Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Budapest Day 2: Exploring Buda

DAY 4: Friday, July 10, 2009

We woke up on Friday and could not believe it was our last day in Budapest already! That cancelled flight really screwed us out of a full vacation day, which stinks. But, we were ready to hit the ground running once again to see all we could in the short time we had!

We met for breakfast at the hotel at 8:00 a.m. The breakfast was very Hungarian, with lots of pastries, bread, meat (like, lunch meat - salami, etc.), cheese, rolls and eggs. It was very tasty! Jacob met us there as we were finishing up to help us plan our day, then we packed our bags and checked out of the hotel by 9:30.

We left our luggage at the hotel then started our walk. We walked over to the Danube, then down towards the Chain Bridge. On the way we stopped to see the Shoes on the Danube, which is a memorial to Holocaust victims who were shot into the Danube. Empty shoes line the river for a stretch, and it was very powerful. I thought the pair of child's shoes was especially poignant. This memorial was definitely one of my favorite sites in Budapest.

Walking along the Danube with Mom and Heather

Shoes on the Danube

Child's shoes

Along the Danube, near the Chain Bridge

From there we walked across the Chain Bridge towards the Buda side of the river. We stopped to take lots of pictures - the whole city is just so scenic! Unfortunately the weather was not great (chilly and overcast), but it was still very beautiful.

On the Chain Bridge

Buda

Once we made it over to the Buda side, we took a cable car to the top of Castle Hill. Up there we saw lots of great things - Buda Castle (which now houses three museums) and lots of statues, etc. Most impressive were the views of the Pest side from the castle - gorgeous!

Cable cars to the top of Castle Hill

Turul Statue (mythical Hungarian eagle) at the Castle

With Heather at Buda Castle

Parliament from across the Danube

Views from Castle Hill, including Margaret Island and Parliament

Me with the beautiful scenery!

From there we walked through a row of vendors and purchased a couple souvenirs. Eric and I also treated ourselves to some Kürtőskalács, or Hungarian funnel cake. Jacob recommended it to us on Thursday, and when we walked up to that marketplace we could smell it cooking and it smelled divine. It is basically dough wound in a spiral, then topped with various flavorings like cinnamon or chocolate. We tried the cinnamon, and it was delicious! We ate it as we walked towards our next destination (and of course, stopped for more pictures of the view as we walked!).

Me with my yummy funnel cake!

Beautiful Buda

We then ended up at a marketplace called Szentháromság tér. There we saw The Matthias Church, which was beautiful but unfortunately covered in scaffolding. The roof (what we could see of it) was gorgeous.

The Matthias Church

We also saw the Holy Trinity Column, which is a memorial to those who died of plague in the 1600s. It was also very beautiful.

Holy Trinity Church

We then walked through the Fisherman's Bastion, which was very cool. I particularly liked the large St. Stephen statue at the beginning (Hungarians seem to love that guy), and of course, the amazing views.

Fisherman's Bastion, with statue of St. Stephen in the center

Eric fits right in!

At the Fisherman's Bastion

More Fisherman's Bastion

Aside from the distinct "sites," just walking around Buda in general was very nice. The streets were all cobblestone and the houses and buildings were all adorable. It was such a beautiful place!

Walking down a street in Buda

We continued on to Bécsi Kapu tér, or Vienna Gate Square, where we saw the National Archives building as well. We then walked up to the Mary Magdalene Tower and Military History Museum.

Vienna Gate Square

National Archives

Mary Magdalene Tower

Cannons at the Military History Museum

By that time it was nearing 1:00 p.m., and we had agreed to meet Jacob back at the hotel at 2:00. So, we walked back down Castle Hill and back across the Chain Bridge. Back on the Pest side, we stopped in the Gresham Palace Four Seasons Hotel to check out the lobby - awesome chandelier!

Heather, Mom and me on Castle Hill

Views on the way down Castle Hill

Gresham Palace

Chandelier in the lobby of the Four Seasons Gresham Palace

We did make it back to the hotel shortly before 2:00. Jacob met us there and called a cab for all of us to the Budapest-Keleti train station. We picked up a snack, then before we knew it, it was time to leave Budapest and head to Györ - the wedding city! Just like that - one city down!

Up next: Family ("rehearsal") dinner and sightseeing in Györ!

Reminder: If you want to see more photos of Budapest than were posted here, check out MyLifeAsALawyersWife.Shutterfly.com - there's a whole album devoted to Budapest pictures! Enjoy!

2 comments:

Lucia said...

Wow, just caught up on your blog and the trip sounds amazing! Definitely once in a lifetime. Sorry it had a rough start with the flight (I know how frustrating dealing with delayed flights in NYC can be!!!) But I'm so glad you had lots of fun and got to bond with family.

Molly said...

mmm Kürtőskalács :-) I can't believe you guys navigated your way around there by yourselves all day! Budapest is seriously one of the best kept Eastern European secrets. You never hear all about it but it is just gorgeous. Obviously!