Budapest happened in 2007, it wasn’t my first solo trip, but it was one of the holidays that set me on my path to full-on solo travelling. At the time I was working for Phones4U in the summer before I went back to uni, so I didn’t take the job seriously but as a way of earning money.
I was in Ireland visiting family when I received a phone call that I had won a trip to Budapest for the Grand Prix as I was the top female salesperson of Vodafone phones. Not going to lie I was in complete shock and thought it must be a prank, so I just said yes and gave my full name and email address. I immediately called work and told them this and was informed it was true and not a joke. I was in complete shock; I didn’t even know there was a competition I just went about doing the job.
Checked my email and it turned out I was leaving in two weeks and luckily enough work was okay with it. Didn’t count as annual or unpaid leave as it helped build the relationship between Vodafone and Phones4U. Quite frankly, I was ecstatic that I was getting an all paid expense trip to Budapest. I had no interest in the Grand Prix, but it’s a small price to pay for a free trip.
Hotel Kempinski is a beautiful luxury hotel, and they are mainly located in Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific. This hotel is gorgeous and stunning inside and out; I remember being in the minibus and pulling up to the hotel and I was all giddy as the hotel was just so grand.
Once we had all been allocated our rooms, I was escorted to my room, and I had to stop and take a minute, the room was massive from my recollection it was a suite, and I felt like I was in heaven. I was able to run up and down the room a few times, and it wasn’t a quick short run. Breakfast was a feast such as serving champagne, of course, I was naïve regarding this, but I loved every moment of it. I can’t comment on the lunch and dinner as we never had these meals in the hotel.
Also at this hotel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were staying there, and we were fortunate enough to meet Alonso. Considering I knew nothing about Alonso, I was pretty excited to meet him and I never a that he was such a small fellow. He wasn’t much of a talker, but he did sign my Vodafone branded Grand Prix top. (This top is no longer white even though it has never been worn.)
I would recommend the hotel if you are planning a stay in Budapest.
Cheese and Wine
We went to a little boutique place that offered cheese and wine tasting; I was not aware that cheese was a thing in Budapest. However, I did enjoy the experience and learnt new skills that I wouldn’t have thought to try in the first place. I would recommend their dessert wines, I came back with a bottle but as it was a long time ago and now its finished unfortunately I don’t remember the name.
This was one of the attractions that we went on, and I would recommend it as it gives you a beautiful view of the city, a picture perfect opportunity.
Budapest was one of my first experiences where buildings were not just brown, beige and dull, but had lived in them. They had a magnitude of different coloured buildings, each building with its history and story to tell. I loved the experience. I loved seeing the graffiti or art of the buildings, despite graffiti being considered vandalism, to me it didn’t seem like it, I could see a story unfolding. That each building had been part of a story and it was nowhere near the end.
This was my first and only Grand Prix to date and to be frank, I was bored stiff. We had gold or platinum tickets which gave us good seats and access to the cars to look at before they hit the track. It was a pleasant experience as we got to watch them prepare the cars.
We were seated near the start/finish line, and the noise was horrendous I had earplugs in, but it was still too loud for me. I wish I had more to say about this, but I didn’t find it interesting enough to give it enough attention.
The Big Questions
Would I go back? Yes
Why? I believe I would appreciate it more now than I did then as I was restricted in the activities I could do