Discover home exchange with stories from our members.
Yvonne and Mike, on exchange through Austria and Hungary. Let’s see what they have been doing on their latest trip with GuestToGuest.
Budapest – a city with a confident, youthful present with a fascinating, turbulent history.
As part of a fortnight-long travel through Austria to Budapest (and following our first swap in Austria), we stayed at Chad and Kori’s place for 7 nights.
From the moment we arrived on the train we fell in love with Budapest. The romance of the sometimes faded art nouveau architecture was instantly intoxicating.
A yellow tram whipped us through the city taking us neatly and efficiently through to Chad and Kori’s elegant 19th-century apartment. Its location was perfect, a few steps from Andrássy Avenue and Kiraly Utca in the heart of Pest.
We were ready for lunch after our train journey from Austria and we’d heard that Budapest is becoming a culinary capital of Europe but being vege’s we wondered how we’d fare? We soon found a stall selling oil-soaked lángos (deep-fried dough topped with sour cream, cheese, and garlic) and this followed by a sugar-coated chimney cake went down nicely.
We decided to take it easy and spend our first afternoon in the legendary Széchenyi Bath, a majestic spa and a picturesque sight with its thermal-water pools and statuesque structures. In its steamy outdoor pool, we watched the regulars playing chess while letting our muscles melt amid the heated waters.
The next day was beautifully hot and sunny, the Danube twinkled and reflected it’s art nouveau grandeur as we took a Danube River taxi to Margaret Island. This cool green sanctuary invited us to take things slowly and we strolled and sipped cool Soproni beer under a tree, and watched the world roll by.
From the window of our tram back across the bridge, we soon became amazed by the city, with its immediate signs of a confident, youthful present and a grand but turbulent history.
The following day, interested to find out more about the city’s past, we took a ride on the city’s classic yellow underground, and visited the magnificent Royal Palace, St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Parliament House and finished the day drinking white hot chocolate at the New York cafe – it’s breathtaking interior described as “The Most Beautiful Cafe in the World”.
On our days to follow we rode on the wooden-framed funicular from the Chain Bridge up to the Buda Castle in style, taking in the breathtaking view, drunk cappuccino in the city’s cat cafe and took a fascinating Communist walking tour – learning about the lives of Hungarians during the dramatic period of the Soviet occupation and the Communist regime.
We finished off our trip by taking an exciting mini hotrod ride round Heroes’ Square and spent our last evening in one of Budapest’s renowned ruin pubs. Amid crumbling brick walls of an abandoned warehouse we sipped pálinka – taking in the surreal and psychedelic art and before rolling home for a cup of tea at Chad and Kori’s.
We hope to be back soon… if Chad and Kori will have us!