First up! Budapest!
I just love Budapest. But it was BLEEDIN' cold and BLEEDIN' freezin' it was super ridiculous! Half the time I was taking photos and half the time I was just swearing because we didn't really expect it to be that cold! It was winter basically. Lucky me (as I learnt from my SUMMER [summer ok SUMMER!] trip with Tania, that with Europe you never just pack 'lightly'. You still have to pack a jacket just in case), I was wrapped quite warmly although still cold. Pana, on the other, minah confident and she only brought a denim jacket and another jacket that wasn't really a winter jacket so I can't imagine how cold she was. I even brought gloves which proved to be my life saviour.
We arrived at the accommodation that Pana booked for us. If any of you would like to go to Budapest, tell me! Pana, being the super-traveler she is, booked us a SUPER cheap accommodation (the kind of cheap that made us go, "Are you sure... that's too cheap...") and it was SO near with the St Stephen's Basilica (the kind of near that made us go, "This can't be it... it's too near... it's too good to be true to be this near..."), literally a 4 minute walk. Less even! And the lady was super nice and the whole place was so clean and so well accommodated with everything ready for anyone to use. This was my first time staying at an Airbnb place so I was very very pleasantly surprised. So please! If anyone is planning to go to Budapest, tell me!!! I'll pester Pana for the accommodation details for you hehe
After settling down, we got going and we spent the day just basically walking to the St Stephen's Basilica and we went inside and I was pretty amazed. I've never actually been into one so it was beautiful and I was mesmerised. Pana, on the other hand,
"Meh, once you've seen one, you've seen them all"
And she's been to the one in Italy so ok fine I'll give it to her.
Then we walked around more, and it started drizzling and that's when we realised winter was still hovering over Budapest. We walked to the market where we got something to eat. Don't know what it's called but it's basically bread with cheese on it. It's very sedap but also very muak when you've had too many bites. But good! And nice and warm also for the dreadfully cold weather.
We also bought tickets for a cruise. How fancy, right. Hahahaha Pana kept saying, "Dengan kau je aku ballin'" hahaha but deep down inside I knew she wanted to go on the cruise more than I did! We chose to opt out of the dinner option and so we stayed on the upper deck where there was still light snacks and drinks to order and live music! We went upstairs to the unshaded deck to get a better view of the surroundings and we went up just in time to see the lights gradually come to life. Was so beautiful. My camera did not do it justice so instead of being too fixated on adjusting the modes on the damn thing, I just decided to just see it with my little beady two eyes. Was very very beautiful. It's just one of those things where you just have to see it for yourself!
I'm telling you!!! My camera did not do the Parliament a single inch of justice. It was MUCH MUCH less orange and MUCH MUCH more spectacular. So beautiful.
We took the tour bus and did the whole round.
(shout out to Pana for saying yes to tour buses hehe)
According to my photos, the first stop we got off (or atleast took photos at) was Heroes Square.
I was mighty brave to discard my jacket for a photo because man, did I regret it. The wind was strong and I was just super cold lah basically. After taking various photos, we walked to the Baths that Pana wanted to go see so much! I don't really see the point of communal baths because..... hygiene. And fine, I know, "Experience, Nadia!" but I don't know, I just wasn't really into it.
Comment though, the people who were working over at the baths weren't so friendly and accommodating which was weird considering how this was a big tourist thing. You'd think they'd be more friendly and nice. Oh well. We left and continued our tour bus.
Then we crossed the bridge and came to the Castle District stop. One way to get on top of Castle District was to get on the Sikló which is a funicular and it runs about 100 meters (hahahahaha I'm spurting this all out as if I remembered everything. I Googled "the thing that gets you on castle district" because I didn't even know what a funicular was).
Breathtaking!!!!! The Castle District was well just full of fancy looking buildings that looked like they were going to crush any second now but beautiful! I'm such a fan of buildings that look like they housed the royal kings and queens once upon a time because the feeling of being exactly where they'd usually roam 1000+ years later is enough to give me goosebumps!.
They all look so fairytale-like kan??? So beauuuuutiful!!! We spent a good few hours just circling around and taking photos.
AND!!!! Omg I shall forever remember Budapest as the trip where we met and had tea with Anuar Zain. THE Anuar Zain.
So this was what happened...
Earlier on when we were on the bus, we went to Gellért Hill but we didn't get off the bus. Wanted to just spend a good chunk of the day in Castle District. So as were on the bus, we looked over the hill and there were some benches for tourists and like a small kiosk. And guess who was sitting on the bench and as the bus passed by, he turned around?
Pana and I were like frozen for a second and simultaneously said,
"EH?!?!?!?! ANUAR ZAIN?!?!?!?!?!"
I don't think he heard us because it took us time to register that it WAS indeed Anuar Zain. Out of all places!!!!!
We were momentarily kecoh mak minah because we couldn't believe out of all times and out of all places, Anuar Zain was in Budapest and we saw him?!?!?!?!
Hahahahaha funny, we laughed about it and after sending out enthusiastic tweets, we went on with our day.
Then as we were at Castle District and roaming around aimlessly, Pana and I were conversing in Malay and these two girls came up and asked,
which we obviously said yes to and after briefly introducing ourselves (less than 2 minutes, I swear!), I looked over and saw Anuar Zain and I said,
"OMG PANA ANUAR ZAIN IS HERE!!!!"
and these two girls were slightly confused slightly frantic and one of them, Mira, went over immediately and we were just tailing her behind. I think if it were just up to Pana and I, we would have just left it as it is because we would have been too shy.
But not Mira. She just marched over and went up to Anuar Zain to ask for a photo in which he kindly declined because he said he was on holiday. Think it must be his policy so we said hi and smiled and walked away. Not even 300 meters away, Anuar Zain came up to us
"You guys nak makan tak? Come, I belanja. Since tak dapat bergambar, I'll treat you for makan and drinks. Jom!"
and we were in a state of HUH WHAT WHY REALLY US??!?! and just half nodded and straight up star-struck gaping at him.
We followed him and a couple who was with him. Introduced ourselves again and Pana and I were just like
"WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!?!"
From aimlessly walking Castle District to meeting these two girls to going up to Anuar Zain and now we're going to an Italian restaurant to have tea with Malaysia's favourite male singer?!?!?!?!
You have to keep in mind that we LITERALLY met these two girls, Mira and Aisya and if it wasn't for them we wouldn't have had the pleasure in spending time with Anuar Zain. It was kinda surreal. We spent a good 3 hours talking and laughing and having light snacks with Anuar Zain right in front of us. He was literally sitting across me. He is such a sweetheart, he was very talkative and it made the whole 3 hours really comfortable and it was very nice! We talked on a broad range of subjects and it was really great to see someone so famous and so well-known to be very humble. It was brilliant. The whole time I was there, I was just telling myself
"This is the guy whose music has played around the house all the time since you were a little kid"
Surreal. I still can't believe it happened!
And we even went down the funicular back with him and Pana even shot a video of the view as we were descending and that's like our only proof that we spent the evening with Anuar Zain because you could hear his voice in the background hahahahaha
When we said our bye's, he even said "So nice to meet you girls, nanti kalau KL terserempak ke apa, cakap lah hi ok!" omg seriously are we not already besties for lyfe?@?!?!?!? I love him even more now so here's a link to one of my many many favourite song of his.
After that, we went home all buzzed and enthusiastic about life hahaha
One of our college seniors, Saf, happened to also be in Budapest so he suggested dinner. He picked out a place and it was supposedly one of the best places to try out their fish soup (??) so we went.
Um... so it kinda tasted like asam pedas? But makan with bread? Um?? They had rice but it was just mleh. I don't know man, once you've tasted the best (Malaysia is where it's at), everything else is just so-so.
We then walked around and it was raining once again and got VERY windy so we took shelter in a hotel where we decided to stick around for desserts. We talked and laughed and talked some more and it was honestly, for me, the best way to end an already amazing day. I love just having tea or desserts with just one person or two max. It's just so much more intimate and more interesting because you feel more comfortable in voicing out whatever you feel like, so this was perfect.
Overall, it was a great great day. Even Pana, when we came back home,
"That was a really really good day."
Our last day in Budapest was pretty chilled. Pana went out early to go for the thermal baths. I decided to not go and I slept in instead. Best decision of the day because when I asked Pana how it went, she said it was not bad but it wasn't good either.
We went out after packing our things. We went to the market to get some souvenirs. I only got myself a mug and postcards because my bag was already bursting so I couldn't get anything much. Pana got a ton of souvenirs over the whole trip, I still don't know how she managed to pack everything.
But before that, we went to St Stephen's Basilica again and we went right up to get a nice view. It was windy so there ain't no decent photo of us. Hahaha. Also, there were these cute Dutch boys who got on the same lift as us and I mean, the fact that I can still remember them must mean that they were damn fine. One of them was apologising for one of theirs friends behaviour and we just said oh it's fine (because you're handsome) and he asked us where we were from and we mentioned that we are currently studying in the UK and one of them ooh which part? Bristol?
YES BRISTOL RIGHT HERE!!!
Hahahahahah I don't know why I got so excited maybe 'cause that was the first time anyone just asks Bristol instead of London ke apa kan so it was nice (and 'cause he was too handsome!)
As we were walking towards the Danube shoes place, it was nice and sunny and you could feel the warmth on your cheeks and we were skipping because so happy right.
Then it snowed. Snowed. Freaking white flakes of snow.
And it rained also did I mention that.
And the wind.
After taking some photos and all that, we took the tram to the market.
And we got fined. FINED! For traveling on an expired date. Obviously we buat don't know but we knew we were risking it. Can you believe it??? The ticket inspector got on our carriage RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. Our damn luck.
Haih, whatever, we were just so over it and walked to the market instead.
We rushed home to get our bags and left for the bus station. Barely made it on time because no one was helpful! One thing about this place is the very obvious language barrier which annoyed me really. The bus driver even scowled at us when he himself was mumbling in Hungarian as he explained to us about our luggage.
We then left for Prague on an 8 hour journey. 8!!!! Slept almost all the way of course. Reached Prague in the early am and went straight to the hotel, but with obvious difficulty in hailing a taxi. Haih.
But overall, Budapest was amazing!! The only thing that slacked a bit for us was the weather. It even snowed at one point what the hell>?? It was ridiculously cold that at one night, we brought back dinner to the accommodation and we ate facing the window and Pana just snapped,
"UGH tutup lah tingkap, aku malas layan Budapest"
Hahahahahhaahaha I laughed so hard when she said that because she was so obviously frustrated with the weather and we just burst out laughing for a good 2 minutes because of how ridiculously cold it was.
Why did I even think it would be Malaysian warm in Europe???? It's summer now as I write this post and it's still sejuk!!
I'll continue my Prague post next time!