Day 4 of our trip to Budapest was going to be the hottest one yet, so we decided to go to Margaret Island, where there is a series of open air pools, along with parks, playgrounds, fountains and an open air cinema, you can hire bikes too. By this point we had explored so many places that our feet were aching, and 34°C weather is hardly that for exploring. So we hopped on the metro, then took the 26 bus using our Budapest cards to Margaret island! Being around water all day also meant however, that I decided not to bring my camera, so pictures are from my mum's digital.
On the way we noticed a 'vegan' restaurant, called 96 Zen that we thought we could get some smoothies from for breakfast. We had a frozen mango smoothie, which was so delicious, and we were assured was 100% vegan. The only bizarre thing was that the owner was selling bubble tea with cows milk, despite the word 'vegan' plastered in big letters over the front of the window. So, I don't know if this was mistranslated, whether they haven't updated the front of the building, or the vegan part just means the Chinese buffet style food they were serving. But, I would highly recommend the mango smoothie (frozen mango + ice), just make sure to ask exactly what's vegan if you happen to go in there!
On Margaret Island there are a series of at least 4 pools stretching across the complex, complete with a leisure pool, training pool, wave pool and slides, the water isn't freezing cold but is lovely and refreshing on a hot day. We sunbathed, read books, dipped in the pool when we got hot, and most importantly relaxed! When it came to lunch we went to explore the options available, and amazingly there were about 5 street food places serving hot, savoury options.
We went for the langos, a fried yeast dough made up of flour, yeast, sugar, salt and water. We ordered this plain with a side of plain salad and chips, to then combine it ourselves. When you receive the langos, you have the option of putting garlic and salt oil on top of it (which I would HIGHLY recommend!), we also put it on the chips too! If there's one thing that Budapest gets is my love of garlic, they seem to have the option to have it on everything, which I absolutely adore! Whilst not in the least bit healthy (apart from the salad, right?) we had to try these fried dough specialties, which all the locals seemed to be happily tucking into. They were eating them with either cheese, gyros toppings or as a sweet version with nutella.
We lazed around the pool a little more, before exploring the Island a little more and then hopping back on the bus and heading to the Lukacs baths, located in Buda, just up from the Margaret bridge, and included in the Budapest cards. There are 2 outdoor swimming pools, which you have to wear swimming caps in, one outdoor baths, with water jets at 33C and then 4 indoor, thermal baths at varying temperatures, up to 40C. The indoor ones have a very strong sulfur smell, as you'd expect, and many people take a water bottle, to fill up at the designated area with some of this water - they must have a strong stomach to be able to drink it!
Because of the temperature, you can't stay in the hottest one for too long, and you will come out feeling very heavy and relaxed, we then went back into the outdoor bath for the jets, which woke us up a bit and made us feel a little more refreshed. The baths are an amazing experience though, something you must try out if visiting Budapest, they're open til around 9pm too, so can easily be an evening activity.
Planning out my trip, as I mentioned before I had a list of everywhere we must visit, Hummus bar kept popping up on trip advisor as somewhere to visit, it's not vegan, however they are well informed about vegans and even have an allergen menu, highlighting all the allergens in each dish. We went for a falafel main, with salad and fries and a bowl of hummus with mushrooms and wholemeal pitta bread, along with some of their homemade mint lemonade, which was really really delicious! All of the food was incredible, from the hummus, finished off with tahini and paprika to the crispy little falafel balls and the lovely salads which had so much flavour. There are many different Hummus Bar locations across Budapest, we went to the one on the same street as Vegan Love, just across from the Liberty bridge in Buda. Hummus Bar is also a must visit in Budapest, everyone knows vegans only eat hummus!
Day 5 coming soon...