Budapest, Hungary

I was starving for sun when I arrived in Hungary, and I was immediately satisfied. The murky Danbue River sparkled bronze beneath a clear blue sky as I wandered along the river towards Budapest’s main market for breakfast.

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 After grabbing some almonds in a new confusing currency, my friend (whom I met in Bratislava) led me past a cave church up to the Victory Monument. We hopped the gates for a better view and splashed through a waterfall on the way down, which was gated off as well… But hey, what are rules, if not to be broken?

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The perfect way to spend an afternoon in Budapest is with a Radler (beer and lemonade) on one of many houseboats that line the dangerously-high Danbue. Though there is flooding in many nearby countries, Budapest is safe and sunny.

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The city itself enjoys a relatively-low crime rate. I arrived close to midnight and never felt threatened riding the metro or wandering the streets alone at night. Locals seek tourists out to offer directions. Cars stop for you along the road, even if you’re not at a crosswalk. Budapest is a beautiful, friendly city that likes – and needs – their tourists.

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There are several free walking tours in Budapest. My favourite was the Communism Tour, not only because it ended in a ruin bar, but because of the fascinating history that is still apparent and controversial in Budapest today.

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Three days in Budapest was the perfect amount of time to explore the city, relax in the sunshine, and party all night. While I stayed in a quiet guesthouse, I spent my evenings at David Hasslehoff, a wild backpacker party-place. Many of the guests were backpacking through Eastern Europe, but kept extending their stay – and it’s easy to see why. Though in my opinion, Budapest comes second to Prague, it is still an amazing experience and one of the best big cities in Eastern Europe.

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