My last post was about how much I enjoyed eating all the food in Budapest & Prague, but I always intended to actually talk about the cities themselves. My friend and I spent three days in Budapest and five days in Prague. It was really an amazing little trip.
Budapest was such a nice change of pace after living in Dublin the last couple of months. It is technically supposed to be summer in Dublin, but of course, it's never really summer in Ireland. In Budapest, the weather was beautiful—definitely shorts and t-shirt weather.
We did a lot of drinking, a lot of eating (as evidenced by the previous post), and a lot of relaxing and walking around. We went on a walking tour on first day in Budapest, and got to walk around on both the Pest and Buda sides of the Danube River. Budapest is a lovely, beautiful city, but it's a bit run down, and that's part of it's charm. There are half destroyed and decaying buildings spread fairly abundantly around the city, but it's still lively and enchanting. Another plus, is great food, cheap beer, and cheap everything, basically. I would say it's a bit cheaper than Kansas City, which is great for a European city.
We were also completely retarded when it came to paying in Forints. It was about 300 HUF to the Euro, which proved to be quite difficult for us (I wish I sucked less at math), and people would just take money out of our hands when we were trying to pay for things because we would often hand them the wrong amount.
We had heard a lot about the ruin pubs before our arrival in Hungary. The ruin pubs are basically old half-destroyed buildings (from various wars) that were turned into exciting divey bars. We went to Szimpla (one of the more famous ruin bars) one night, and it definitely a lovely experience. We met some fellow (somewhat fellow for me, since I do live there!) Irish and Scottish men and chatted with them while downing way, way too many shots of Palinka. Palinka (I mentioned this in my previous post) is very, very strong fruit liquor. It burns like 151 going down, but I thought it was definitely better than the Absinthe shots we took in Prague (though my friend disagreed). We asked our new friends what time the bars close here, and they said, "eh sometimes never sometimes whenever they feel like it."
One of my favorite things from Budapest was getting to go to the Széchenyi Baths. The Széchenyi baths are one of the largest baths in Europe and are fed by thermal springs. It was so relaxing, and was a needed break after walking around the city for a couple days.
Prague felt like a bigger city, and definitely was filled with more tourists. It definitely lives up to the description of being a fairytale city, as the architecture there is absolutely breathtaking. My friend kept joking that we would eventually find the shitty part of Prague, but it just never happened. Prague was a bit cooler then Budapest weather wise, but still so much nicer than Dublin. We also kept stumbling upon the coolest random things.
Our first day here, we stopped in Old Town Square and I was immediately enthralled when I saw a performer in a kilt blasting Die Antwoord and some other music that was definitely not family friendly in a square full of children and tourists. We watched his show, which was entertaining enough, but his personality and charm was what really made the show awesome. His name was Chicken Joe, and he was from Belfast (more fellow Irishmen) and he ended up taking us to a local bar that is definitely far off the beaten path for the average tourist. He was a character and had great stories to tell (he also grew up in a family of buskers and performers). His Danish friend was bat shit crazy, like he definitely did too many drugs in his past and most likely his present. Chicken Joe kept reminding that his friend was harmless enough and he proved to be alright.
Beer is better in Prague, though not quite as cheap. Prague is known for having great cheap beer, and our first night there we went to the Prague Beer Museum and tried a flight of local beers, which were mostly pretty good. Everything in Prague is a little more expensive then Budapest, but still much cheaper than Dublin. The money was also easier for our poor minds to comprehend, approximately 25 Czech to the Euro (after the conversion rate) was so much easier to deal with. Another interesting thing we found is that you are allowed to smoke cigarettes everywhere, in every bar and every restaurant. I found that my favorite beer was Krušovice, a dark stout that was surprisingly similar to Guinness, but not quite as heavy.
Absinthe is a fairly popular drink in Prague. We tried absinthe in the traditional Czech way, just a straight shot, which was horrible. I knew already that I wasn't a big fan of Absinthe, but I was determined to give it another shot (no pun intended, ha). I do not like licorice flavored things, especially licorice flavored things that burn like a mother going down. We also tried Absinthe in the more popular non-Czech way with the caramelized sugar and water, which was far more tolerable.
We took a day trip to Kutna Hora, which turned into more of an afternoon trip, which means we didn't actually get to explore the city of Kutna Hora at all. Our main purpose of going to Kutna Hora was to see the Sedlec Ossuary or more famously known as the bone church. The bone church is a small Roman Catholic Church decorated with bones from approximately 40,000-70,000 human skeletons. I was expecting it to be creepier than it turned out to be, but it was definitely amazing.
Our main nightlife excursion in Prague was to go to the Cross Club, an alternative industrial electronic club. It's decorated with all sorts of gadgetry giving it a very industrial feel and it even has moving pipes and parts. However, I wish I wasn't so exhausted when we got here though. We didn't arrive till 2 A.M. (It's open till 7 A.M.), but the music was still bumping and vibes were still good. I would definitely recommend going here, and I definitely want to go back there sometime.
Overall, the trip was amazing. We did find that the people of Budapest and the people of Prague do not know how to pour beers properly, or they simply do not care. Beers are always poured with a ton of head, and are never filled to the top. At least they are cheap! My friend found this to be way more irritating than I did, as I was just having a good time! I loved Budapest and Prague both. Budapest for the ruin pubs, amazing food, cheap beer, and the baths. Prague for the incredible architecture and beauty, good beer, and cool vibes. I can't wait for my next adventure.