Welcome back to my exciting Sunday evening where I have showered, unpacked and now stand (sit) ready to finish blogging about Budapest. I think.
One thing I absolutely LOVE about Budapest, and this part of Europe in general, is the readily-availableness of my favorite: MozartKugel! The few rare moments when I can actually find it in the States, it’s like $20 for a small box. Here’s it’s priced no differently than maybe Dove chocolates back home. And Budapest had MozartKugel stores:
First on the agenda Saturday morning were the Turkish Bath Houses. We selected the Gellert per recommendations and spent several hours there.
It’s basically a bunch of thermal baths of varying temperatures plus some cool outdoor pools. The inside baths are separated by gender, and these (internet stolen) pictures are severely lacking in naked old ladies, which is okay. All-in-all it was a cool experience. Even the painfully awkward European Message. It was my first message, and let me just say that American notions of things like privacy and modesty just are not tolerated in European messages. I survived. Barely.
Don’t judge us on what we did next. I know that cheesy on-and-off tour busses are cheesy and touristy and not authentic or whatever. But when you know next to nothing about a city and have a short amount of time, they are a great way to see the city as an overview and then pick what you want to spend time doing. So we got tickets valid for 24 hours for an on and off tour bus that also came with a free boat tour on the Danube (at night – more on that later…)
The tour lasted over an hour, so I’ll spare you the multitude of pictures that ensued and just give you the highlights.
First, we wanted the open-air bus. But Orsini luck kicked in and the second we loaded up, a big, black, ominous cloud appeared and they had to call in a covered bus.
Given the ensuing downpour, the covered bus was actually the way to go. The tour kept comparing things to more traditional tourist places, like “this is the Times Square of Budapest” or “Hero’s Square, like Trafalgar Square in London.” Here’s Hero’s Square:
Here we are from the town Citadel with a great view of the city. The left side (my side) is Buda. The Danube runs in the middle. And Pest is on the right (Jeanette’s side).
And then apparently, there was a flood, I want to say in the 18th Century, but I’m probably making that up, that caused over 4000 buildings to crumble. This church survived and bears a watermark of how high the water was.
The coolest part about the tour Saturday was the boat tour. We were supposed to leave at 8:45, but Orsini luck showed up again and the boat didn’t work. So we had to wait for the previous boat to return and then climb over to it. The had steps so it’s not nearly as treacherous as it sounds – or shouldn’t have been – except for the people pushing and shoving anxious to get over.
None of my night pictures came out, but for some reason, the video worked great:
And then some after the sun set:
I can explain what all the buildings and stuff are when I get back, if that’s overly interesting.
Near the end of the boat-ride, we got to watch someone light himself on fire and subsequent fall from the top of one of the bridges. Pretty traumatic. But before that, the boat ride was a highlight.
Sunday morning, now having a fuzzy idea of stuff we want to see before we leave at 2, Mandy and I first head to St. Stephen’s Church, the largest in Hungary. Again, a gorgeous church (I actually took these pictures instead of stealing them off the internet. I can take pretty pictures, sometimes….):
We got there a little after 9, but I think mass didn’t start until 10, so we missed that. But it’s hard to tell times when you don’t speak the language and you don’t have the internet. We tried.
Next we hiked to the Opera House, and even though the guard told us they were closed, we found a hidden stair case and snuck in for a few shots. It was worth it.
RIGHT NEXT to the Opera House sat my TWO FAVORITE high fashion stores (Louis Vuitton and Burberry), which to me, just seemed like fate. God wanted me to shop, I mean, what are the odds that the only two stores sitting next to our current location are MY TWO FAVORITE! But perhaps is was fate after all, because they were both closed…. :( Good, thing, because I would have purchased these LV shoes and then would no longer have enough money to finish law school:
We then took the bus back to the top of the citadel. Since it was sunny, I took a nice panoramic view for you:
20 Minutes later, we were in the Castle District where you could see (but not go in) the royal chapel/church thing, the fisherman’s bastion, and a great view of Parliament:
The Parliament buildings were pretty cool. They were designed after the Parliament buildings of London and are second in size only to them in Europe.
Then, we sprinted to the bus, rode 5 or 6 hours home, and I’ve been doing this. So, all-in-all, a pretty productive weekend. This week is travel heavy: Salzburg Wednesday, Vienna Thursday, and Venice for the weekend. I’m tired just thinking about it. But STOKED!