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3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

Massachusetts
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3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

It looks like my 20 yo daughter will be studying abroad in Budapest beginning in January 2018. We are considering my travelling with her a few days earlier to help get her situated and to see some sights before classes begin. Arrival date probably January 11th am after a red eye, staying through January 14.

She'll be there for five months and so will see many sights herself with her classmates I would assume. I'm looking for to-do suggestions for the two of us. I'd like to stay in an upscale hotel with a budget under $200US/night or less, close to transportation.

So far I've seen a Danube dinner cruise, an International Circus Festival, turkish baths, Ruins bars? We'll do one museum, suggestions welcome, but enjoy walking around, shopping, trying new foods and markets, maybe a show? I expect the first day, January 11th will be a slower day d/t the flight but I'd like full days on the 12th and 13th.

Also, I really don't like cold weather but dates aren't optional. Will we be able to walk around to sight see or is public transportation going to be necessary most of the time? If so, what would be your recommendation for that? We are both familiar with subways and Uber/taxis, busses and trains not so much but anything is a go.

Also a recommendation to pick up household items she might need for her apartment would be good, something similar to a Walmart? Or should we purchase through Amazon and have things sent to the apartment? She won't need much, the housing comes with linens and dishes. I'm thinking of some food items, personal hygiene items, those sorts of things.

22 replies to this topic
Budapest, Budapest...
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1. Re: 3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

Public transport: Some of the time yes, it'll be necessary, especially in colder/freezing weather. Plus your daughter will use it quite a lot during the semester so it doesn't hurt to get to know it. The recommendation is to get a 72-hour travelcard that you can get at the airport as well, from the manned counter at the airport arrivals hall or the machines at the bus stop. It's good all buses, trams, metros etc inside the city.

Uber is not present anymore in Hungary, search the forum for more info on taxis.

Household items: for furniture and the like, I'd go to IKEA, for groceries any Tesco, SPAR or Auchan near the apartment, for cosmetics, hygene items dm or Rossmann. No need to research these beforehand though, nor to order Kleenex and soap from the US...

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2. Re: 3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

Thank you for your input @mrsomebody, appreciate it.

Phoenix, Arizona
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3. Re: 3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

Do not take a dinner cruise food is not good. Just do an evening cruise and have dinner on dry land.

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4. Re: 3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

What university will she be attending?

Pjk
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5. Re: 3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

I spent about ten days in Budapest wrapped around my birthday, January 14. We had a good time and visited thevGellert spa staying inside (there was one heated, outdoor pool which I just ran out to take a look at) but for such a short visit I'd suggest not doing one. You might want to see if there are any concerts at one of the smaller venues: St. Stephens or Matthias. And you will discover how good hot mulled wine and chestnuts are.

Pjk

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6. Re: 3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

Hi,

Please know that your arrival are during the time where there is a decent chance we will be having a deep cold snap, which lasts 2-3 weeks in January/February. Who knows, you might get lucky. But public transport, which is generally pretty good here, will be necessary to learn. Google Maps and/or the BKK Futár app (BKK is the public transport company) should be used to navigate. Furthermore, the air pollution during the winter around Budapest's high traffic areas. (The environmental regulations for a good many vehicles is still somehow overlooked)

If your daughter is renting a private flat, many landlords provide enough furnishings to at least get started. The Ikea, which is a 5 minute walk from the end stop of the red line metro at Őrs Vezér tere, is probably the best place and easiest place to get to for anything else she might need. Alternatively there are some larger Tescos in the city, as well as a couple Auchans. Unfortunately there's not one that one can get to via public transport without at least 5 minutes of walking outside. (the blue line metro is scheduled to be undergoing renovations starting in November which rules out the Tesco at KÖKI Terminál)

Note that with a 27% sales tax (the highest in Europe) makes some things more expensive than what you might find back home. Quality clothing and electronics are two of the most common classes of goods that some locals will travel elsewhere to pay a fairer price. Those, generally, I would suggest your daughter to pack. Let us know on this forum if there's something particular that you're looking for. There's some impressive quality artisans here with their own shops but it won't be a bargain.

During your visit I would advise bringing a camera and go to the skating rink behind Heroes' Square and renting some skates. It is really a nice and atmospheric place to skate and maybe enjoy a mulled wine. Additionally I'd recommend seeing a performance. The Opera house is undergoing renovations now but there will still be performances at the Erkel Theatre, which is now really easy to get to via the new green line metro. You can get some tickets for cheaper than what it would cost for a cinema ticket back home and you don't have to fully dress up. Smart casual will suffice. Here's what's available during your stay: www.opera.hu/musor/naptar/?y=2018&m=1#nap11

For your budget during the off-season, you've got a wide choice of places to stay. Some of us here favor the Gerloczy Rooms (gerloczy.hu) since they made them available above their well-recommended café. While it's location is great because it's a ~5 minute walk to the Jewish Quarter where there's a lot of bars and ruin pubs, it would require about the same amount of time to walk to public transport. If you really want to minimize walking time for public transport then the Ritz-Carlton, which is located almost above the Deák Square yellow line metro line stop (Deák Square is the hub for 3 of the 4 metro lines) and their front entrance is across from the bus 16 that quickly goes to the the Castle District, might be what you're looking for. This hotel changed owners about this time last year and had some renovations done. The Kempinski is next door and would be a good alternative.

If you have any other specific requests please feel free to post further.

Good luck!

Edited: 9:22 pm, September 14, 2017
Massachusetts
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7. Re: 3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

@oddone123, her program is AIT, for Software Engineering although we are still waiting confirmation of acceptance. She will be housed in the city and commute to school each day (they set it up this way).

As for household things, there are furnishings, I meant more like dishtowels, dish soap, toilet paper, etc. and food items. It is possible for us to pack these things and just pay the extra airfare but if they are simple to get, we can just shop once there.

Specific questions: Is anyone familiar with the Sofitel Chain Bridge hotel? Comments regarding that location and the hotel itself would be great. Would love to hear recommendations for local restaurants in the mid-range price. When you say deep-freeze, what F-degree are you talking, 25-30? From what I've read the temps are very much like Massachusetts, please correct me if I am wrong. Why skip the spa?

Edited: 7:25 am, September 15, 2017
Berkshire UK
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8. Re: 3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

Just want to say that you would be stupid to carry household consumables to Budapest (sure pack towels or dish-towels, but not tissues, soap, toothpaste except for immediate need). You can buy everything you need in Budapest, even many US familiar brands.

You don't say exactly where your daughter is likely to be living, as that would be pertinent in recommending nearby supermarkets / stores.

Just a big word of caution about Aquincum Institute of Technology (AIT) which caters for a purely US student intake. (I've no criticism or knowledge about its academic credentials).

Its campus is far out of town, not even suburban as its outside residential areas, in a minor technology park which does house Microsoft.Hu, and very much designed for car access.

For those that know its between Aquincum Roman town and museum and the river. Nearly a mile walk from the nearest two HÉV (suburban railway) stops, and half a mile from the nearest regular bus stop. And the walks are half along busy roads, not pleasant city streets, miserable in winter months. You really need a car.

One benefit for where the college is is that its on the doorstep of the biggest out of town "Auchan" superstore, a French company, does food / homeware / clothing, many franchises and utilities in the huge shed.

I do worry about your daughters arrangements to get to college each day, but she will have 30 - 40 young Americans in the same boat (sadly no Hungarian students).

Why not Budapest University of Technology and Economics, a proper university with a better reputation than its lower mid-European ranking would suggest, which is central in its location and culture in Budapest ?

But then why not UMIST or Imperial College ?

Hope the educational cost / benefit ratio works and that despite all transport difficulties your daughter enjoys Spring & early Summer in Budapest too ... and makes some Hungarian friends outwith her US classmates !

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9. Re: 3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

@laura_eva, first..."stupid"? I never considered packing consumables, you must have read incorrectly. I was simply looking for a recommendation of a store similar to the US Walmarts so I could help her purchase the paper goods and other things she might need and a grocer we could more easily manevuer to start off with some food items.

As for AIT and our reasoning, although my thread was not posted for the opinions on the program itself, let me enlighten you so you don't pass poor information. The program is very selective and offers a curriculum we have not found elsewhere. It is difficult to find study abroad programs specifically for math, computer science or software engineering majors, especially ones taught in English. The only ones we found would interfere in summer internships as you arrive home after the internship start date of most companies.

So, good segue into another positive note. Because the program houses itself in a professional IT park, those employers often hire these students to intern at their companies. Obtaining internships at highly-ranked IT companies in the US is extremely competitive.

As for "sadly no Hungarian students" that is wrong. Each semester approximately 50 American students are joined by an estimated 20 Hungarian students in their classes, providing a cultural opportunity via very small class sizes that is hard to imitate. These students work side by side.

Many/most students arrive a few weeks early and are immediately immersed in the culture by attending the Babilon Language School to learn what Hungarian they can in that short time. This school is in the inner city I believe. The students are housed for the semester in the inner city so the majority of their free time they are solidly immersed.

Do not worry about my daughter's arrangements to get to college each day. The program is very transparent about this issue and, while to you and I it seems daunting, apparently the past students have not found it that way. There is a shuttle from the bus stop if one does not want to walk the 1/2 mile to campus. Walking doesn't sound fun in the cold and/or wet weather of January but if you know this going in....

Budapest University of Technology and Economics is the sponsoring university. I would be proud to send my daughter to AIT if she is accepted. As previously stated, it is a very selective program, only 100 students each year from the US attend, many of those from our very top tier schools. There is a reason these highly intelligent math/computer science/engineering students choose this program, I for one wouldn't doubt their reasons.

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10. Re: 3 Nights in Budapest, Mom and Daughter

Hi Capiegirl,

Some on here believe they not only know everything, but then should share it! While it may seem personal, it regrettably happens often from a select number of responders.

But we locals (and I emphasize 'locals') are here to help. Congratulations to your daughter- sounds pretty awesome.

And ping me when in town - I'll buy you each a beverage for celebration!

:) Jeremy

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