I really like this city!!
Maybe because i didn't do my homework prior to the trip (busy with kaira during the summer holiday and what not), so i really had ZERO expectations and also did not know what to expect.
And that sets the stage for a very very pleasant surprise!
I think i've been to too many places that uses the Euro, that i've forgotten what it feels like to visit a city with a relatively "weak" currency. Think thailand (ok, i don't know about the S$/baht exchange now, but 10+ years ago when i first visited bangkok, the relative strength of the S$ meant that things were relatively cheap so one can eat well and shop to heart's content knowing that one is getting a good deal! so much so that after my first visit, BKK became an annual short holiday for us for quite a few years)
Now, that's exactly how i feel about budapest :)
the eating and shopping was really excellent!!!
i really wasn't expecting to shop but after we discovered that shopping can be good on the first day, we decide to devote ONE full day to shopping (instead of making day trips out to other towns/tourist spots) ;p not forgetting the shopping that we manage to sneak in whilst sightseeing and eating.... considering that we arrived on Saturday later afternoon and was scheduled to leave on Wed mid-day -- we really spent quite alot of time shopping ;p hehehe. and the reason for doing so? there's a chain of outlet stores and the markdowns are attractive. they specialise in english brands and the british flag symbol was their "brand mark". they have so many outlets - along Rakoczi street, near the central market and along fashion street, one outlet specialising only in children's clothes -- oh wow -- it's been a long time since i had to PLOUGH though so so so many clothes!!! all in the hope of finding the bargain ;p
the best buy was probably my Superdry windjacket for less than 9 euros!!! gosh.
now, i am kind of glad that i don't normally shop in Eindhoven, unless it's for essentials. which means that when i am in a city like budapest, i can really shop to my heart's content cos i haven't been spending $$$ mah....hahahaha.... aiyah, i am consoling myself .... we did alot of shopping too in barcelona!!! but of course, we bought alot more in budapest for a fraction of what we spent in barcelona.
next surprise is the food. or rather, the quality of food that we get for the price we pay :) think this is the result of me so used to the *not worth paying so much to eat out* type of food here in eindhoven -- makes me appreciate the good food that i can get whenever i travel!! i find hungarian meals very meaty -- think meat stews. anywayz, i do enjoy the local hungarian fare cos i like stews!! flavorful is the word.
We chanced upon a restaurant,Apostolok, while wondering around and are glad we decided to give it a try. they serve traditional hungarian fare and the food was great and the restaurant so full of old world charm, i really enjoyed myself!!
@ the Apostolok restaurant
And we did someting that we would not normally do on a holiday. We went for a buffet, to be exact, we went for Sunday Brunch and spent HALF our day having brunch!!! we really surprised ourselves ;p in the past, i am sure we would rather spend our time sightseeing than "wasting" time @ a buffet!!!
and we certainly did not regret our choice! in fact, it was so enjoyable, that i will do it again! LOL.
We had the Sunday Brunch @ Intercontinental Hotel -- it's supposed to have great views of the river -- but i found it "so so" cos the restaurant was situated on the ground floor of the hotel, so don't expect too much. the spread was ok. cannot use the hong kong/singapore-style buffet variety as yardstick -- if so, one will be disappointed at the spread i suppose. but good enough for me :)
they had a kids corner and 2 staff looking after the kids with a dedicated spread for kids -- now, that's the winner for us!! wooohooo ..... unbelievable, we enjoyed the live music, free flow of champagne, drinks and food for almost 3 hours without being disturbed by Kaira!! Priceless :) she was even easy to feed cos she was hungry after all the playing and she wanted to finish her food fast so that she can go back to play. the brunch costs us about 50 euros, to me, it was worth every cent ;p kekeke.
We also had the chance to try traditional hungarian cakes at Gerbeaud, an "institution" in its own right. it was so so crowded when we went there -- u can imagine how popular it is with tourists!! unfortunately, i do not appreciate the taste of the traditional Gerbeaud slice -- i was probably better off trying their newer desserts. but i had to try the traditional cake right? at least know what's all the fuss about :)
I am doing budapest such an injustice by blogging first about the shopping and eating!!! Shall blog more about the sights soon!