Budapest, Hungary ‘til this day is still one of the most unreal places that I have ever been to. Walking out of the Budapest Keleti railway station, is like stepping into a time machine set for an early modern Eastern Europe. As soon as we walked out of the train station, we were greeted by a “gypsy” asking us for money, a reoccurring theme you run into while traveling around Europe. We immediately walked to “home base” (McDonalds – Literally one of the best things you can see in a foreign place are the golden arches -- food you know and FREE WIFI), where we proceeded to book our accommodations for our “planned 1 night stay” in Budapest. This is one of the best tips I will ever give you, if you’re looking for a good time in a foreign city, just Google “best party hostel to stay in (insert city here)”. Although it may sound elementary, this technique has NEVER failed me.
We were then directed to ‘Infinity Party Hostel’. The name alone should’ve been a good enough foreshadow as to what was coming. After arguing with a cab driver who didn’t want to use his meter (NEVER, and I mean NEVER get into a cab that isn’t using a running meter, they will try and get over on you!), we decided to walk since it was only 20 minutes away by foot. After arriving at the hostel and climbing up two sets of stairs with our suitcases, we made it to the lobby and checked in. The manager behind the desk warned us, “Budapest, and especially this hostel, has a way sucking people in. I came to Budapest for a quick vacation and stayed here at this hostel. 2 years later, I still haven’t left and now I’m a manager here.” We figured life could be worse, so we went on ahead anyways. As if things couldn’t get any better, they proceeded to place us in the ‘Chuck Norris’ room. It was a huge 18 person bedroom, just for the 3 of us! Thanks Chuck!
The biggest thing we noticed while in Budapest was just how much further your dollar can go there. Being someone who just graduated college and not a lot of disposable income, this was music to my ears. This is how I came across, hands down, one of my favorite restaurants in the world, Trofea. How this place exists still blows my mind. Trofea is all you can eat, all you can drink restaurant. Sounds basic right? WRONG. Selections from the food included things like shark, octopus and more. Included in the drink package was wine, red & white, champagne and beer. Safe to say we never left that restaurant sober or hungry.
The highlight of Trofea is how they celebrate birthdays. They blast the birthday song over the restaurant’s speakers and everyone joins in singing you Happy Birthday. So on our second visit, Aidan & I decided to surprise Tomy, our third travel mate since he brought up the idea of us faking someone’s birthday during a drunken convo the visit before. We figured, why the hell not? The look on his face after pounding drinks for 2 hours straight and rocking a shirt that simply said “Friends + Benefits = Happiness” when they brought out a cake for his birthday that happened MONTHS ago is something that I will never forget.
After our second session at Trofea, we (Tomy & I, seeing that Aidan was KO’d since we forced him to finish a jug of wine by himself) made our way to one of the most insane events I have ever been to, the SPARTY, a combination of the world famous Hungarian baths & spas and an absolute all night rager that could bring the mightiest party animals to their knees. Never have I been to a pool party of this magnitude. I’m pretty sure there was a sign at the front door that I missed that said “leave your morals, good behavior, sanity and virginity in your lockers”. Til this day one of the funniest occurrences was Tomy being so ready to party, he slipped and fell, was knocked unconscious for about 8 seconds and rose up to keep partying as if he never fell. He still has no recollection of this ever happening.
So remember how we were supposed to be in Budapest for one just night? Well yeah, no. 1 spa party, champagne booze cruise (will expand on this and SPARTY in a later post), pub crawl, several clubs and a missed train and THREE whole days later, we finally made it out of the amazing black hole that is Budapest and made our way onto Prague.