Since we had a rental car for a couple of hours from our previous day's trip to Vienna, we decided to quickly check-out a couple of places that are difficult to commute via public transportation.
Our first stop of the day was Citadella, which is located at the top of Gellert hill. It is the highest point in Budapest, and you can actually see the eight bridges on the Danube river from here. At the highest point of the Citadel, there is the Liberty Statue which features the "lady carrying the leaf" looking over the city.
As you can see from the image, the pedestal and the statue on it are very tall (if you can't tell, I am standing under it). There are also a couple of statues located on either side of the pedestal - showcasing a couple of warriors - one guy killing a three-headed dragon, and other holding a flame.
I thought the statues looked great, though a little faded - possibly with the course of time. The guy killing the dragon is very unique, I don't think I'll see another like it again.
I was craving Indian food, so we checked on yelp and went to Taj Mahal, which had good reviews. We had to wait a little while for our food to be cooked - but it was worth the wait. The food was delicious and totally authentic. We finished everything we ordered.
Our next stop was Margaret Island, which is located on the Danube river, right in the midst of the city. I believe the majority of this island is used as a park - and it was huge. I love cities that have huge parks in them (like Amsterdam) - so I was delighted to see the same here. At the entrance of the park was this sculpture surrounded by flowers, which was unique.
As we went further in, we realized it was impossible to see the entire island completely in the few hours we had - so we rented a tricycl-ish kind of thing (picture below) for a couple of hours.
Now with this tricycle - we could roam around the entire park - yay! We first went to the zoo, which housed a few animals - including deers.
It was nice to see them from so close. As we biked along, we reached the flower gardens - which were super pretty.
There were rows and rows of flowers of so many kinds, and there was plenty of space to laze around and relax there. We spent some time people watching - there were a lot of families in the park - but it still didn't seem super crowded.
After some more time around the park, we checked out - and came back to the Pest side. Of, there was a great view of the Parliament building as we were walking back to the Pest side.
After checking trip advisor, we decided to go to Cafe Gerbeaud next, which quoting the wiki is:
Café Gerbeaud is one of the greatest and most traditional coffeehouses in Europe. Today still, it shines in Gründerzeit style with its stucco, the grand chandeliers, the panelling made of exotic woods and its furniture.
Now, neither of us had coffee there, but as described the place did have a classical feel with the fancy chandeliers. We had cake and macaroons - both of which were yummy.
Our last stop of the day was Szimpla Kert. We read about ruin pubs on a leaflet at the Budapest airport, and were curious about it - so we decided to check them out despite being exhausted. I'm so glad we went.
This experience was a complete culture shock to me. Now, I'm used to going to pubs, but ruin pubs are something else. The atmosphere was casual, but still very lively - but the decor of the place was most quirky. There were multiple rooms inside the pub, and we spent some time at the hookah bar. Here, we actually sat on a bath tub and had some of our drinks, which was obviously re-decorated to be used as seating. I saw jars of pasta at one corner (like how you would keep them in a kitchen), and also a car that was used as seating.
There were some interesting hangings on the wall, like the picture above shows. One of the rooms had a projector which showed very peculiar video clips. There was ample room to dance here, so I guess this was the dance floor for the day. Oh, there was an outdoor room at the end of the pub where they sold burgers - and the veggie burger was super yummy.
I can really go on and on about this place, but really this is meant to be experienced. If there's only one thing you can do in Budapest, go to a ruin pub - just be prepared for a culture shock.