Two years ago, I arrived in Budapest, the last stop on my solo European Christmas markets trip. It was my first visit to Budapest, and after a week of traveling solo through Vienna and Bratislava, which included losing my wallet my second night of the trip in Vienna, I was a bit tired and frazzled.
After arriving at the Keleti train station from Bratislava and making my way to my hotel using the city’s trams and subways, I settled in to the hotel bar to enjoy a glass of wine and unwind. It was time for the #luxtravelchat Twitter chat, so I hopped online to chat with fellow travelers before I ventured to explore the city on my own.
Buda Castles at night. Credit: Roky, Flytographer
Flytographer in Budapest
During the chat, Nicole Smith, the founder of Flytographer, mentioned that the Flytographer service was expanding into Budapest, and she wondered if I had free time for a photo shoot with one of their new photographers? Since my only agenda during my stay was to explore the Christmas markets and then add in anything else that seemed interesting in my free time, a photo shoot to document my trip sounded perfect to me.
Flytographer is a vacation photography service with photographers that can be booked in 180 cities around the world. There are different shoot package options, and shortly after the end of your session, you receive a link to high resolution images of your vacation photos, ready for you to download.
Budapest buildings along the Danube by Flytographer Roky
Nicole connected me to Roky, the Flytographer in Budapest, and we communicated via WhatsApp to set a time and place to meet for our photo shoot. I wanted pictures of me walking around the Christmas markets experiencing the sparkly lights, the stalls filled with Christmas decorations and the food vendors selling mulled wine and other hot beverages to keep you warm. Roky suggested that perhaps we should meet a bit before dark so we could also photograph some of the city’s landmarks. We decided to meet by the Széchenyi Chain Bridge along the Danube River, the river that separates the Buda and Pest sides of the city.
Starting the Photo Shoot with Roky from Flytographer
I met Roky right as the sun was setting. He had arrived earlier and took some photographs of the landscape since he loves to take photos and Budapest is a beautiful subject! We chatted briefly and then he directed me to the bridge so we could take some photos before the sun disappeared.
The Little Princess statue along the Danube River by Flytographer Roky
Roky took some initial shots of me, and while I am usually comfortable having my picture taken, I felt a bit uneasy at first since I did not know Roky, I was not simply standing in front of a landmark and smiling, and I was posing by myself. Since Roky was hoping to capture some candid shots, that added to the pressure since it is difficult to wander around and act like you do not realize that your picture is being taken!
One of the first photos Roky took of me, with the Danube River in the background
One of our early photos by Flytographer Roky
Shortly after we started though, I was smiling and laughing and enjoying the moment. Roky has an friendly, easygoing way about him, so I soon felt comfortable as he directed me to stand here, turn this way, look up and smile.
We walked on the Chain Bridge to take some photos Credit: Roky from Flytographer
He would stop along the way to show me the photos he took so I could see our progress, and he also explained some of the settings he was using on his camera. As you can see, he has quite the eye for getting some gorgeous shots!
Taking pictures as a yellow Budapest tram approaches Credit: Flytographer Roky
Watching as the tram passes Credit: Flytographer Roky
Night Shots at Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market
After taking these photos by the river, we walked a short bit towards the Vörösmarty Square market, as the day turned to dusk and then night. Roky wanted to experiment with some techniques, and I was game, as I enjoyed chatting with him about Budapest, his photography techniques, and our favorite travel experiences.
Approaching the Vorostamy Square Christmas Market Credit: Roky, Flytographer
Standing still for a longer exposure while people pass by Credit: Roky, Flytographer
The Vörösmarty Square market was one of my most favorite that I visited during my entire trip (Vienna-Bratislava-Budapest), as it had so many beautiful ornaments and Christmas decorations that were handmade. The food stalls were huge, with large pots of stews and local delicacies. Of course there was spiked punch (and you could choose which spirit to add), mulled wine and hot chocolate!
Pretty light balls hanging in the trees over Vorosmarty Square Christmas Market Credit: Flytographer Roky
Looking at the traditional chimney cakes Credit: Roky, Flytographer
Roky let me wander through the market, explaining what some of the different foods were, and we stopped for some mulled wine. It was all traditional Hungarian foods, and everything looked delicious.
Trying Somlói Galuska at Gerbeaud
Somehow we started talking about chocolate while we were walking around, and Roky told me I must somlói galuska, a traditional cake dessert with chocolate. Since we were right near the famous Gerbeaud cafe on Vörösmarty Square, he asked if I would be interested in trying it then. Am I interested in dessert? Of course! So into the cafe we went, a beautifully decorated space, and the desserts looked all delicious. We each selected a dessert to try, and then of course, I had to post a photo on Instagram.
Trying somloi galuska in Gerbeaud Photo by Roky of Flytographer
Instagramming my somloi geluska at Gerbeaud cafe Photo by Flytographer Roky
After finishing dessert, it was time for our Flytographer session to come to an end. I had a fantastic time taking photographs with Roky; he captured beautiful pictures documenting my joy and wonder exploring the Christmas market. These photos are my most treasured souvenir of my solo trip, and the easy friendship I developed with Roky is a fond memory too.
When I returned home, I was blown away by the pictures, and they instantly reminded me of the sights, sounds, smells and tastes from that night. My friends were equally impressed – when I shared one of the photos on Facebook, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Daylight photo on the Chain Bridge. Photo by Flytographer Roky
Enjoying mulled wine Photo by Flytographer Roky
Flytographer – the Best Travel Souvenir
Flytographer is the best thing you can purchase while traveling, as the photos capture a moment in time and help you remember a special trip forever. I have also had sessions with Flytographer in London and Buenos Aires, as a single traveler and with family (read my post about our London experience here), and I can not recommend them highly enough. And, Budapest is a great city to visit in the Christmas season (if these photos haven’t convinced you).
You can receive a $25 off for your next Flytographer session by booking through this link. Use #FlyFan when you book to receive the credit.
Drinking mulled wine at Vorosmarty Square
In front of the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Photo by Roky of Flytographer
While my shoot in Budapest with Flytographer was complimentary, the opinions of my experience are entirely my own.