Belgrade: Budapest Side Trips & River Days

You know how I wasn’t the biggest fan of Bogota? Well…I feel the same way about Belgrade…

Many people in my community will disagree with that, but Belgrade and I weren’t quite on the same page. I loved the time I spent down by the river, I loved the fortress, I loved the brewery that was across the street from my apartment, but there was little else about the city that really vibed with or thrilled me. Maybe I didn’t fully give it a chance…I mean I was in the thick of my launch and pre-launch prep when we were in Belgrade. But Belgrade and I just didn’t mesh.

That being said, though, there were still a number of things that I did enjoy in Belgrade.

the belgrade fortress.

Basically ASAP when I arrived in Belgrade, my friend Matt and I headed to lunch and to walk around the Belgrade fortress (yes…my friend…before all my fam gets there panties in a bunch…) and even though we did this early in the month, it was still one of the highest for me. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been to a place like this and I loved it. Not only was the fortress itself neat, but being on the banks of the Danube was gorgeous! Gimme all the photos. If I’d had the time later in the month, I would have gone back and taken all the photos!

The danube + Sava Rivers.

Speaking of being on the river, I am absolutely obsessed with the day I spent at the river here! We went on a boat trip to one of the little islands in the river, spent the day at the Belgrade sea, ate all the delicious food, including some cherry brandy, before kayaking back to our starting point at sunset. The kayak was amazing! At first, I was a little bit nervous to be on the water after dark, but it ended up being incredibly peaceful and it was one of my favorite moments of the month.

Mas street art cuz #duh.

Ya’ll know I’m always obsessed with street art, and even though it wasn’t the best we’ve seen all year (I mean…Buenos Aires and Medellin were so amazing), it was still wonderful to get out and check out the artwork. We even got to meet the most famous street artist in Belgrade. But my favorite part of the tour? Heading to this off the beat and path area called the Brick Factory, which artists have taken over and made their own. It was SO cool!

Retreats + Mokrin House

Our last weekend in Serbia brought us to this amazing place called Mokrin house. It’s a coworking and coliving space that had hosted a TEDx talk in the previous weeks prior. Why were we there? To host a personal growth retreat in the space. A number of us are very personal growth-oriented and we decided to put on this event within our community. It was perfect! The perfect combination of rest, relaxation, growth and engagement. And the food was amazing!

But perhaps the best part of the month?

Our side trip to budapest to support one of my besties in her first half marathon!

That was the main reason why we went to Budapest, because one of my best friends was running in the Budapest half and we wanted to support her. But it ended up being an amazing weekend in and of itself.

more fun times on the danube.

Our first day in Budapest, we walked the Danube on the Buda side of the river. The river runs down the middle of the city and as such the city has been broken into what was deemed the Buda side and the Pest side. That first afternoon was simply made up of walking the river, checking out the chain bridge and the castle, snapping all the photos and eventually getting some Hungarian food. Nothing fancy, but so enjoyable.

The citadel for all the views.

As we were walking around the city that first full day, on a whim I asked my friends if they’d like to climb this big ass hill to see some views. Sorry guys! Cuz it was a big ass hill. I actually didn’t realize what it was until we got to the stop. It was what they called “The Citadel” and included the Budapest “Statue of Liberty”. As we climbed, we found viewpoint after viewpoint after viewpoint and dang was I happy we made the climb. Also, ice cream. Cuz after climbing a big ass hill for some amazing views, the only way to cap things off is to eat ice cream. #duh.

parliament + shoes on the danube

Saturday left us looking for more places to putter. Our soon to be sub-2:20 half marathon-running friend opted to rest up for rest day (the next day), so we went to the Pest side of the city to check out the Parliament building. I didn’t know much about it, but I’m so glad I went with her. We walked through these amazing neighborhoods with Holocaust memorials and incredible architecture before arriving at the parliament building and it was stunning!! Not only was the building itself gorgeous, but was surrounded by all these incredible status and water features, and of course there were guards walking around the Hungarian flag to add to the photograph-worthiness of this place. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As we were completing our walk around the Parliament building, this old man asked us directions to the “shoes on the Danube” memorial. We obliged (meaning we googled it on our iPhones), but not after my friend excitedly thanked the man for reminding her of the exhibit. We meandered down the river toward the exhibition and it was amazing. It’s in honor of a crowd of men and women who were herded down to river side, told to take off their shoes, before they were shot and thrown in the river. It was sobering and beautiful. I’m so glad we stopped there. And then we wandered down to the Chain bridge and found a nice little riverside bar to enjoy some beer like any good Budapest tourist.

Gellert Baths.

When in Budapest, you’ve gotta go to a bath. We chose to go to Gellert baths due to their sheer proximity to our Air BnB. It was a perfectly timed trip, the day after our friends half marathon. YAY KATHLEEN! But, admittedly, I was a little disappointed how cool the baths are. Maybe American hot tubs spoil me with their muscle-melting heat, but these baths felt lukewarm at best, which was kind of a bummer. We spent most our time outside in what was the hottest path at Gellert, but not before taking an obligatory pic of the iconic internal bath area. It may have been underwhelming, crowded and we may have only stayed for a couple hours, but when in Budapest…

Well, this is probably one of my most unexciting remote year blogs…

But don’t worry. We’ve only been in split for a few days now & I can already tell…I’m gonna LOVE this place!