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Trip Report Five Nights in Budapest: A Quick Winter Getaway

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Back in May, American Airlines experienced a glitch on its website that resulted in cheap airfares to several European destinations in winter, including over Thanksgiving weekend. With roundtrips to Budapest, Hungary, running about $400 a ticket, we picked up a few and were on our way to the Old Continent. It was pure luck that we caught wind of the mistake fares.

The trip would be our fourth trip to Europe. Over the past decade, we've visited much of Western Europe as well as Istanbul. All of our prior trips occurred in summer. We chose Budapest because it is one of the cities that I've always wanted to see. It's something about seeing photographs of the Danube running through the city dotted with some of the city's architectural icons.

My goals for this trip were to take a trip on Danube, sample some of the delightful pastries and desserts that are just superior in Europe, and experience the famous Christmas markets found in this part of the world. I'm happy to report that we were able to check all of these boxes on this trip and more.

In terms of weather, Budapest experienced mostly overcast days and nights during our time in the city. The overcast skies interchanged with on-and-off drizzling rain, nothing that really affected our visit. Temperatures hovered around the mid-30s during the day and low-30s at night, which is seasonal for this time of year.

We left for Budapest from Washington, DC, via London on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and returned the following Tuesday. We were on U.S. Airways for the intercontinental flights and British Airways within Europe, connecting via London both ways. The flights were uneventful and the service on all our legs were decent. Luck was on our side as our outbound flight experienced no delays given the stormy weather moving up the East Coast throughout the day that day.

We arrived in Budapest around noon of Thursday, passed immigration, and went our way to our hotel, the Sofitel, via taxi. The trip from the airport to the Sofitel took about thirty minutes and cost a flat 10,000 forints. The check-in process at the hotel was smooth and we were in our Danube-facing rooms in minutes. We dropped off our bags, freshened up, and went to find lunch.

To be continued...

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