I took a 4-day side trip to Budapest, Hungary. It’s called the Paris of the east. I don’t know why because it doesn’t feel like Paris at all. It’s a cool place but just nothing like Paris. I really liked Budapest though it had a charm in it’s own way that’s difficult to explain in words but here I am attempting to explain it that way.
BATH HOUSES: The bath houses here are supposed to be amazing. So I went to the most popular one, the Szchenyi Thermal Baths. The outdoor pool was sooo warm it was as if they had 5 elephants in it taking a non stop piss, warm warm warm. I loved it. Don’t worry the elephants are invisible so you never see them pissing. I became friends with one of the invisible elephants, her name was Henrietta. This place is massive with 3 huge outdoor pools. And a crazy amount of pools inside from freezing cold, to hot, to saunas galore. Go. You will like it. It’s a must in Budapest.
RUIN PUBS: They have taken old ruin buildings and have turned them into amazing bars. I went to a couple of them but the one that really stood out is Szimpla Kert. Wow, that place is one of the raddest bars I’ve ever been to. Go to it. And make love to it. In Szimpla Kert they have so many different areas with different music, hookah areas, food areas, etc. I went two nights and had the hookah each time and had plenty of beautiful beers. They also have dickbread and sell carrots, apparently selling phallic snacks is good for business. I bought a carrot. The dickbread was sold out by the time I got hungry again.
HUNGARIAN BOOZE: They have a variety of Hungarian Beer from Soproni, Dreher and Borsodi that are just basic simple lagers. Nothing special except the price which is super cheap at $1 to $2 a beer. Hungary’s popular liquor shot is Palinka which is pretty much a fruit brandy. It’s so strong that it puts hair back on bald men. It comes in a variety of fruits like Apricot, pear, plum and cherry. I had a cherry that I could feel burning in my soul for 30 minutes. Unicum is another popular liquor shot and has a light licorice taste.
HUNGARIAN FOOD: I tried a variety of Hungary’s most popular dishes and realized these people love Paprika in their food. They are famously known for being the originators of Goulash which is a soup of beef, potatoes and vegetables and a lot of paprika. I had it and it’s pretty good, not great though. Another popular Hungarian dish is (Paprikas Csirke) Chicken Paprikash. Which is chicken served with a creamy paprika sauce with a dollop of sour cream. It came with dumplings which is just little pieces of pasta that are a little like gnocchi. Dumplings are perplexing me in Europe. In my US brain dumplings are asian style dumplings. But Prague’s dumplings are different too, they are like sliced bread. And now Hungary’s dumplings are different too. Apparently dumplings have a serious multiple personality disorder.
An interesting street snack is “Langos” which is a plate size of fried dough that you can have in different ways. I asked the langos stand lady to do it the way a Hungarian does it so she put garlic sauce, sour cream and cheese on it. It was massive, a lot bigger than I expected. It was good but way to filling. I only ate a third of it and I felt like shit for 3 hours. It has the power to turn you into a lethargic sloth so be careful.
Turos Csusza (cheese noodles) which is wide noodles mixed in with Turo cheese. Turo cheese is a mix between cottage cheese and ricotta cheese. It was good, nothing amazing but worth trying. Also I never had goose and it was on the menu and had to try it. And it was good but greasy. It’s like the mixture of turkey and duck which is pretty good. Don’t know if it’s Hungarian or not, but it was delicious and you should eat goose and let it fly into your bellyyyy mmmmmmmmmm.
SITES: I saw some metal shoes called “Shoes on the Danube.” It’s a memorial to the Budapest Jews who were shot by Arrow Cross militiamen during WW2. The victims were lined up and shot into the Danube River. Since shoes were valuable at the time, they made them take their shoes off. Super sad. Then I went on the Chain bridge that separated Buda from Pest. Apparently Budapest is one place but split between two areas of Buda and Pest by the river. Then I saw a bunch of statues, cathedrals etc.
WHY DID I COME HERE?: In my last full time job I was a Creative Director on Taco Bell. And we shot a commercial in Budapest to give it a cold war feel. I unfortunately didn’t get to go on the shoot because I was going through some personal stuff at the time. So I always wanted to go and check it out since I spent hours in an edit bay staring at the amazing footage that was shot there. So I’m glad I got to come. Here’s the commercial if your interested in checking it out.
THINGS NEVER TO DO IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY: Never start watching a hit show that everyone says you need to watch. I started watching “Stranger Things”. Wow, it’s great. Wow, I watched it after coming home from partying. Wow, I stayed up till 5am both nights, granted I came home at 2am and 3am respectively but still don’t watch a hit show because it’s a hit for a reason and it’s a drug and you will watch more than you should and you will sleep in till noon and miss out on a couple hours when you should be awesome in a new city. We all know this but yet the drug of a new show that everyone loves is soooooo strong. Damnnnnn you Stranger Things!!! Damn you and your awesomeness drug.
OVERALL: Budapest is rad. Go to it. Go to the bath houses, wow. Go to the ruin pubs mainly Szimpl Kert but go early or the line will be longer than Ron Jeremy’s wang. Those are the two must things I think you need to do.