (it's on a pedestrian-only street with lots of restaurants around, but with the potential downside that it's quite touristy). My only complaint about the room is that the shower is tiny, but that may be par for the course in these parts.

We headed out on foot sometime around 5p across the Erzsébet Bridge and toward the Castle Hill area in Buda. We first stopped at Várkert Bazár, but then saw in Google Maps that our next stop (a cafe that Fran had picked out called Ruszwurm Confectionery (Ruszwurm Cukrászda)) was due to close at 6p so we hustled over there. We got there about 5 minutes before the hour, but it turned out they were open until 7p. We sat down and sampled 3 of their cakes (the castle caramel cake, the raspberry cake, and their famous cream cake). I thought they were decent, but Fran liked them a lot more than I did - especially the cream cake. After the snack/dessert we headed over to Fisherman's Bastion (Halászbástya) to admire the view and snap some pics.

Matthias Church (Mátyás Templom)

By now it was time for some real food, so we headed back toward the hotel, determined to satisfy Fran's craving for some falafel along the way. We attempted to cross back over the Danube on the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, but found that it was closed to pedestrians. So we headed back to the Erzsébet Bridge and crossed there. We settled on a fast casual hummus bar close to the hotel and had a late dinner there before returning to the hotel.


My favorite pictures from the full trip are here.

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