Here in Galway we’re in the middle of our midterm season. What I’ve come to learn, midterms are no fun in any country. So, logically and naturally, despite all the papers due and upcoming tests – it was time to book a trip to two cities instead of just one. On Feb. 21, I embarked on a journey to Budapest, Hungary and Prague, Czech Republic.
Our first stop was Budapest. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew about that one song “Budapest” by George Ezra, but other than that I just heard it’s a really cool city. And, truly, it is a really awesome city. Though, our prime destinations in Budapest were the infamous thermal baths located all over the city.
Budapest is widely known for its thermal baths or spas. It’s one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions that derives from the time of the Roman Empire. The water comes from a natural spring which keeps it heated all year round. So, after a long two flights and practically no sleep, we visited the baths and it was just what I needed after sitting next to two annoying people on an airplane.
Despite a few old men in the occasional speedo, the baths were unreal. To be honest, it reminded me a bit of an Atlantis Beach resort commercial. But, they were so cool to witness first hand. When I went to Budapest it was about 40℉, you could see the steam from the bath’s emerging. It was super cool to watch and even better once you got in and chilled. They even had a whirlpool in the center people can enter and leave if they really want to be spun around really fast. Overall, the thermal baths in Budapest are a must do. It was so relaxing.
It was so relaxing that, the rest of the day, my lack of sleep finally caught up with me. For the rest of Budapest we walked around and tried some Hungarian food. To be honest, a lot of this trip was spent trying new foods. I had a dish called chicken paprikash which was honestly super amazing. We also then tried to buy “chimney cakes.” Chimney, known as a trdlo in Prague, is a spit cake. It’s of Hungarian origin and essentially rolled up dough that you can put ice cream or nutella in. They tend to get really creative with the recipes being that there’s such a variety of what you can get.
However, we didn’t get to buy a chimney cake due to a wild goose chase for an ATM. Despite that, we were so tired. I’ve never been so tired in my life. I thought my friends were saying “Jimmy Choos” instead of “Chimney Cake” and I ended up falling asleep in a post office and a Starbucks. To add the cherry on top, we would also be taking a night bus to Prague.
After our mini getaway to Budapest, we arrived in Prague on Friday, Feb. 23. Prague was a must see for me. It is a city that’s been on my list for as long as I’ve known.
There is so much to do in Prague. Our first day was spent walking around the city and checking out some of the landmarks like the Prague Astronomical Clock – which is a must. The next day we hit all the landmarks like the Prague Castle and the Lennon Wall. The Prague Castle is one of the biggest landmarks next to the clock. It’s rich with history and has St. Vitus Cathedral – a cathedral with intricate stained glass windows and breathtaking detail.
Most of our time was spent exploring the castle because it’s huge. There is so much to do in the castle area itself. One of the more notable parts for me was “Golden Lane” which is a street on the Castle grounds filled with shops. They had a lot of really cool things to buy, and despite the doorways and buildings themselves being made for people under 5’11”, it was really cool.
We also checked out the St. Charles’ bridge and the Lennon Wall – which is in dedication to the deceased Beatles lead singer, John Lennon. It’s covered in graffiti and you’re allowed to write your own message on the wall if you please. Of course I wrote on it, I mean legal graffiti and a member of the Beatles. Sounds like fun.
Then we had the food. It was time to check out some traditional Czech food. Some hits for us were goulash, beef in candel sauce, sausage and pork knuckle. Yeah, I ate pork knuckle in Prague and it honestly was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. We would also finally try two different “chimney cakes” or trdlo. A chimney cake is a must try.
Finally, Prague has a lot of themed restaurants and bars. One of the coolest bars I’ve been to so far in Europe was “The AnonymouS Bar.” Also kind of known as the “V for Vendetta Bar”, the waitresses and waiters wear a Guy Fawkes mask. However, what makes it is the secret specialty drinks. Definitely worth the wait, there’s a secret menu within the menu that you have to find and it was so much fun. Besides that, the cocktails were delicious.
My amazing trip to Budapest and Prague was one hundred percent worth it, even though I’m currently writing this through sleep deprivation as I also desperately try to understand the Irish government for an environmental science class (Someone please tell me why I did this to myself). Overall, getting to see two amazing cities in one weekend was so worth it and I’m so glad I was able to get a few more off the abroad checklist.