Marc here. Vicki chose Budapest as a potential long weekend destination in December based on the recommendations of some Hungarian friends and what she had read about the Christmas markets there. She probably figured I would reluctantly, or at least, unenthusiastically tag along because it a new, different place to experience, even if I’m not necessarily a big Christmas market shopper. This turned out to be one of my favorite trips that we have taken.
European Christmas markets all consist of a mix of booths selling either merchandise or food and drinks. The ratio of these booths in Budapest tilted towards food and drinks, and what incredible food and drinks they were. The weather was chilly, but walking around was made easier by plenty of booths selling hot wine in a variety of fruity flavors. In general, I love street food, and Hungarian street food was awesome. Lots of sausage and meat and bread and vegetables and spices and flavor. Fresh warm chimney cakes for dessert, whenever. There was also plenty of Christmas gifts and merchandise, for people interested in that kind of thing.
Aunt Lisa and Grandma were visiting us in Switzerland, so of course they came along to Budapest. When we told them we were planning a weekend in Budapest, Aunt Lisa initially thought we were talking about a city in India. I have to be honest. I probably could not have named the country that Budapest is in a few years ago either. Unfortunately, Aunt Lisa does not have a very adventurous palate, and we couldn’t convince her to explore Hungarian cuisine, but she got to experience a city and country with us that she never dreamed she would.
Budapest is also so much more than the Christmas markets. I didn’t know the city is divided by the Danube river, with Buda on one side and Pest on the other. We took a cruise on the Danube one evening, and walked across one of the many bridges to climb up to the Buda Castle one day. Gorgeous architecture and views.
We really packed a lot into a three day weekend. We visited a thermal bath, for our first swimming experience in freezing temperatures, stopped into one of the original ruin pubs, and had an afternoon coffee and snack in one of the amazing coffee houses in Budapest.
Of course, Vicki had found us incredible accommodations. All seven of us were in an elegant old apartment right in the heart of the shopping district. So much character in an ideal location. The rest of us enjoy the rewards of all of the hours of research that Vicki puts into each trip.