The Best Bits | January 2017

Hello again,

The first Best Bits post of this year is quite a simple one. Here are the three best things that happened this January…

Budapest

Me and Cem went to Budapest from the end of December into the beginning of January and had the best time. We split our time between walking for miles to see all the sights and unwinding in the spa. My favourite parts of the holiday were ice skating, walking up Gellert Hill and seeing the government building light up at night. If you were wondering what Cem’s favourite part was, it was probably the GIANT pizza that he ordered…

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Passengers

I’d wanted to see this film for a while and I’m so glad that we got to see it in the cinema. It’s essentially about two people being stranded on their own in a spaceship. That’s a really boring description but if I say anything else about it then the story will be spoiled. I’d highly recommend it anyway!

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Getting a job

I finally have a job! I haven’t had any paid work since the summer because I’ve been focusing on uni and finishing my 3 month social media internship. My internship didn’t quite end because I now have a proper job there and couldn’t be happier. I genuinely love being there so being paid for doing it is just a bonus.

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As always, thank you for reading.

Let me know what happened in January for you…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

Gellért Hill and The Biggest Pizza | Budapest 2017

Hello again,

When me and Cem went to Budapest, one of the places we really wanted to visit was Gellért Hill. It’s essentially a 235 m high hill overlooking the River Danube. The bottom of the hill starts next to the Elisabeth Bridge, which we crossed to get to it.

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It only took us about 20 minutes to walk to the very top, which was a bit of a mission seeing as it had been snowing for two days by this point. Walking up stairs that are covered in ice and snow isn’t easy at all.

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The sun was also starting to set so we tried to get to the top as quickly as possible so we wouldn’t have to walk back down when it was pitch black. Still, I doubt the view would have been as pretty if we’d have gone before the sunset.

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This statue sits about half way up the hill. I didn’t know anything about it before we visited but I had a little look online and read that the man holding a cross is Gürz Elyas, a holy man from the Bektashi order whose shrine and grave on top of the hill was a place of pilgrimage in the 17th century.

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Luckily by the time we got to the top of the hill, the sun hadn’t finished setting so we could walk back down without slipping over. However, Cem nearly fell down the stairs at least 7 times. He didn’t manage to fall over completely though, which is an improvement on our previous ice skating adventure…

As you can see, it was well worth the steep walk.

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As a reward for walking so far throughout the day, we decided to order pizza instead of going out for dinner. I’m not a huge fan of pizza so I just got a standard size one and only managed to eat 2 or 3 slices. You can probably guess that the rather large looking pizza is Cem’s. He didn’t finish it which I was quite relieved about. Surely no normal man can eat a pizza of that size…

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As always, thanks for reading!

Let me know if you’d be interested in visiting Budapest…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

The Longest Walk Ever | Budapest 2017

Hello again,

On one of our days in Budapest, we worked out that we walked around 12 miles. To some people that may not be a lot but it definitely is when you’re in a country as cold as Hungary.

We set off fairly early because we knew we wanted to see a lot of things throughout the day. The mains things that I wanted to see were the Hungarian Parliament Building, St Stephen’s Basilica and the Dohány Street Synagogue. So, anything that we saw along the way was a bonus.

Our hotel was on Margaret Island on the Danube River. The Parliament Building, Országház, was the closest to where we were staying so we thought it would be the best place to start. It’s near enough impossible to get a photo of the whole building unless you’re stood at the other side of the river, as you’ll see later on in the post. I don’t know how else to describe it over than it was overwhelmingly tall and looked like something out of a fairytale.

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Across the road is the Néprajzi Múzeum, which translates as the Ethnographic Museum. We didn’t go in but I thought it was well worth taking a picture of at least. I read that the museum is the home to pieces from everyday Hungarian like pre-World War II so it would probably be worth having a look if we ever visit again.

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As you know, the thing on our list was St Stephen’s Basilica so after we wandered around the grounds of the Parliament Building, we went on our way to find it. On the way we found the Statue of Imre Nagy, which actually faces the Parliament Building. I hadn’t heard of it before we saw it but I checked online to find out what is was. Imre Nagy was the Prime Minister of Hungary on two occasions and ended up being a symbol of freedom.

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Another short walk later and we came to St Stephen’s Basilica, after walking through Szabadság tér. We had to stop for a while so Cem could watch some kids play football and I could look at the memorial.

There was a lot of work going on around St Stephen’s Basilica. It looked like people were either putting together or dismantling a stage. After we’d have a look at, we decided we needed a cake and hot chocolate break in Starbucks. I remember my fingers were freezing even though I was wearing the thickest gloves in the world.

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The final place that I desperately wanted to visit was the Dohány Street Synagogue. Before we went to Budapest, I’d read about it online and found out that it’s the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world. The building is also attached to the Jewish Museum. We went in and had a look until in started to get darker and colder and we thought it was best to head back to our hotel and to the spa.

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We probably took the longest possible route home. We walked down to Erzsébet híd, Elisabeth Bridge, to cross the river. We probably could have tackled Gellért Hill it wasn’t getting dark but we decided that it was best to leave that for another day. We started to walk back up the other side of the river and we moaned and moaned about how cold it was and how much our legs were aching. We carried on and got the see the Budavári Palota and Parliament Building light up so I’d say it was definitely worth it…

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As always, thanks for reading!

Let me know if you have any travel recommendations…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

Ice Skating in City Park | Budapest 2017

Hello again,

One of the first places we visited in Budapest was City Park. We actually came here twice because there was so much to see. On one day, we looked at the museums and walked around the whole park to see what was there and on the other day, we went to Budapest Zoo and went ice skating in the evening.

There’s quite a few things to do in City Park so if we visited every single thing, we’d have spent our whole holiday there. City Park is home to Heroes’ Square, an amusement park, a circus, Széchenyi baths and Vajdahunyad Castle as well as the zoo and ice skating.

Heroes’ Square

Heroes’ Square sits between Kunsthalle Műcsarnok and Szépművészeti Múzeum, which are both art galleries. Although we didn’t go inside either of them because we were short on time, we still got to see the sun setting in the middle of it all, which was lovely all the same.

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Vajdahunyad Castle

Across from the ice skating rink, we saw this palace and thought we’d have a little look around. The photos don’t really do it justice, it was a lot taller and more stunning in person. Bizarrely, when we were walking around the castle grounds we saw a man dressed up as the grim reaper and loads of people were lining up to have pictures with him. Not sure what all that was about to be honest.

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Outside Vajdahunyad Castle a little bit of water had frozen over and some children were actually ice skating on it too. Cem made me walk on it with him and I was terrified that the ice was going to break and we were going to fall in the water, even though the water was probably a few inches deep. In the photo above you might notice Cem pointing and smiling. As I was taking that picture he was showing me that he wanted to go and walk on the ice. I’ve never seen someone so excited about a frozen puddle…

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Széchenyi Thermal Baths

We didn’t go in to the baths but we caught a glimpse of the inside and walked all the way around it. The building itself is huge and looks like a palace and the baths were also packed with people.

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Ice Skating

After the practise we had at Winter Wonderland, I was hoping that me and Cem wouldn’t fall over in front of all the ice skating pros, who pretty much skated like olympians compared to us. The more and more laps we did, the more faith I had in our ice skating abilities.

A few laps in, Cem must have tried dancing to the music that was playing but failed terribly and started to fall backwards. As I tried to stop him from falling, he fell forwards instead and used me to cushion his fall. He fell on me in front of everyone and as painful as it was, we could barely skate afterwards because we were laughing so much.

We definitely need a little more practise before our next ice skating adventure.

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We couldn’t believe how big the ice skating rink was or how many people came to skate either. Compared to how much we’ve paid to go ice skating in Winter Wonderland, skating here was incredibly cheap and definitely worth the money. Also, you don’t just get an hour slot. Once you’ve paid to go ice skating at 4pm when it opens for the evening, you can stay until 8pm when it closes. We ended up skating for about an hour and a half but if we so keen to rush back to our hotel and go into the spa we probably would’ve skated for ours.

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We ended up getting the taxi home because I felt like I was going to freeze to death if I walked back to our hotel again, which in fairness was over an hour’s walk away. It was worth it though because it meant we could sit in the spa for longer.

As always, thank you for reading!

Let me know where your favourite holiday was and what sort of things you did…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x