Budapest (Part 2 - Buda)

I mentioned some of the things that I remember most about Budapest in Part 1.  

Recap: the beautiful architecture and the abundance of groups of men on stag dos.

Now, with the help of Jess, my travel buddy, I would now like to add :

  • How green it was! I don't know why, but it wasn't something I was expecting. Though if you know me, then you'll know this is something I loved.
  • The smell of lilacs permeating the air. We went to Budapest in mid-April when the lilacs were in bloom and their scent was a constant companion during our trip. Again, something I loved. 
  • How cheap it was. Seriously though, I seem to have the tendency to visit the most expensive places possible, thankfully Budapest was an exception to this. There were still expensive things and places, but after London and Stockholm it's almost a miracle I didn't go around like I was in a rap video, making it rain forints wherever I went. Well, technically we kind of did one night when we went out for a nice meal and got every single side on the menu to go with our mains. We didn't even finish them all, but I can safely say the mashed potatoes were amazing. 

However, I digress... 

Day two. 

We started off the day at Liberte for brunch (again). It is so aesthetically pleasing it almost hurts; the tile floor, the marble tabletops, the wood panelling... everything. My iphone photos do not do it justice. 

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After brunch we went to explore the Buda side of the river.

Fisherman's Bastion, Buda Castle, Royal Palace, Matthias Church, the Hungarian National Gallery, and lots of other detours along the way. 

 We got caught in a bit of a wind storm on our way to Buda. I don't know if it would actually be classified as such, but it was a very strong wind that created mini tornados of dirt and dust from the streets. It wouldn't be an understatement to say we did not cross the bridge unscathed. The wind actually pelted us with debris and dirt from the street; by the end of the walk there was grit in our teeth, our ears and our hair. Mildly traumatising at the time, but a funny memory now.

After lunch (a disappointing affair at the cafe by Fisherman's Bastion) we crossed back over the bridge (unscathed by flying debris this time) to head to the Donut Library. Deeeeelicious. 

DONUTS!! (caps warranted) Nutella (my fave) and pink with sprinkles (because sprinkles)

DONUTS!! (caps warranted) Nutella (my fave) and pink with sprinkles (because sprinkles)

Flower wreaths at a stall on our way home

Flower wreaths at a stall on our way home

On our way back to the apartment we stopped in at the Cultural Museum. It was across from the parliament buildings but we had no idea it was there until we asked at the Hungarian National Gallery if there was a Cultural Museum (such a nerd; I love a good cultural museum). It was in a vast, gorgeous building that was practically deserted (such a shame, though we were there late in the afternoon) so we had free run of the exhibits, which we both really enjoyed. It was also quite a surreal feeling being in such a huge old building pretty much alone. Tip: if you're under 25 years old (or look under 25 - win!) the entrance fee is cheaper. Plus they have lockers, should you need to leave your jackets, bags... or donuts. 

Budapest (Part 1 - Pest)

One of the things people most often comment on when I tell them that I lived in London for two years is how much travel I must of done. While it's true Europe was on my figurative doorstep, I didn't travel outside of the UK nearly as much as I would have liked (poor me I know). Luckily I was able to make up for it in the few months before I came back to Canada. I travelled to six countries and 12 cities and towns within them. It was amazing. 

I wanted to catalogue some of my favourite photos from my trips, mainly for family and friends who have been asking about my travels, but also as a keepsake for myself. What can I say, a Facebook album just doesn't have the same panache... and thus far I've failed miserably at creating the scrapbook/printed book I said I would. So many great ideas, so little time. 

Although it doesn't make the most chronological sense I decided to start with Budapest. Full disclosure: this is mostly because it was sunny the whole time and I'm in full on summer mode at the moment. So with that being said, here is Budapest...

Parliament Buildings

Parliament Buildings

I travelled to Budapest with my best friend Jess, who came over to spend a few days in London and then travel back with me. *Quick side note: Jess is an incredibly talented photographer who is responsible for about half the pictures in this post (ie: the really good ones) . I highly recommend you check out some of her work www.jessicabenderphotographyblog.com*  

We stayed at a beautiful apartment about five minutes away from the parliament buildings, so decided to spend the first day of our trip on the Pest side of the river. 

Our first stop was breakfast at one of the most aesthetically-pleasing cafes I've ever been to (more on that later) then we ventured down to the parliament buildings. 

 

From there we went for a walk along the Danube to the famous Chain Bridge

From there we went for a walk along the Danube to the famous Chain Bridge

http://www.jessicabenderphotographyblog.com/

http://www.jessicabenderphotographyblog.com/

Windy day on the Chain Bridge - http://www.jessicabenderphotographyblog.com/

Windy day on the Chain Bridge - http://www.jessicabenderphotographyblog.com/

  A moving tribute to Holocaust victims:   "Shoes Along the Danube" 

  A moving tribute to Holocaust victims:   "Shoes Along the Danube

It's at this point (ok, it was a little while back) that I have been struck with the realisation of just how tricky writing a travel blog post actually is. Trying to capture the essence of a city, or how you feel when you're in that place is incredibly challenging. This is magnified when you managed to pack in quite as much as we did in to a trip. We clocked at least 10-15 miles a day walking around the city, taking in the incredible architecture and sights along the way. We soaked up the culture, laughed, ate, and made many a memory (mostly of the "you had to be there" variety so I'll spare you). Though, I digress, let's continue with our first day...

 

After the river and Parliament we made our way to St Stephen's Basilica... Naturally we climbed to the top. Partially for the view and partially to work off the treats we ate at Cafe Gerbeaud.

At the top!

At the top!

View from the top

View from the top

Heading back down...

Heading back down...

We ended the afternoon at City Park. Wandered around Vajdahunyad Castle (pictured below), got some traditional Hungarian food from one of the stands set up in the park and then made our way for a soak in one of the thermal baths Budapest is known for.

Szechenyi Thermal Bath is one of the largest spa complexes in Europe and the first thermal bath build in Pest. Though what I'll remember most was the stunning building set amidst the backdrop of a moody sky... and the bachelor parties, or rather the stag do's as most of them were British. Oh those stag parties (nah, doesn't sound right when you blend it), those stag do's - the bath was FULL of them and man were they rowdy (though it would be a slight let down if they weren't).

I'm fairly confident you haven't experienced true bewilderment and social anxiety until you've been the subject of chanting led by a pool full of rowdy men - in a bikini no less! - all egging each other on. Thankfully this was a purely observed occurrence and I am not speaking from personal experience. Though I was mildly traumatised at the thought and made sure to leave through a different exit that was under much less scrutiny.

Below is one of the many 'beer bikes' we saw. I have to say it does look pretty fun, and if you could put cider in that keg I think I might have just figured out my future hen-do plans. 

Dip Dye Cupcake Liners

This is a re-post from my old blog a few years ago. Since this has definitely been my most popular post ever, I thought I would share it again. It has been featured on buzzfeed food, featured dozens of times on other blogs and re-pinned about a thousand times. Needless to say, I'm happy my little idea was so well received!

 

 

We're having a little Easter party with some of the girls from work this week and I'm so excited! We have a little after-work get together every few months. The excuse for us to meet up and laugh - and have a drink or two - varies, but one thing that remains the same is that we all bring something yummy for the group to enjoy. Since Easter is arguably the prettiest holiday - so many pastels! - we thought we would try to make this the prettiest party yet.

I am really loving the ombre trend currently so I thought it would be fun to try and make some ombre pastel cupcake liners to match the ombre cupcakes I'm planning on bringing to the party. I scoured the internet for a DIY, but sadly to no avail, so I had to make it up myself... a daunting prospect.

The cupcake liners didn't soak up the dye like I thought they would, so they ended up being more dip dye than ombre... but despite not turning out quite as planned, I am definitely pleased with the results. I know I'm a bit biased, but I think they turned out really well. They're prettier than plain white cupcake liners, but far less expensive than the printed ones that are available.


What you'll need:
- white cupcake liners
- food colouring (I used red, blue and green)
- water
- bowls for mixing the dye in that are wide enough on the bottom to fit the top of a cupcake liner
- newspaper or an old sheet to protect the surface you're working on (it can get messy)

 

It's pretty simple actually, all you have to do is mix the food colouring in a bowl with some water (use more water for lighter shades) and then dip the top of the cupcake liner in it. I tried dying the bottom of the liner and it didn't work so well, but perhaps you're more talented than me and can pull it off. Also, as I mentioned the cupcake liners don't soak up the dye very quickly, and since I'm rather impatient I ended up just swishing them around in the dye so the process would go much faster. Swishing them around means that the colour at the top won't be even, but I kind of like it that way.

       

 

 

 

 

After you've put the liners in the dye mixture, there will be some excess on them (as you can see above). You can either just wait it out and it will dry eventually, making the colour a bit darker... or you can gently tap the liners on the edge of the bowl to shake off the excess dye. Just make sure you have something underneath, because it can get a bit messy.

The colours I chose to do were pink, purple and seafoam. 

Pink was just red dye and water; Purple was a mixture of blue and red (though I think I might have accidentally used more blue than red); Seafoam was a mixture of blue and green (it was pretty equal that time).

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