The churches of Budapest

I am a little bit obsessed with how religion shapes different cultures and countries, and so I always insist on visiting as many churches, temples, synagogues, etc. You name it I want to see it.

Budapest was so exception, with some incredible churches and cathedrals that showcased phenomenal architecture and such bright decoration.

The Cave Church, Gellert Hill

This was actually one of my favourite structures to visit. It is so unique, a cave that was purposed into a church. This place has suffered its own trials, with a section being burnt down as it was support by wood, but it has since been recovered and the stunning building or infrastructure still holds mass and people were there to pray more so than to visit it as a tourist attraction. A truly marvellous structure and it has definitely made it to my list of favourite churches around the world.

St Anne Church

St Anne Church, a beautiful structure that you will come across whilst walking along the Danube on Buda side of the River. It is a quiet little church, but the ceiling is absolutely breath taking. The detail on the painting/mural is stunning and depicts Heaven, the apostles, angels and the open arm welcome for those who enter through the gates. Although it wasn’t very well lit, the soothing pastels of the ceiling added enough colour to the building.

The Capuchin Church

I didn’t get to see it inside, as it was closed on both occasions where I came cross it, however I love the exposed brick and the building looks like such fun. It actually reminded me a bit of a church I came across in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. You can read about the St John Evangelist Church here. In the meantime, just marvel at this gorgeous building. The bottom photo you can see from a distance the colourful roof tiles which I absolute adore.

St Stephen Basilica

One of the only places you will visit in Budapest for FREE, all they ask for is a 2 euro donation. We actually went to visit on Easter Sunday and they had a service going on, the cathedral was filled with people singing from the same hymn sheet. The wall of sound we walked into was absolutely mesmerising, everyone singing praise for the lord. The building itself is gorgeous. I adore the deocation in of the central cupula which lightens up the entire room. It all radiates with the golden colours and stone columns shimmering with the littlest of sunlight. It is truly fantastic, huge and sits in a quiet square in the middle of Budapest. Definitely top of my list of favourites!

Matthias Church

The first thing that made me fall in love with Matthias Church was the colourful roof top! Much more stark than the roof in the Capuchin Church because of the contrast with the white stone building, it looks absolutely stunning. The interior is similarly just as colourful and detailed. The columns of the church ooze colour and pattern which climbs all the way up to the ceiling and trails down the walls like a waterfall of colour that has washed over the inside of this building. I love how you can see it standing at the top of the Buda Hill behind the Capuchin Church. Two gorgeous colourful churches so close to each other.

I hope you enjoy reading about these beautiful buildings as well as reading about them. Do you guys like visiting churches too?

Happy reading, writing and Travelling!

The Hungarian Parliament #Budapest

The Hungarian Parliament is one of the most stunning and architecturally breath taking buildings. The sheer details both in the exterior and interior of the building make it a truly magnificent landmark and it is time I share some of its history with you.

In 1873 Budapest was born, as a unity of 3 cities that reside in the banks of the Danube. To celebrate this momentous occasion the Hungarian parliament decided to launch a competition to build a new building that represented the sovereignty of the nation. Imre Steindl emerged victorious from this competition and the new Parliament began construction soon after.

The building which is of renaissance revival style, is a symmetrical façade with a central dome that features in its perfect centre, the Holy Crown of Hungary. The Holy Crown of Hungary is the only crown that has EVER been used by the entire monarchy of Hungary. For this reason it is heavily protected and you are not allowed to stand closer than 2 metres from the glass case around it or take photos. there are two guards that stand either side of the glass case and move their swords every 5 minutes. Every 15 minutes they do a full circle around the crown and say a few words and move their swords once more. Guards are changed every hour. We were told by the guide that it a pleasure and honour for them to protect the crown… I wish she had seen the look on the guards’ faces. However, it is beautiful and the room it is in, the central point of the entire building, holds statues of each monarch of the Hungarian monarchy before.

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Other fun facts about this phenomenal grand building, are that almost every column and wall is decorated with real gold leaves from around 3 metres and above. They have used around 40 kg of gold to cover the columns and leaves in the thinnest and most delicate sheets of gold.

The Parliament was built on Pest side of the river to show the strength and unity of the newly formed and established republican structure of the government in contrast to the monarchy which is demonstrated by the castle on Buda side.

I would definitely encourage everyone to visit. It is one of the priciest monuments to visit, but the experience is well worth the 4000FT. It is so fascinating to see the room in which the debates are held and the grandeur of it all, and yet it is somewhat simple at the same time and therefore a familiar sight. I was often conflicted between feeling amazed and feeling as if this was a place I knew really well. Steindl’s simple structure for the building also makes it easy to navigate and keep your bearings, whilst admiring the intricate decoration and extravagance. A must see.

Happy reading, writing and travelling!

Travelling when you have to save!

I am so excited as you all know I am currently organising and booking up loads of tours to go on a 3 month trip across Central and South America. This has been a dream of mine for a long time, and the wheels are finally set in motion and it is happening at the very end of 2015, precisely the 31st of December when I embark on a New Year’s flight to a new world. All of my excitement was shared with you back in February when my request for a sabbatical at work was accepted – read about it here! However, now the reality of this entire adventure has dawned on me, and as I usually lead quite an adventurous and somewhat expensive life due to my constant need to experience culture, things have had to change a little bit.

This is a sacrifice I am not sad about making, I know that 10 months of hard work and saving are going to pay off by giving me one of the most enriching experiences of my life, but yet other things happen in life with which you also have to engage and accommodate your finances for. Here is the issue with saving for travelling when you already have travel to pay for. At the very start of the year I had already organised my trip to Budapest – which you are currently following on the blog – and my city break to Krakow which is coming in May. Then I can’t help it if friends of mine get engaged and decide to tie the knot in Norway, obviously this is going to be another trip! Unbeknownst to me this entire time that the sabbatical request was going to be approved! But as with everything in life, things come with expenses. On top of that we all have rent to pay, bills, cars to maintain, our mouths to feed and sometimes family’s and general things that pop out of nowhere so where does all this money come from?!

Do not think I am here to give you any form of advice, I am not. This is my first time attempting to save this ridiculous an amount of money in a short space of time to invest it all in one thing. This is a learning curve for me and it is something I want to share with all of you in the hopes that you will answer some questions as well, such as, HOW DO YOU DO IT?!

Here is my simple plan of cut offs and keeps for my monthly pay to cover all my travel expenses:

CUT OFFS

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Bags
  • Unnecessary weekly date nights
  • Cinema – yes we all stream films accept it
  • Books
  • Concerts and festivals – sad reality but the trip outweighs my need to go to festivals this year! Save it for 2017
  • Unnecessary food – like cakes, who needs cake!
  • Weekend trips and hotels for no apparent reason other than I can
  • Theatre trips – this hurts my feelings

KEEPS

  • Petrol
  • Daily food
  • Rent
  • Car maintenance stuff – like insurance, need to be safe and legal
  • Gym
  • Bills
  • Phone Contract
  • Any replacement items or stuff that I will need for the trip, like lightweight hiking boots/shoes

I for one have decided I do not want to pay for my trip out of my savings, the 3 month sabbatical will be completely funded from my monthly pay check leaving my savings ready for when I want to move out – yes I pay rent to my parents. And this has been a fascinating exercise of control, because I am quite a lavish gift giver, and as I said I usually indulge in quite a few cultural events. However if I want to be able to go on another 2 trips this year – Krakow and Norway to go – and still be able to pay off my 3 month travelling adventure by October, something has to give. I feel it is only fair that I give up, or temporarily abstain myself from weekends of unnecessary but pleasurable experiences to give way to three months of a once in a lifetime experience.

Everyone I know has told me this is a solid move and good decision, as I will return from abroad prepared to turn 25 and really take my life by its reigns. Before a house, marriage, kids and a serious career come to play, I will get to experience something that many will have done and many will want to do. It is my time. I am hoping my endeavours to save will prove fruitful and successful but who knows.

My question and search for any advice continues, so tell me dear travelling community, how do you do it?

How do you travel while saving for future travels? How do you save so much money in so little time?

Happy reading, writing and travelling!

Gellert Baths #Budapest

I am so excited to be sharing with you the first post of my fantastic city break in Budapest, Hungary. Just as a brief overview, Budapest is a city of such cultural richness and history that it was easy to get lost in the wonder of it all. There is so much to share with you guys that I am actually going to start with a really short post about something that Budapest is renowned for – the thermal baths!

Budapest sits on a natural thermal baths site, which is also one of the reasons the Romans decided to settle in this location. They wanted to enjoy the banks of the Danube and now the city is actually called the City of Spas, considering a world heritage site in practically every corner and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

With such a huge choice of baths to go to we had the pleasure of visiting two! Let’s focus on Gellert Baths first. hese, along with the Szechenyi Baths, are the most expensive, luxurious and stunning baths. Each of these averages at around 4000 to 5000 FT (forints), but the experience is worth it.

Gellert is a mix gender thermal spa, with several pools that vary in temprature from 20 degrees to 40 degrees! YES 40 and it feels awesome! We started in the coolest exterior baths and slowly worked our way towards the 40 degree water which felt difficult at first but cleansed my skin purifying its pores.

The other incredible aspect of the Gellert baths is simply its architecture. It was said by someone that bathing in the Gellert baths is like bathing in a cathedral. The building itself does not look like something special, a hotel with a rather bleak façade, however the spa inside is truly magnificent. Bright and colourful, it fills you with life to walk between each stunningly decorated pool and get lost in the labyrinth of the building.

I can only encourage you to safely deposit some of the money you are taking with you into going to the baths. There are plenty of options and it is truly worth it. We also had the opportunity to go to the Kiraly Baths, which were much cheaper and they followed the building structure of the original Turkish baths with an octagonal pool in the middle. Unfortunately we were unable to get photos of this one, because the temperature was so high and fumes so much that we were not allowed to wander around with our cameras.

Other baths you can visit are the Szechenyi, which are located on the City Park. Rudas Baths are also in the octagonal shape, so truly wonderful as an ode to the original structure of these buildings. Margaret island has options too, and there are plenty more! Just do your research, but be aware that some are still gentleman only baths.

For now I leave with this! Happy reading, writing and travelling!

 

Away for Easter! #Budapest

The 5 or so days leading up to a trip are always a bit of a blur for me. I find myself googling names of buildings, their locations, marking maps, finding what events are on the city I am visiting, the top ten things to see, the obscure things to see, looking at weather reports every day, constantly to-ing and fro-ing between comfort and style for the wardrobe, printing tickets, booking forms, emails with hotels, sorting out currency and mostly not sleeping in the excitement of arriving to my destination. And so here I go, off tomorrow morning to Budapest!

I am so excited to visit this city, which has become iconic due to its thermal baths and fascinating history. I have wanted to visit for a while and finally I will be going and Easter should be a phenomenal experience as they hold an annual Easter festival at the Buda Castle. There is so much I want to find and I am told our 5 days are more than enough time to experience it all fully.

I am looking forward to then giving you all details on this trip, tips and advice, and sharing with you why this should definitely be at the top of your city break list, or not, who knows I could have an awful Hungarian experience but I somehow doubt that! I am equally excited to be sharing this trip with my cousin, she is 14 and for two years we have been plotting where I could take her on her first trip abroad without her parents.

So off I go first thing in the morning and I will be back next week I am sure with plenty of stories, photos, wanderlust and travel inspiration for you all.

For now my dear readers, wishes of the happiest and chocolatiest of Easter’s!

Happy reading, writing and travels!