Finn-Fun in Budapest and Bratislava

Arriving to the Budapest bus station for the first time can be a bit confusing. The bus from Bratislava leaves you outside the station area and there are no signs to anything, ATM, taxis, anything. I remember the desperation, the following of random people to an underground tunnel, of trying to locate someone, ANYONE with even little English. Nowadays I'm a professional bus station goer there but I noticed a woman of about 50 years of age asking different people something. She didn't seem to be getting anywhere so I went to ask if maybe she was looking for an ATM, which there is located to a place that cannot be found except by those who already know where it is (note the clever Pirates of the Caribbean reference). So, I took her to the ATM and then back up to where the taxi stop was and I called her a taxi. She wasn't very impressed with Hungarian people for starters but at least I could sleep in peace knowing that she at least found her hotel. I was very much blessed by her. Turned out she was from Argentina and traveling Europe alone. Her next stop was Zagrep... I almost wanted to go with her just to see she's fine, she seemed so shaken already just by the Budapest bus station.

Where I took a taxi Jenni decided to navigate her way to the hotel with various public transports in a city she had never been to before. She did take quite a while :D We stayed in the Centrum House, which was nicely located right opposite the expensive hotel where I stayed after last Christmas, so the area at least was familiar. This hotel was just renovated and very comfy and well priced close to all transportation options you can find in Budapest.

Wednesday was a shopping day in the Váci street. It's a street surrounded by old and absolutely fabulous buildings and littered with shops selling anything, one specializing in nothing but Christmas tree decorations. I found a thick, huge and soft woolly jumper and three pairs of shoes I intended to buy in Bratislava because Euros. Jenni found a skirt.

In the evening we were supposed to meet two of Jenni's friends from exchange in Austria but we got stood up... Twice. So, we both fired up our Tinders and, what a surprise, got company from an Australian guy (they're everywhere around here!) who took us to the famous Ruin Bars of Budapest. 

I didn't know but I had already visited one of the Ruin Bars last time. Ruin Bars are bars that appear in old empty buildings, no bar licences or any sorts of permissions needed. Just find a ruin and start a bar! Some of them have become landmarks (Szimpla kert) whereas some cease to exist after few days if the neighbourhood is complaining. Then the hipsters go and find a new ruin.

On Thursday morning Jenni went to get her nails fixed and I went to find me a croissant and a coffee to consume in the sunshine.

After the nails were done we went to have some very Hungarian lunch (goulash) and then got our bikinis and towels and headed to the oldest baths in Budapest: Szechenyi medicinal baths.  

The water supplied for all the pools both inside and out comes from underground springs and is 74 degrees celsius warm, so it has to be cooled down to about 37 degrees before letting it into the pools. The water contains, for example, sulphate, calcium and magnesium and is good for joint illnesses. 

It was such a beautiful sunny day that we decided to go to the outside pools. It was only 14 degrees warm outside but it was just perfect for chilling out in the warm water. Quite a lot of people were there even though it's not really a season around here anymore. In the middle of the pool there was a smaller, round pool which had a currency so the water would take you with it if you even put one of your legs in there. It was so funny going around and around, I felt like a Formula :D The spa is absolutely beautiful so if in Budapest, do go there! Just prepare yourself for the fact that all locker rooms and showers are unisex.

In the evening we were AGAIN stood up by both of Jenni's friends and Tinder was useless so we just went to the center, got some dinner in an Italian restaurant and asked the waiter where to go next. He instructed this street, Gozsdu Udvar, with a variety of bars and restaurants. So, we went to one of them, ordered vodka and Redbull and realized it was actually a wine bar... No wonder the vodka cost so much.

After a little while we were joined by couple guys from New York who had just arrived in Budapest from Bratislava. They were staying in Air BnB (somebody renting out their flat for tourists) in the center so we went there to continue the party... and I think next time I'm going to stay at Air BnB if even half of them are like that flat! Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, balcony, view to the river, expensive furniture, I was impressed. In the end the party went on a little longer than we had planned and we almost missed our bus to Bratislava the next morning.

Needless to say, probably, but Friday was a little bit tired of a day. Still we had energy to go out to see what was going on in the center. And a lot was going on! A festival called Waves Bratislava was all over the place so there were music performances everywhere. We ended up in the market hall (Stara Trznica) where they had some Slovak favourite band performing. I don't know what those guys were on but the gig was crazy! The music brought to my mind the words "modern" and "humppa". I have never seen so many Slovaks smiling and just having so bloody much fun! You couldn't help but laugh yourself.

Saturday was another shopping day and even though I didn't buy the shoes I had been thinking of in Budapest I did buy shoes, and also a shirt and sun glasses (to replace the ones I left in Budapest during Sziget Festival). In the evening we had a party at my place and we finally got to a club and dancing. As usually here the music was mostly shit but there were some nuggets of gold among there. We even bumped into some Finnish futsal players: FC YPA, who had apparently lost a game earlier that day. Somehow we managed to lose them after about 5 minutes. After 4am we ordered a taxi to drive our smashed feet back home.

We were blessed with another beautiful and warm day on Sunday so what other place is there for a sunny afternoon except the castle on top of a hill. It was perfectly warm and such a picturesque weather. Perfect for enjoying cakes and coffee on a terrace after coming down from the castle. 

Next week came and on Monday it was time for me to return to work. Jenni instead went to Vienna for the day. In the evening when we were both back at my hoods we got ourselves ready for Jenni's last night in Bratislava. We were in the center after 9pm but still there were quite a lot of people eating on terraces in the Old Town and walking around. Because some of the restaurants on the way had already closed for the night we found ourselves outside a place called Verne. It has been highly recommended to me multiple times and we've tried to get in there couple of times but it's always full. This time we were there so late that we got a table. We ordered steak. And I finally found a proper steak in this city! It was sooo tasty, not chewy at all, perfect sized portion and surprisingly good wine (Slovak red wines can be a bit surprising sometimes). I wanted to take a picture of the beautiful portion but this (murder?) happened before I could get the phone out of it's cover:

Overall this was the best week/holiday I've had for a while, so much fun! The holiday came at the perfect time after couple very stressful weeks at work. Company was great, we did sooo much in a rather short a time and with memories of everything that went on I'll be just fine for a long time to come! Kiitos Jenni kun kävit! 


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