Day 10 - Munich rainbows
We checked out of our Air BnB early that next morning and decided to start the day by reflecting on some of Germany’s darkest hours at the Dachau Memorial, the site of the first concentration camp established in 1933. It was an eerie yet eye-opening experience walking through the memorials and original structures; the site stands as a powerful reminder of how much better the world is today. Never again, I thought while paying my respects.
Afterwards we boarded a bus for a 20-minute ride into the city. It began to rain but we thought we better make the most of it so we headed to Hirschgarten, the largest beer garden in Germany that seats over 8000 people both inside and out. This place even has a deer petting zoo! After enjoying lunch and hiding out from the rain it was time for a leisurely stroll back to Central Station to catch our bus. We walked through beautiful courtyards, sidewalks filled with amazing street art, and even a skate park. All of this made us wish we had spent more time in Deutschland.
As we neared the station the rain cleared up and we were greeted by a beautifully fitting rainbow. We grabbed our backpacks from the locker and embarked on yet another overnight bus ride across Europe. We found some good seats and got comfy for the long haul. Destination Budapest!
Day 11 - Budapest spa day
The overnight bus ride was a definite relief since it was our last one of the trip. We arrived in Budapest about as well rested as one could be while crammed into a bus, so we decided to stretch our legs and stroll around the metro area to kill some time before check-in. We found a nice café, grabbed breakfast, and figured our plan for the day. Naturally, we did what anyone would do after 10+ days of traveling including 3 overnight bus rides, which was treat ourselves to a spa day!
Luckily, Budapest is the place for a relaxing spa day since its full of natural thermal baths. We decided to see what they were all about. After dropping off our bags at a luggage hold, we waked to Szechenyi Thermal Bath. The place is filled with 21 pools, both hot and cold, inside and out. We hopped from pool to pool, soaking up the warm sun outside with cold drinks in hand. We topped our visit with a quick massage session. Talk about paradise.
After the spa it was time to head to our Air Bnb located in a nice urban district of restaurants, clubs, and night life. Our place was the master bedroom in a second story apartment above a pharmacy which was perfect since we had to stock up on some essentials. Even better, we had an actual washer and dryer to use! To compliment the spa day, we freshened up and headed out to a nice restaurant. Around the corner of the restaurant we found an amazing gelato shop that had tiramisu gelato (my favorite) and lavender (Reagan’s favorite). After our night out we made it back to the apartment to do some laundry only to find that washer/dryer combos work a little different over here than in the States. We finally figured out how to dry our soaking clothes…even if it meant hanging them up all over our room. C’est la vie. We decided to turn in for the night.
Day 12 - Budapest by foot
After that relaxing first day in Budapest it was time to get out and venture into the city. We did our usual routine of breakfast and checking our Google itinerary and realized that we were in for a long day. We grabbed a subway then a bus across town to the other side of the Danube River. Once there, we had a long uphill walk to the Matthias Church, but oh was it worth it. We discovered a beautiful lookout at the Fisherman’s Bastion overseeing all of Budapest. It was something out of a fairytale; the rustic castle alongside the pristine river while across the water was the regal Hungarian Parliament building. At our backs was the exquisite Matthias Church with its beautiful Gothic spires and gorgeous steeple.
Afterwards we crossed an open market and made our way to the Sandor Palace. As we arrived, we got to see the changing of the guards outside. I admit, it was a bit strange. We imagined the President’s Palace to be lined with towering walls and fences but to our surprise we didn’t see anything else other than the guards outside!
The Palace was beautiful and had its own view of the Danube. We made our way to the Zero Kilometer Stone, which is the point from where all the distances in Budapest are measured. Sitting around the stone were about 15 people with a camera crew. It looked like some sort of Japanese game show was being filmed! They had a host, props, and plenty of questions to ask. Too bad we didn’t speak the language!
After that we walked across the Szechenyi Chain Bridge to the other side of the river. Just like everything else in the city it was beautifully classical in design and cast in stone. Next, was the Hungarian Parliament building in Orszaghaz. This Gothic-inspired, Renaissance Revival era building is the third largest parliamentary building in the world. Needless to say, this structure was massive.
To the rear of the Parliament Building we came to gorgeous square filled with statues, memorials, and greenery. We took the long way home and strolled the streets of Budapest, trying to hit every site we could see like St. Stephen’s Basilica. We also stumbled into a beer fest that was going on at a park. There had to be 20 different breweries there! We purchased a glass and went from place to place to try all they had to offer, not to mention tons of street food.
We tried some traditional Hungarian food called tocsni which is like a small pan-shaped dish with dough made from shredded potatoes and eggs. On top, the tocsni is loaded with chicken, roasted, peppers, and plenty of cheese. Think pizza but with an eastern European twist! After we had our fill of food and beer, we made our way back to the Air BnB. We had a departing flight for Italy tomorrow morning.
Be on the look out for Chapter 6 of our adventure and don't forget to shop some favorites on our store!
Story by: Jeremy Lux
Written by: Eric Gasa