Budapest might just be my favourite city of all. I’m not exactly sure why but it had an authentic juxtapation about it – an effortless blend of old and new. Cobblestoned streets, old buildings, tram lines, the second oldest metro in Europe, mixmatched store signs, twisting streets. It was hot, here, too. I rather enjoyed the sun tingling on my skin; 32 degrees and sweaty clothes was quite homey for this kimberley kid!
Hungary was originally founded in the 900s and has changed hands multiple times. Its buildings and heritage show homage to the Ottoman Empire (Turks), Hungary-Austrian empire, Nazi Germany (the Hungarians had a fascist govermment so worked with the Nazis), Soviet Unions, and finally their own republic government.
Shoe memorial – this is so sad. Right before the end of the War when the Nazis were desperately trying to kill as many Jews quickly as possible, thousands were told to take off their shoes right here, shackled together, and shot, toppling them all into the river.
This gate showcases many important kings of Hungary over the years. The statue in the middle is to honour a the founder of Hungary and the tip of the pillar has a double cross, the symbol of Budapest.
Josh look – a Port Cullis! When we were kids we had a cubby in the bush, because we are country kids, and because we were self proclaimed history buffs, it was called Port Cullis, the metal bars of a castle’s bridge (we had an actual but not moving Port Cullis in our cubby. I can show you the remains).
To look at it I’d guess it was six or seven hundred years old. Turns out Hungary participated in a ‘look how amazing our buildings are’ show and tell, and instead of taking the judges across Hungary, they recreated their buildings here in Budapest, in the early 1900’s!
Inside the besutiful (different to Vienna’s) St Stephen’s Bascilica, which was partially partiotioned off for a wedding, followed directly by mass. We thought it must have been slightly odd to have tourists (dressed as tourists and cameras to boot) gatecrash your wedding but I guess that is the price to pay for holding a wedding in the fanciest building in Budapest!
We climbed to the top for a really smashing (excuse the corny expression but it was) view of the city. As much as you can’t compare it to other cities, it topped Berlin and Florence in my books. The buildings are again, so different and so many of them, with the river running through the middle.
And then, we ate ice cream. If you are ever in Budapest, go to Gelarto Rosa! They fill your cone in the shape of a rose, with whatever combination you like. If nothing else, it felt so sweet to get an ice cream on a hot day literally made with love and beauty.
Berry, pineapple coconut, and lemon mint. So good!
On day two, Tandi, Rachelle, and I went back for seconds. This time I tried salted caramel, oreo, and cherry. Ths salted caramel was insanely delicious.
Dinner was a very yummy potato (ratatouille style called letcho or something fitting) and tenderloin steak. A pianist played jazz the whole time and I was so happy. It was our last night together on the tour, which was less happy. We had a fantastic guide and group. I will particuarly miss the squadron, five of us young crazy ones who followed each other around and took jump photos, and especially my fun and lovely roomie (and chief map reader). Love you guys!! 😘
After dinner a few of us went on to an escape room. These are the funnest thing, though I doubt I contributed very much, not knowing what to expect (and nighttime is not my forte!!) We had to unlock, fix, and escape a malfunctioning time machine before the town was lost in time forever, using random clues and codes inside the room.
On our way home we walked back past the parliament building lit up at night. Also stopped to wave on a never ending procession of nighttime cyclists. The city is beautiful lit up at night.
Day two – Tandi, Rachelle, and I checked out Buda. After sorting out a confusing bus system… we made it to Matias Church and climbed to the top of the tower. We were under VERY STRICT ORDERS to NOT BE LATE. haha. It was quite funny. Our guide took us up the 197 spiralling steps to the top for another ripper view of the city. Insert jelly legs when I reached the bottom haha. The tower was built in the 1400s!
Matyias Church beside the tower was lovely inside.
I really wanted to see the Fisherman’s Bastion, which I THINK served as a lookout point like a lighthouse, in years gone by for fisherman.
After lunchwe made our way to the old baths. They were introduced to Budapest by the Turks and the tradition has been maintained over the centries. Yes you wear swimmers. 😂 We valiantly worked through the Wellness pools’ program of hot – ice cold – hot – lukewarm x3. When i say ice cold, i mean literal ice blocks are chucked into the water! Brrrrr! But i did feel good the next day….
We spent about an hour in a top spa overlooking the beautiful city after the Spas of Confusion and then enjoyed a few saunas.
Kiwi lenonade over dinner. Probably my favourite type so far.
And that’s Budapest! No idea how Hawkeye and Black Widow remembered it differently but here’s a few theories…
1. Hawkeye was in Buda and Black widow in Pest, or vice versa
2. Black Widow was sick and spent the entire time in her hotel room, while Hawkeye enjoyed ice cream
3. Hawkeye ate too many ice creams and got sick and spent thevrest of his time in the hotel room, while Black Widow was responsible and only ate one i e cream, so was able to enjoy the rest of the city.
4. Black Widow got lost in the maze of the saunas, while Hawkeye figured it all out with his razor sharp eyesight but then froze in the cold water and caught a cold.
5. St Stephens is the tallest building in the city (the Matias tower is higher up because its on a hill) and there wasnt anywhere for Hawkeye to shoot at to get around, while as Black Widow immensly enjoyed the low buildings to practice her parkour on.
What do you think happened in Budapest?! 😁