What no one tells you about Budapest, ‘cos the views are breathtaking and the water is magical!

A Hungarian bath in Budapest

We’re back home.

Yipee!

I had a wonderful time in both Budapest and Prague but of course, my beloved Berlin will still be my one and only. Have no fear.

After Manchester of course!

Happy Hungarian people - Budapest Spring Fair 2015
Happy Hungarian people – Budapest Spring Fair 2015

Last week, I told you how amazing Budapest was and that did not change. In fact, Budapest turned out to be so much better than I ever imagined…!

I mean, after 11 years, I was hoping for miracles. And I found them.

Before I go any further let me remind you that I travelled from Berlin to Budapest. From Budapest to Prague. And then from Prague back to Berlin again. By train!

I also spent six (6) days and five (5) nights in two separate hotels.

We stayed firstly at the chic but luxurious Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace or simply the Buddha-Bar Hotel and secondly, at the beautiful boutique and musically inspired Aria Hotel Budapest.

The Teatro Aria - Aria Hotel - Budapest.
The Teatro Aria – Aria Hotel – Budapest.

I’ve spoken often about how I like to do things my way and also how if I like a place, I return again and again. Budapest might turn out to be one of those places and so we spent our time in the city.

We didn’t go to Slovakia.

We didn’t go to Austria.

We spent all our time in Hungary and all of that time in Budapest.

ALL of it!

In fact, quite frankly, there wasn’t even enough time at all.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I GET TO BUDAPEST?

Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion terrace over the city - Budapest.
Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion terrace over the city – Budapest.

We only went for six (6) days so this was a sloooooow cultural family trip.

We did so many things and went to so many places that I don’t even know where to start so I’ll just list them. You’ll soon get the picture.

There is plenty to do in Budapest. You can:

A live escape game in Budapest.
A live escape game in Budapest.
  • Explore the Great Market Hall or Nagycsarnok which was built in 1897 and is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. We found the market interesting but you know, once you’ve seen a whole collection of pig’s snouts for sale, eaten a pig’s ear for lunch, seen a batch of fried chicken claws and boxes of crunchy spiders, cockroaches and worms, not to talk of pig heads in a temple, you soon learn not to get too excited!
  • Be guided through the largest Jewish community in Central Europe and take note of the historically important Hungarian Jewish Quarter and it’s synagogues and museums. It’s the second (2nd) largest in the world!
  • Explore quite a lot of the bridges which are all so nearby.
  • Get excited and get hopelessly lost and confused in a live escape game.
  • Hop-on-or-off on a bus tour.
  • Check out Elizabeth Square – Lots of young people use the square as a place to hang out and chill. Practically every day, people paddle in the fountain and take a quick “shower.” There is also free drinkable water from the water fountain and hot steam spouting out of the waters.
  • Bring your own beer and wine but remember it’s officially illegal to do so, but unofficially ignored!
Enjoy the moment on Elizabeth Square - Dangle your feet and bask in the sunshine!
Enjoy the moment on Elizabeth Square – Dangle your feet and bask in the sunshine!

Enjoy the moment!

  • Go on a free walking tour around the city. We went on the United Europe Free Walking tour which not only has a free orientation tour and a free Jewish District tour, it also has a free communism walk too!
  • Explore the history and architecture of Budapest.
  • Understand the difference between “Buda” and “Pest.”
  • Take photographs of the Buda Castle.
  • Walk by the riverside and imagine living in the historic seat of power – The Parliament.
  • Check out some of the lovely churches and places of worship which are just bursting to be visited.
  • Go to the lovely Budapest History Museum.
  • Take photos of the Liberty Statue and Citadel.
  • Glide into the Danube Symphony Concert.
  • Wander around the Fisherman’s Bastion.
  • Stroll freely through the side streets.
  • Visit the Memento Park or Statue Park.
Jewish memorial shoes at the Danube in Budapest. © Phil Watkins
Jewish memorial shoes at the Danube in Budapest. © Phil Watkins
  • Be thoughtful and remember the people who were shot into the Danube, by visiting the memorial Shoes by the Danube.
  • Go people-watching inside the beautiful Budapest Castle with its neo-classical buildings.
  • Merely ramble along the cobbled historical streets.
  • Check out the various cafes, ruinbars and restaurants for a quick bite and a few rounds of Hungarian beer and Hungarian shots!
  • Visit the Castle Hill.
  • Splash in the fountains, lakes, ponds and rivers.
  • Wander through a huge number of churches.
  • Marvel at the architecture of the railway stations.
  • Take a stroll on Margaret Island.
Hungarian pickles - but I haven't a clue what they are!
Hungarian pickles – but I haven’t a clue what they are!

I remembered that I had seen something about a Hungarian buffet restaurant somewhere on the internet, and so we went looking for the place. It was a real Hungarian place. So Hungarian was it that I didn’t even recognise the food. Especially the more exotic vegetables! The restaurant is called Gastland Bisztró. We went to the one in Oktogon.

  • Don’t forget to go shopping.
  • Take a river cruise along the Danube river.
  • Go to the wide variety of saunas, spas and baths covered by open-air thermal springs, wells, jacuzzi-like bubbly spots, neck showers, massage jets, whirlpools and massages.
I certaintly won't be going to the sauna European style. Don't forget, I'm British!
I certainly won’t be going to the sauna European style. Don’t forget, I’m British!

If you’re thinking I’m going to tell you that I went to the baths in all my glory, then you’ve got another thing coming!

In case, you haven’t noticed. I’m still British and you know perfectly well what I think about saunas….

Gulp!

I found Budapest to be a classical city of awe so let’s get down to some practicalities.

HOW TO GET TO BUDAPEST

Take the train!
Take the train!

We decided to travel to Budapest from Berlin and I explained about the experience in my previous post. The train ride was cheap and fairly easy to navigate and from Berlin took twelve (12) hours but you can break the journey by going to Bratislava (Slovakia), Vienna (Austria) or Prague (the Czech Republic). You could come in via the Keleti, Nyugati or Déli train station. We came into Keleti.

If you’re flying in then most international flights would come into Budapest Liszt Ferenc Airport or you could take the bus-coach and come into Népliget Bus Station.

I DON’T SPEAK HUNGARIAN.

Although Hungary is a young country most people seemed to speak pretty good English in either American accents or really weird working class English ones! And if you speak French, Spanish, Russian or German, you will be very catered for as lots of tours and pieces of information could be found in these languages. I also noticed Japanese and Korean tourists and they looked very happy LOL!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

It doesn't look like a cave...in Hungary!
It doesn’t look like a cave…in Hungary!

I don’t think so. Budapest might be a city from Eastern Europe but it’s the capital so you’re definitely not going to be living in a cave!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

I saw many hostels, other moderately priced accommodation and budget hotel possibilities.

I can’t give you any details but catering to the more budget conscious traveller is available just try to remember that it isn’t Poland. Hungary is cheap but it isn’t that cheap!

I’M LOOKING FOR A BIT MORE LUXURY, IS THERE SOMETHING FOR ME?

Luxury at the Aria Hotel in Budapest.
Luxury at the Aria Hotel in Budapest.

Oh good god yes!

Absolutely, yes.

There’s such a lot to say and such a lot of information to take in that in order for this post not to be a 5,000 word piece, I’m going to work backwards and write about the last hotel in Budapest first, and then the first hotel with all the delicious food that is to be had in Budapest, next week!

Our last stay was at the five-star beautiful boutique and musically inspired Aria Hotel Budapest.

Let me tell you.

That hotel was amazing!

The Library Hotel in New York!
The Library Hotel in New York!

I had come into contact with the establishment because I was originally doing some research for my husbands’ birthday in 2016. I wanted to do something really nice for him and was thinking of perhaps taking him on a long weekend to New York, when my eye caught on a venue called The Library Hotel.

A library collection and a hotel with books?

Yes, please!

On seeing it’s splendour I wondered whether they might have hotels in Europe.

Mmmm.

Budapest perhaps?

They did!

And so I contacted them.

Staff Greeting ME via Twitter from the Aria Hotel in Budapest. Very impressive and I met most of them too!
Staff Greeting ME via Twitter from the Aria Hotel in Budapest. Very impressive and I met most of them too!

From that moment, they stayed in contact with me even sending a “we can’t wait to meet you” picture on Twitter which I thought was pretty awesome!

The Aria Hotel Budapest was a very new hotel with a musically inspired concept of luxury, a Hungarian experience, world musical heritage, a warm atmosphere and an exquisite rooftop that isn’t just a rooftop, but a rooftop that is almost parallel to the St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest!

Next to the St. Stephen's Basilica - Aria Hotel Budapest.
Next to the St. Stephen’s Basilica – Aria Hotel Budapest.

Located in the historic city center on the Pest side of the Danube River, the Aria Hotel was a former 19th century bank that looked small on the outside but was distinctly large on the inside.  It had 49 guest rooms and suites that each celebrated a major musical genre such as classical, opera, contemporary and jazz.

A bit like the Tardis of Dr. Who…!

The living space. Not the music!

We were in the Grand Luxury Room with 2 Full-Sized Beds – City View!

Exxxxxxxxquisite!

The Air Music Garden Balcony: Room Contemporary Music Style - Aria Hotel, Budapest. Phew!
The Air Music Garden Balcony: Room Contemporary Music Style – Aria Hotel, Budapest.
Phew!

It was so nice to have a huge bed Queen-Sized Bed with lovely white cotton sheets and loads and loads of pillows, and cushions.

Our stay at the Aria Hotel was an extravagance.

When you book a room on-line, you can never be entirely sure what you’re going to get and can only hold your breath and cross your fingers.

I didn’t know what to expect in Hungary and was amazed at what we received.

"The Tall Young Gentleman" relaxing in the the Grand Luxury Room and with 2 Full-Size Beds - Aria Hotel.
“The Tall Young Gentleman” relaxing in the Grand Luxury Room and with 2 Full-Size Beds – Aria Hotel.

Our Grand Luxury Room consisted of two huge 2 Full-Sized Beds, two (2) lovely fancy armchairs, a writing desk and chair, a large  wardrobe, a mini-bar, a safe, a fridge with complimentary water, a coffee and tea-making service, a huge large-screen TV, an AC unit.

We had an en-suite bathroom that had a rainforest shower AND a large bath tub, and fitted out with “Molton Brown” beauty & bath hair and body wash items, body lotion, dressing gowns, fluffy slippers and plenty of fluffy towels!

We also had access to Aria Hotel’s spa and sauna unit that consisted of a heated pool, a Jacuzzi, hydro bicycles, a Finnish sauna, an infra-red sauna, a steaming room and a fitness room.

We were so lucky to have the sauna and spa to ourselves in the late evening.

Such a thrill!

Such bliss!

Because.

British!

"Viktoria" - This wine has got my name all over it....!
“Viktoria” – This wine has got my name all over it….!

We also had free WiFi, a room iPad, a docking station, access to a digital music library, a generous buffet breakfast and a complimentary Afternoon Wine & Cheese Reception. That is to say, free wine and cheese from 16:00-18:00 every day.

Every Day!

Yipee!

Because these are the important things in life LOL!

A buffet breakfast at the Aria Hotel, Budapest.

For breakfast, we had a menu and you could choose a selection of eggs, a variety of breads, jams and honey, a wide variety of cereal, muesli and fruit, home-made spreads and sauces, seafood, delicious cold cuts, and cheeses,  vegetables, pickles and cream, As well as  cake, pastries, tea, coffee, water and juices.

“The Tall Young Gentleman” was pretty euphoric!

Now brace yourself.

The Aria Hotel Budapest isn’t for the backpacker.

It isn’t for the stingy or the penny-pinching.

It’s for the grown-ups and those who want and like, the good things in life.

The Music Garden at the Aria Hotel in Budapest. See how clever the floors were made!
The Music Garden at the Aria Hotel in Budapest.
See how clever the floors were made!

Here it comes…

All this from €336.00 per night in the Grand Luxury Room which for two (2) people would be €168.00 a pop!

Sometimes you need to spoil yourself.

And others!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Take the train or any other form of transport in Budapest!
Take the train or any other form of transport in Budapest!

Budapest is pretty small so that everywhere is walkable and pretty to look at. The public transport system is fairly easy to use as there are only four (4) underground or subway lines. There are 268 buses plying the city roads, 32 trams and 15 trolleybuses.

Be very careful with taxis.

Make sure the price is fixed.

…Before you get into the taxi!

Or better still, take a traditional river cruise.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Chess players in the Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool NOT at the Aria Hotel of course! - Budapest.
Chess players in the Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool NOT at the Aria Hotel of course! – Budapest.

The sauna and spa in both the Aria Hotel Budapest and the Buddha-Bar Hotel were brilliant. At the Aria Hotel, we indulged in the luxury of my son and I being perfectly and completely alone in the cool pool, using the hot bubbly jacuzzi, and spreading out on the Egyptian-style chaise!

It was a shame that my husband – The Music Producer – couldn’t make it.

He would have loved it.

AND?

The view was so brilliant. As were my sunglasses!
The view was so brilliant. As were my sunglasses!

And the highlight of the Aria Hotel Budapest was the Highnote SkyBar.

“The Tall Young Gentleman”and I were lucky enough to get the opportunity to lounge in the SkyBar with complimentary cheese, wine and mock-cocktails, and stay as long as we liked.

And the view was exquisite so we just drank in the St. Stephen’s Basilica right behind us (so close that I felt as if I could touch it!) and the Ferris Wheel in front of us.

It really was glorious.

An exclusive rose-shaped ice-cream from Gelarto Rosa. Right next door to the Aria Hotel in Budapest!
An exclusive rose-shaped ice-cream from Gelarto Rosa. Right next door to the Aria Hotel in Budapest!

MY VERDICT:

I really like Budapest.

It’s not as cheap as Prague, but is certainly reasonably priced.

It’s breathtaking.

It’s romantic.

It’s a chill-relaxing city with craft-beer and interesting wine.

It’s lovely.

Me - The British Berliner - Live a life of both style & travel.
Me – The British Berliner – Live a life of both style & travel.

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Totally!

Try and stop me!

A dummy head and a hat. For light relief!
A dummy head and a hat. For light relief!

For more information about the Aria Hotel Budapest, please contact: Aria Hotel.

This article is part-sponsored by the Buddha-Bar Hotel in Budapest and part-sponsored by the Aria Hotel Budapest and I received a 50% discount on the Budapest Card, but all opinions and the wonderful Hungarian cuisine that I nibbled on, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

Next week, I’ll be writing about the first hotel that I stayed at in Budapest – The Buddha-Bar Hotel – and the wonders of Hungarian booze and cuisine.

Quite interesting!

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin right now, did you miss me in Budapest or Prague!

August is going to be baking!

Watch this space!

The Little Princess (Kiskirálylány) statue sitting on the railings of the Danube promenade in Budapest, Hungary.
The Little Princess (Kiskirálylány) statue sitting on the railings of the Danube promenade in Budapest.

Have you ever been to the baths in Budapest? Would you like to stay at the Aria Hotel and drink cocktails on the Highnote SkyBar?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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Budapest is a classical city of awe! 10 amazing ways to see it!

Budapest Spring Fair 2015
Budapest Spring Fair 2015

Yeah baby!

I’m finally in Budapest. Whoop! Whoop! And it’s been eleven (11) years. Goodness me!

I first went to visit in 2004 but as I told you last week, I wasn’t really able to say much about it as I went with a German girlfriend who really wasn’t interested.

Sadly, sometimes your travel partner can make or break the intimate experience of getting to know a new destination. At times like this, going solo might just be the answer. Happily, I’ve been to many a country in my younger pre-university and post-university graduation days. In four (4) continents no less, and travelled solo in most of them.

Of course, as times goes go on and marital /family life comes along, travel doesn’t end, but just brings a change to the way, type and time. Going away needs to be a bit more calculated and a bit more expensive. You’ve got to be smarter and a lot more ruthless to take the time that is available to you and more importantly, to use it effectively and thus, be able to take the family with you. Having said that, I still like to do solo travel every now and then to keep the juices flowing!

Anyway, back to Budapest…

What exquisite beauty in Budapest.
What exquisite beauty in Budapest.

Budapest is such a beautiful city and is becoming more popular by the day! It’s not really on the beaten path of course, but it’s not unknown either.

I guess it depends on how much time you have.

Visitors tend to have to make a choice between going to Prague OR going to Budapest.

Guess which one wins LOL!

You do have to make your own choices and that means visiting both, and then making a comparison.

Let’s start with Budapest in Hungary.

HUNGARY

 

My Hungarian goulash soup. Absolutely free of charge!
My Hungarian goulash soup. Absolutely free of charge!

 

Hungary, also known as the Republic of Hungary or the “land of waters” is a country at the centre and heart of Europe and surrounded by Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia (not to be confused with Slovakia), Austria and the Ukraine! Hungary has over a thousand (1,000) thermal water springs and has the second (2nd) largest thermal lake in the world for bathing (Lake Hévíz). “Taking the waters” for relaxation or as clinical treatment, is an important part of the Hungarian culture.

Hungary has a long, rich history, and its culture reflects Roman, Turkish, Slavic and Magyar influences. It has just 1.7 million people, and although a member of the EU, only uses the Hungarian forint as it’s currency. At the moment, 1,000 Ft is worth $3.50 or €3.25!

BUDAPEST

The outside top view of the Buddha-Bar Hotel!
The outside top view of the Buddha-Bar Hotel!

Budapest is the capital of Hungary and is a frequently visited European city and it’s very easy to see why.

Budapest has a natural beauty, an astounding architectural heritage, a unique atmosphere and a rich cultural palette that the Hungarian people treasure. It’s a very walkable city and extremely pedestrian-friendly, has attractive public spaces, wide green boulevards, historic baths, a popular recreational park – Margaret Island – a long winding river that lies on the famous Danube, and has established cultural interest being that the city is divided into both Buda and Pest!

Astounding!

WHY GO TO BUDAPEST?

The culture and traditions of Budapest. In felt dolls!
The culture and traditions of Budapest. In felt dolls!

So let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

Budapest is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe surrounded by the river Danube, split into two lovely parts known unsurprisingly as Buda and Pest, with Buda on the Western bank of the river, and Pest on the Eastern bank.

Budapest in Hungary is a classical city of awe.  I’ve just got to give you ten (10) amazing ways to see it with the help of the Budapest official city Card.

Thank you very much!

Budapest Card 72 hours.

  1.  Walk around: Budapest is pedestrian-friendly, small and quite easy to walk around. There are also a million and one walking tours as well as free ones such as the Free Budapest Walking Tours which not only has a free orientation tour and a free Jewish District tour, it also has a free communism walk too!
  2.  Rest your feet and take a bus tour: Again, Budapest is a real place of interest for tourists and how better than to see it by bus especially if it rains, like it did earlier yesterday…! There are many companies to choose from and we chose the Hungarian established Budapest Sightseeing Hop-on-Hop-off company that included 48 hours on two (6) bus lines, two (2) river cruises, one (1) walking tour, a bicycle ride on the Margaret Island, free goulash, free beers, a free shot, a free magnet and lots of discounts on food and refreshment. They work in partnership with the City Sightseeing Budapest Hop on-Hop off. (If you’ve ever been to London and of course, you have. It’s that one!) We’ve already taken three (3) of the bus lines, two (2) of the river cruises, one (1) walking tour, the free goulash and the free beer. In this case, BEERS LOL!
  3.  Cycle around by bike: Discover the famous sights of Budapest by renting a bicycle, or buggy bike. Because the city is small, it’s quite do-able and it’s European, so there are established bicycle lanes. If you’re nervous about using the open road as I am, then go to the very quiet and pretty Margaret Island, and cycle away from the hordes of traffic there.
  4.  Take a tuk-tuk: Alright. Budapest isn’t Bangkok. I get it! However, taking a “green” tuk-tuk in a European city can be quite nice and even romantic, as the space in Budapest is wide and there are many parks to tuk-tuk through!
  5.  Splash your way through Budapest: The RiverRide floating bus is the only vehicle for tourists which can give you an unforgettable way of enjoying the view both on land and in the river, by splashing your way through Budapest in a swimming bus, on a river ride!
  6.  Go on a traditional river cruise: There is no better way to see the charming sights of Budapest than simply through either the usual sightseeing cruise boat as discussed above, or go one better on a an elegant candle-lit dinner combined with a romantic boat trip, on a beautiful river, in Eastern Europe.
  7.  Take the underground train: The public transport system is fairly easy to use as there are only four (4) underground or subway lines. Don’t forget to buy a ticket.
  8.  Use the normal every day bus. Except for the tourist buses, most buses seemed to be single deckers. With 268 buses plying the city roads, I would expect the network to be quite frequent.
  9.  Take the tram: In many Eastern European cities including East Berlin (where I live), public transport by tram is not only considered to be more cost-effective, but also clean and green. The tram looks good and is quiet. With 32 trams and 15 trolleybuses, you can’t go ecologically wrong!
  10.  You’ve won the lottery, fly in with a helicopter. Go on. Live a little!

TAKE ME THERE?

At last. We're here!
At last. We’re here!

As you know, we came by train from Berlin.

Emm.

About that.

‘Remember how I told you that between Berlin and Budapest, we would be taking the twelve-hour (12) German Railway overland train service known as Deutsche Bahn or DB, on a direct train to Budapest.

In first class!

It was first (1st) class. But it surely didn’t look like it.

There were six (6) red-cushioned seats and no real “tables.” No sockets. And definitely no WIFI.

Aaaaaaaaah!

Owwwww!

Ouch!

On the Czech-infused train from Berlin to Budapest!
On the Czech-infused train from Berlin to Budapest!

I had difficulty believing how second (2nd) class could be any different.

It was!

The seats in 2nd class were closer together and had less leg space, and the “open” compartments were crowded and had suitcases and bags in the aisle and out on the corridor. It very much reminded me of the more respectable seating on the Indian train!

And here I was thinking I was going to relax and live a life of Riley for €69.00.

Not so.

LOL!

From Berlin to Prague, we had three (3) Korean travellers with us who were really nice and surprisingly chatty, and from Prague to Budapest, we had an Italian family of four (4).

As part of the 1st class option, we were constantly handed out free bottles of water!

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

On the boat cruise in Budapest. Very hot, but not very crowded!
On the boat cruise in Budapest. Very hot, but not very crowded!

Well, a little, but only because it was August. Budapest  is small, in Eastern Europe, not really on the tourist run and not really cheap either.

In short, not your usual backpackers’ run! For that, you’d need to go to Romania!

Once we actually arrived in Budapest, we took a taxi.

It wasn’t easy to find a taxi outside the Budapest-Keleti International Train Station. There was not a taxi to be seen.

Not one!

So we had to run and flag one down with a fixed negotiated price of €10.00.

In Eastern Europe, taxis are pretty cheap if you use common sense and don’t arrive late at night, too early in the morning, or look as if you’re desperate.

Try to stay cool and be willing to wait for another one.

Don’t let the driver know that you’re new in town. Act as if you know exactly where you’re going. Even if you don’t!

And so, the taxi took us to our first (1st) stay hotel at the chic but luxurious Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace or simply the Buddha-Bar Hotel!

More next week!

The Buddha-Bar Hotel Beef!
The Buddha-Bar Hotel Beef!

For more information about the Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace, please contact: Buddha-Bar Hotel.

For more information about the Budapest official city card, please contact: Budapest Card.

For more information about the bus tour please contact: Budapest Sightseeing Hop-on-Hop-off.

For more information about a free walking tour in Budapest please contact: Free Budapest Walking Tours.

This article is part-sponsored by the Buddha-Bar Hotel in Budapest, Aria Hotel Budapest, and I got a 50% discount on the Budapest Card, but all opinions and the wonderful Budapest sights that I marvelled at, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

Next week, I’ll be writing about the two hotels that I stayed at in Budapest, what I thought of the city after 11 years, and the wonderful Hungarian food and drink.

Delicious!

Today, I’ll be checking into the beautiful boutique and musically inspired five-star Aria Hotel Budapest. Later in the week, we’ll be travelling to Prague by train and I’ll be staying at the four-star modern designed Angelo Hotel Prague.

I’ll be in Eastern Europe. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin right now, then come meet me in Budapest or Prague!

August is going to be sweltering!

Watch this space!

Over-looking Buda Castle near the Citadel in Budapest, Hungary.
Over-looking Buda Castle near the Citadel in Budapest, Hungary.

Have you ever been to Budapest? Would you go to a ruin bar? Do you like goulash?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

I’m going to Budapest & Prague AND taking the train. Yay!

In Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!
In Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!

In the last fortnight or two weeks, I’ve been telling you all about fashion and I will get back to the juicy bits in a few weeks, but for now, back to basics. Haw! Haw!

Yes, it’s that time of year.

Drum roll pleeeeease!

THE BRITISH BERLINER IS GOING TO BUDAPEST AND PRAGUE. YAY!

 

A map of Berlin to Prague and to Budapest

Shiver me timbers!

WHERE AM I GOING EXACTLY?

 

It's not really relevant but at least he's travelling! Photo@ Peter Stigter
It’s not really relevant but at least he’s travelling!
Photo@ Peter Stigter

Well, you know me. Never the easy option!

I am travelling from Berlin to Budapest. From Budapest to Prague. And then from Prague back to Berlin again. Many people do it the other way around but I’m not many people LOL!

I’m going to Hungary and the Czech Republic and I’m going there by the train!

HUNGARY

Budapest Spring  Fair 2015
Budapest Spring Fair 2015

Hungary, also known as the Republic of Hungary is a country in Eastern Europe and thus a part of the old Eastern Bloc!

It is technically situated in Central Europe and is surrounded by Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia (not to be confused with Slovakia), Austria and the Ukraine! I will be going to Budapest which is the capital city and considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe surrounded by the river Danube and divided into two lovely parts known unsurprisingly as Buda and Pest!

Look at the glamour of the Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace or simply, the Buddha-Bar Hotel in Budapest!
Look at the glamour of the Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace or simply, the Buddha-Bar Hotel in Budapest!

My trip to Budapest is going to be a cultural one so I’ll be travelling with “The Tall Young Gentleman” and we’ll be staying at not only one (1) hotel in Budapest, but two (2)! We’ll be staying firstly at a luxurious, Asian-inspired five-star hotel consisting of one-hundred and two (102) rooms and located at the corner of the famous Váci utca or Váci street which is one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares and perhaps the most famous High Street in Budapest. This chic but luxurious hotel is called the Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace or simply the Buddha-Bar Hotel!

Next to the St. Stephen's Basilica - Aria Hotel Budapest.
Next to the St. Stephen’s Basilica – Aria Hotel Budapest.

We will then transfer a few days later and we’ll be staying at the beautiful boutique and musically inspired five-star hotel consisting of just forty-nine (49) guest rooms and suites, and located in the historic centre of Pest right next to the St. Stephen’s Basilica. This stylish hotel is called Aria Hotel Budapest.

I simply can’t keep my breath in!

THE CZECH REPUBLIC

The most wonderful medieval Prague astronomical clock! In the Czech Republic.
The most wonderful medieval Prague astronomical clock!

I have written plenty about the Czech Republic because back in the day, I used to live there and it still remains one of my most favourite countries.

I love the Czech Republic so much that we always try to go to Prague every couple of years and my favourite skiing destination is also in this rather wonderful country. In fact, I wrote quite a few things about the various ski slopes that you can go to and how one year, I pretty much only ate fried cheese and fell off the ski-lift! For more information, check out the links below:

Smažený sýr or Czech fried cheese!
Smažený sýr or Czech fried cheese!

Anyhoo, the Czech Republic.

You know. Previously known as Czechoslovakia.

What again?

The Czech Republic!!

Outside the most beautiful Staroměstská or Old Town Square. In Prague, the Czech Republic.
Outside the most beautiful Staroměstská or Old Town Square. In Prague.

Oh yeah, the Czech Republic is another previously Eastern Europe nation behind the Iron Curtain! After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Czechoslovakia decided to split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The country is also technically situated in Central Europe and surrounded by Germany, Austria, Slovakia (not Slovenia. Think Czechooooooooslovakia!) and Poland. We will of course, be going to Prague which is the capital city. How could we not?

Everybody likes Prague! It’s just so. so. so….

…classically European!

A knight on Wenceslas Square - Prague.
A knight on Wenceslas Square – Prague.

What with all those kings, queens, fighting for kingdoms and holy crusades. It’s the British monarchy all over again. Although of course.

It isn’t.

They have their own rather interesting Bohemian monarchy LOL!

Prague is said to be the “heart of Europe” and sometimes called “the mother of cities.”  Not quite similar to the mother of dragons in the Game of Thrones family saga, but close enough!

I.

Know.

Prague.

It’s beautiful but in the summer months can get crowded, really noisy and sticky. I’m travelling with my I’ve-just-become-a-real-teenager son, so his comfort is of importance.

Cocktails at Angelo Hotel Prague, the Czech Republic
‘Looking forward to mock cocktails at the Angelo Hotel in Prague!

We will be staying at a four-star modern designed hotel on the other side of the Vltava River. Similar to the art design hotel in Helsinki, this hotel is large and has 168 rooms. We chose this spacious hotel as it’s trendy, in a residential quarter and quiet.

I weighed up whether to stay in the centre of Prague or to, unusual for me, choose a place a little further away. I chose further away for a little bit of peace and quiet LOL! The name of the hotel is Angelo Hotel Prague.

I can’t wait to show “The Tall Young Gentleman” my old haunts!

WHY BUDAPEST AND PRAGUE?

 

Budapest Spring Fair 2015
Budapest Spring Fair 2015

The first and only time that I visited Budapest was in 2004. I went with a German girlfriend of mine who wasn’t really interested in the sights, wasn’t really interested in history and wasn’t really interested in walking.

Sigh!

All I remember is the awful monstrosity of a “modern” hotel, a river cruise which was thankfully quite charming, real Hungarian goulash that wasn’t in the least chewy, and nothing at all about the city itself!

This visit is going to change all that.

And as for Prague? I have always had a love affair with that city of charm because after I graduated university, I went to live there!

It was my first real job and it was a high-flying graduate programme.

English in Europe. Courtesy of comedyinfinland.com
English in Europe.
Courtesy of comedyinfinland.com

I didn’t speak Czech or German.

I had never been to Eastern Europe before.

I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, and I wasn’t even getting paid initially!

It was the best thing that I had ever done. I had such a fantastic time, that I stayed on, became the Regional Project Manager and lived there for (2) two years!

St Charles Bridge Prague © Jorge Royan
St Charles Bridge Prague
© Jorge Royan

Prague is both romantic and successful, ancient and modern, cheap but can be horribly expensive.

But the same can be said for Budapest, and therein lies the rub.

These cities are based in Europe and have magnificent stories of richness, history and grandeur.

Both cities are classical beauties.

Both cities have mountains of history.

Both cities are based in Eastern Europe.

Which one shall be the Queen?!

Very inspiring!

HOW AM I TRAVELLING?

In the corridor of the local Polish Train.
In the corridor of the local Polish Train.

We will be travelling by train.

Between Berlin and Budapest, we will be taking the twelve hour (12) German Railway overland train service known as Deutsche Bahn or DB, on a direct train to Budapest.

In first class no less.

Faaaancy.

And the difference in price between the second (2nd) class train and the first (1st) class train was….

Wait for it.

Just €10.00.

Second (2nd) class €59.00 and first (1st) class €69.00.

I booked it immediately LOL!

The Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.
The Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.

Between Budapest and Prague, we will be taking the seven (7) hour train journey (second class this time) via the Hungarian Railways or MAV at a cost of 11,780 Ft or €38.40.

This journey should be interesting. About as interesting as when we went to the Polish country-side by local train too!

Between Prague and Berlin, we will be back on the German Network on a five (5) hour train journey (the usual second class) and don’t forget, even though I’ll be paying €29.00, on the German Deutsche Bahn trains, children under 15 years old, travelling with their relatives, are free and cost nothing at all!

Yeeeeees!

I’m so looking forward to sight-seeing river cruises, perhaps going to the baths.

Perhaps!

A Hungarian bath in Budapest

Gulp!

Rambling through the cobbled streets of both Budapest and Prague, booking a live escape game.

‘Should be thrilling!

Doing a little hiking, visiting some interesting museums that tell us a little of the history and culture, going on a walking tour, stuffing ourselves with marvellous local cuisine, going to the local theatre, watching a film in Hungarian or Czech and generally, just having a great time!

It’s going to be quite an adventure!

This article is part-sponsored by Aria Hotel Budapest, the Buddha-Bar Hotel in Budapest, and Angelo Hotel Prague but all opinions and the exciting time that I’m sure to have, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be writing from Budapest!

I’ll be there. Will you?

August is going to be quite the thing.

Watch this space!

Budapest Spring Fair 2015
Budapest Spring Fair 2015

Have you ever been to Hungary? Have you ever been to the Czech Republic? Are you team Budapest or Team Prague? Do you like my new it-took-me-a-few-hours-to-do-all-by-myself-blog-look? Any comments on my fancy logo?

See you in Berlin.

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