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Friday, July 20, 2012

travelpantz in europe : a hidden gem in hungary! :

Budapest, Hungary: A Hidden Gem

Hello, friends of Diana!
My name is Jennifer and I write a little travel blog of sorts called Jenni Austria Germany
I've spent a good part of the past three years living and traveling abroad, mostly in Austria and Germany [bet you didn't see that coming, did you?].
As a result of these experiences, I've developed many opinions [maybe a little too many], one of which is: don't prematurely judge a city by its reputation or lack thereof.
For me, some cities [London, for instance] truly live up to their name, whereas others [Rome, ugh] leave something [or many things] to be desired.

Indeed, most tourists, when planning their European excursions, focus on the more popular hotspots: London, Paris, Rome. Now, I have some great memories in Paris, and London is one of my favorite cities, but I consider Budapest to be a surprisingly delightful city and find myself wondering why more tourists don't flock to Hungary's capital.

One reason why I love Budapest?
It's very, very, very inexpensive. According to the current exchange rate, a single U.S. dollar buys 233 Forints (the Hungarian currency). I once bought a jacket in Budapest for less than $2.00. A friend of mine, Chris, once withdrew the equivalent to $50 from an ATM in Budapest and had to go out of his way to spend it all before the weekend was over. He resorted to buying food and drinks for everyone, lest he have some leftover Forints, useless outside of Hungary's borders.

As far as sight-seeing goes, the Danube River which separates Buda from Pest (the two sub-cities that make up Budapest as a whole) is beautiful. Really, there are treasure troves to be discovered upon nearly every main street -- a Parliamant building here, a cozy little tea house there.

But the best part of Budapest [in my opinion] is...the baths.
The enormous thermal baths serve both medicinal and recreational purposes and lend themselves to Budapest's title of "the city of spas". While it is the older generation who mostly frequent these magical water wonderlands, you won't feel out of place as a young tourist. You'll have your choice of indoor and outdoor baths, but I prefer the outdoor. After paying an entry fee depending on the number of hours you plan to spend there, you'll change into your swimsuit, store your clothes in a locker and then enter the 'bathing' area. As the baths are modeled after those of ancient Greece, you'll feel as though you've gone back in time. And speaking of time -- it doesn't matter during what season you visit Budapest; the baths are heated. Winter, spring, summer, fall -- no worries, they'll be open. So set aside a day [or two] [[or three]] for the baths and soak your life away in the warm, calming waters. You won't be sorry. And if you are, I'll reimburse you the $3.00 it cost you to swim there.

i love it!
the post from chelsea about backpacking [on the cheap] through europe & this one from jenni makes me dream about going back to europe.
[i lived in germany for 5 months!]

stay connected with jenni!
twitter // blog [she has pages & pages of travel photos & stories from all over europe ; i love it!]