March 23, 2011

Budapest Activities

As you already know, we had a great time in Budapest and wish we had more time to spend in the city. We only visited one museum, but spent much of our time walking around and getting a feeling for the neighborhoods of the city. It was a wonderful way to see the architecture and experience the city in its true life.

Rickety, rusty trains - but very convenient, timely and cheap!
After an adventure getting to our hotel via public transport, we had an easy night and then spent the next day doing things we loved: going to an art museum and visiting the city's famous baths. There are several baths scattered throughout the city, but we choose to go to the Szechenyi baths. You could soak in the pools of various temperatures ranging from 68 degrees F to 104 degrees F inside or out. While it's not quiet with people milling around or particularly sweet-smelling with the funky thermal smell, it's great fun to people watch and relax in the soothing waters. Greg especially enjoyed seeing the old guys playing chess while in the water.

Outside bath part of Szchenyi

On Wednesday, we met up with fellow teacher friends who had taught in Budapest before moving to Munich and they took us on a daytrip to Szentendre, a little artist's village not far from Budapest itself. They knew the best places to get ceramics, knives, glass and delicious Hungarian cakes. Dave and Henny also gave us so many ideas of great things to see in the city that we would not have done otherwise. After we came back to Budapest, we checked out the great synagogue and walked along the citadel walls on the Buda side of the city.

View of Parliament from Buda side
Church on the top of the Buda side
We later met up with Dave to check out a local kert, which was an old warehouse bar in the city (surprisingly clean) where people used to simply drink all night rather than risk being caught out after curfew. Now it's filled with students and old timers, a random assortment of chairs (supposedly there's even a few made from bath tubs that have been cut in half and legs added on) and a movie screen to keep some sort of license going.

On our last morning, we ate yummy "chimney cakes," found several cute design stores and stumbled upon the Rumbach synagogue that was undergoing renovatioins. We also checked out a communist statue on Margarit Island - a lovely 2.5 km island on the Danube and easily reachable from the city. We had a simple lunch and bid our adieu to the lovely city. Budapest might not be a city you would think to visit, but we loved it.

Dome of the Rumbach Synagogue

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