Day 7: Do Not Miss Margit Island OR Instant Ruin Bar… Budapest, Hungary

We decided that we would reserve (what should have been) the nicest day to go to Margit Island and do some sunbathing. I say, “what should have been,” because every time we stripped down to our swim suits the bloody sun went behind a big black cloud. Where was this, “clear skies,” that Accuweather told us of?! Regardless, we had a great day anyway. Here are eight reasons why I think Margit Island should be on your itinerary if you ever visit Budapest. Instant ruin bar doesn’t need my reasons.

Thursday 5th June 2014

Margit Island
Margit Island is literally an island in the middle of the Danube, just north of the Parliament building. It is easily accessible by foot. For some reason I thought it could only be reached by public transport and so we ended up spending money we didn’t need to. But if you’re not feeling the urge to trek there, you can catch the number 4 or 6 tram with a single transport ticket, and these will drop you off directly at the island entrance. The tram tickets can be bought at the strange little newspaper stands for HUF350. They only accept cash and don’t speak very much English.
#1. The views of the Parliament building from the bridge to Margit Island are fabulous.
#2. The first thing you come across when entering the park is a dancing water fountain. It is brilliant and plays at about 3PM.
#3. Margit Island has some of the last remains of Turkish ruins available to see in Budapest. I have no pictures and no information on any of them. It’s not really my kinda thing, but you might be interested in their existence.
#4. There is a tiny water park. With slides and stuff. It’s super expensive at HUF2000andsomething but on a really hot day I bet it’s a blast.
#5. There are terrapins. Mike and I were expecting a bit more of a zoo. People had told us there were deer and horses, but the terrapins were all we got. They were pretty cool to watch anyway, and the waterfall they live under is very pretty.
#6. Margit Island is SO big, that no matter where you sit, you have a lot of privacy.
#7. We sat close to the water tower. Mainly for access to the toilets and drinking water. But if you wanted you could climb to the top of the water tower and see panoramic views of Budapest.
#8. There are CHEAP ice cream vendors EVERYWHERE! We bought two ice creams (one chocolate, one mint chocolate chip) for HUF360. That’s £1 to you and me.
Margit Island is a great and FREE place to go for just a lie down in the sun and I’m glad we didn’t give up on the idea of visiting. It was the perfect escape from the city-ness of Budapest, without the massive cost of transport to a beach or a mountain.
Margit Park was wonderfully quiet
Ruin Bars
Unfortunately, we left the night life to last minute. Much to the disgust of everybody in the world. Ever. Budapest is KNOWN for its amazing night life and yet Mike and I (mostly I) had been too tired to sample it. Well, on this day, we visited not one… not two… but THREE bars. We invited a girl we met at the 11thHour hostel, Emily, with us.
First we visited Instant. Which can only be described as Alice In Wonderland, on acid (and Alice in Wonderland is pretty fucked anyway). Prices were cheap and cheerful, we had one 0.5l and one 0.3l lagers for HUF830 (less than £3). We over analysed a few manipulated art pieces around the place, checked out the multitude of different rooms (including the Mole Hall in the cellar and the Disco Pig Dance Floor, which came complete with a disco ball in the shape of a boar) and cursed my camera for finally running out battery. The place really was incredible and by far my favourite.
Main room at Instant
Next we found a small bar on Térez, that we think was called Block Bar, but we can’t remember. We chose to sit here for an hour because it was cheap. For two 0.5l lagers we paid HUF420 (£1.40). It lacked in character, but we chose a seat in the big open window overlooking the street and conversed over the Hungarian hobos’ tendencies to collect cans from the bin, how Americans laugh and our dorm mate’s flatulence. 
Lastly, we visited Fogashaz (or House of Teeth, to you and me). I don’t know what teeth has to do with anything here but the place itself was a mixture of weird things. There wasn’t a theme like there was at Instant. There were sandbags, rickety looking balcony structures and pretty light bulbs in the trees. Not to mention the wooden seat/impaling instrument that no one seemed to want to sit on (I wonder why?) Nothing went together, but it was alright. The prices were a little higher than Instant, but not by a lot.
[Photo borrowed from: http://tenthingstodo.topbudapest.org]
Had I not been absolutely shattered, I would have loved to go back to Instant or go on to Szimpla Kert (another popular ruin bar). The pubs didn’t seem to get busy until late and unfortunately we headed home at around 1AM. On our last night in Budapest we just scratched the surface on the alternative pub culture and we can’t wait to head back and discover some more.
So what’s next on Moomads? We caught a night train to Transylvania. Check back for the next post to see how we got on.
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