Monday, September 19, 2011

A beautiful experience in Budapest, Hungary

Pin It Now! Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is like reading a good book. The buildings, the streets and the monuments each have an epic story waiting to be told to those who visit. Today the city is vibrant and alive with happy energy , but as you walk the streets and learn the history it becomes apparent how different Budapest was just 50 years ago. Tortured by the cruel and brutal Nazi regime and then again by the Soviets, it’s amazing to witness the strength of the Hungarian spirit. In life it is the struggles that make you stronger and Budapest is stronger than ever these days.

There is so much to explore and see that you really need a minimum of three days to explore most of the city. I bought the kindle version of Rick Steve’s book on Budapest. I went through the book and took notes of what we really, really wanted to see. We had planned 2 full days and it was perfect for us because we couldn’t factor in museums anyway (not with two little monkeys in tow).
I highly recommend getting Rick Steve’s book before travels to Budapest unless you plan on hiring a tour guide. If you check out there are several hundred reviews of recommended tour guides in Budapest. I just thought it would be better to DIY with young kiddos. Rick provides invaluable tips, guides and information in his book and the kindle book also includes self-guided tours.

Budapest (pronounced Budapesht) is actually two cities. The Buda side and the Pest side, divided by the Danube river. We only had time to explore the Pest side, which is where most of the attractions we wanted to see were located at anyway.
Of all the many things to do and see we narrowed it down to this:

The Great Market Hall
A huge indoor marketplace selling everything from Hungarian paprika and wines to knick knacks and other regional specialities. Sadly, we were not able to make it to the market. We were in Budapest on Saturday and Sunday with plans to leave Monday. The market is closed on Sundays and we ended up having to leave on Sunday. A reason to go back and visit :)

[caption id="attachment_1434" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="photo credit:"]The Great Market Hall[/caption]

Stroll down Andrássy út
Along Andrássy út(street) is the opera house, House of Terror and at the very end is Heroes Square and the entrance to City Park. The address 60 Andrássy út is the heartwrenching historical site of the House of Terror.

Andrassy Ut

[caption id="attachment_1444" align="aligncenter" width="412" caption="Opera house in Budapest"]Opera house in Budapest[/caption]

The House of Terror
The House of Terror is the most impressive musuem I have ever been to. It used to be the headquarters of the Hungarian Nazi regime and then the Arrowcross party. The entire building is a memorial the the thousands of innocent lives lost during and after WWII. In that very building some horrific things occurred.  I'll do a separate post on this later. an ABSOLUTE must see spot in Budapest. It would be like going to Warsaw,but not visiting the concentration camp if you don't visit this musuem.

[caption id="attachment_1438" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="photocredit:"][/caption]

Heroes Square
Heroes Square 
The Chain Bridge

[caption id="attachment_1436" align="aligncenter" width="575" caption="View from Chain BridgeOne of the most impressive buildings ever!"]View from Charles Bridge[/caption]

St. Stephen's Basilica
The largest church in Budapest. Stunning!

View of St. Stephen's Basilica
Jewish Quarter and the Great Synagogue
Rick Steves has a lot of information about this area of Budapest including a tour, but also has an excellent online tour/itinerary.

[caption id="attachment_1443" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Weeping Willow Tree Holocaust Memorial"]Holocaust Memorial[/caption]


 Of everything we did and saw in Budapest, the House of Terror was the most memorable. It allowed us a personal and emotional insight to the history of Budapest. Will share that tomorrow. All in all my favorite historical city in Europe thus far.


Oh and on a completely unrelated note is appears we will have internet this week! *fingers crossed* I sure do miss the world wide web!!!