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Budapest: The Paris of Eastern Europe

Hi All,


Budapest was amazing. When we got into Budapest and checked into our hotel, I immediately hopped over to a laundromat to drop my clothes off. They washed them for me for 2,700 forint (about €9). Then, I walked over to the famous bazaar, the Great Market Hall, which had everything you could want from an extensive food market to souvenir stands. It was huge!  After the market, I picked up my laundry and rested for an hour.

Budapest
Grand Market Hall

Grand Market Hall


Then, we boarded the coach for a three hour bus tour of Budapest. We saw all the sites from the famous Liberty Statue to the Fisherman’s Bastion to Heroes Square. It was a pretty extensive tour.

Danube River

Danube River

View of Budapest

View of Budapest

St Stephen's Basilica

St Stephen’s Basilica

Me in front of the Liberty Statue

Me in front of the Liberty Statue


Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion


Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion


Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion


View of Pest & the Hungarian Parliament

View of Pest & the Hungarian Parliament

Heroes Square

Heroes Square

After our tour, we boarded a boat for a nighttime dinner cruise on the Danube River. The food was phenomenal. My favorite was the traditional Hungarian goulash. They added a bit of paprika mixed with red pepper to give it an extra bite. The sites were beautiful at night. They were all lit up and it really was a sight to be seen.

Budapest
Budapest

After our river cruise, the bus dropped us off at a very unique bar. It had rabbit statues hung from the ceiling, weird pictures all over, and even an owl-woman-horse hanging from the ceiling!

Owl-Woman-Horse

The following morning, we woke up at 8:00 AM for a tour of the Parliament which I have heard is the one thing you must do in Budapest.


We took the tram from the hotel to the Parliament and went through security. After about 100 steps, we finally arrived in the main hall of the Parliament. The building was built out of all Hungarian goods (except for four columns which were a gift from Sweden) and was 100% built by Hungarians. It was a massive building with gorgeous stained glass windows. We were also able to see the crown jewels and the changing of the guards who stand watch over the crown jewels.  Then, we saw one of the discussion chambers. The chamber was similar to one that I saw in the Italian parliament.

Parliament

Parliament


Discussion Chambers

Discussion Chambers

After our tour we went to one of the famous squares in Budapest in front of the Saint Stephen’s Basilica and grabbed breakfast at one of the nearby restaurants. Then most of us decided to go to the House of Terror, a museum about the Hungarian equivalent of the Stasi secret police during the Communist regime in Hungary, the State Protection Authority, and their methods of interrogation.


It was by far the best museum I have ever been to. Each of the rooms was so well done. At one point the room is a maze with information on the walls. You feel lost which parallels what the inmates probably felt. My favorite part was the elevator down to the gallows. You could not get down by stairs, only a very slow elevator with a television in the back of it. The television showed an interview with the custodian that had to clean the gallows. He described the different types of cells – normal, ones you couldn’t sit down in, ones you couldn’t stand up in, interrogation ones, etc. Then, he talked about the executions. It was very powerful. Then, you got off the elevator and saw everything he was talking about. Pretty scary.


After the museum, we met up with a few other people and went to grab a bite to eat for lunch. Then, I headed back to the hotel to rest for a few hours.


That night, we went to a place called Margaret Island for dinner. We ate at an outdoor place which had the soccer games on for the Euro 2012. Before we knew it, it was midnight so we headed back to my hotel.

Margaret Island

Margaret Island


I really enjoyed Budapest. It had a certain charm to it. It reminded me a bit of Rome.

Note: This post was originally published on June 16, 2012 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe…Again” which chronicled my post-graduation trip across Europe.

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