This weekend I visited Budapest, Hungary. One of the reasons I chose to study abroad in Vienna is because it is in Central Europe, and therefore has easy transport to lots of different cities and countries. I went to Budapest with three friends on a whim, and had a wonderful weekend full of discoveries. Here are some things I wanted to share with you.
- The food in Budapest is really amazing. We stuck to mainly traditional Hungarian food. Goulash is super yummy and hearty, as is Paprika chicken. For dessert, try chimney cakes. I got mine the traditional way with cinnamon, but you can get lots of variations.
- Get the Budapest Card. The city pass will cover your public transportation fees for your stay, as well as grant you free admission to the mineral water baths and lots of museums. The Hungarian National Gallery was a highlight for me, and admission is included with the Budapest Card.
- The aforementioned baths are a must do. It is a little strange at first because they are very crowded, but once you settle in it is quite relaxing. The steam room was very helpful for my lungs, as I am used to a more humid climate and have been struggling to adapt to the cold, dry air in Vienna.
- Bring comfy shoes and a good coat. Traveling can be very physical. We walked over 20,000 steps on our first day in Budapest. A good pair of weather resistant boots or tennis shoes are a must, and if you are traveling in wintertime you need to have a coat, gloves, scarf, and hat. It might seem obvious, but the last thing you want is to be uncomfortable all day because of your clothing.
- Do your research and make a plan! We planned out a flexible itinerary for our trip so that we would all get to do what interested us the most.
- That being said, a level of spontaneity and a “YOLO” mindset also come in handy. Try new things and be open to the experience! I have been working on trying new foods, and tasting foods that I previously avoided at home. I have also been working on saying “yes” to new opportunities and experiences. When in doubt, just try it!
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Getting on the wrong city bus is really no biggie. Everyone will do it at some point while studying abroad. Google Maps is your new best friend, and you will find your way back to where you should be at the next stop. Likewise with language and communication. Try your best, but give yourself some grace too.
- Take pictures! Especially pictures with your new friends. Traveling is such a cool way to get to know your new study abroad classmates. You build real camaraderie and have to figure out situations together and look out for each other. You will want to remember your time abroad and who you spent it with.
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My name is Isabella Daltoso, and I am a senior at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). I am a vocal performance major and a dance minor. I love all things music and opera, and I am so happy to be spending my spring semester in Vienna as part of the IES Vienna Music Program. I love to write and am a consultant at the PLU Writing Center. I have also been a newswriter for PLU’s Marketing and Communications department. When I am not singing, studying, or writing, I love to spend time with my friends and family, especially my younger siblings.