Budapest is one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been. The city is a total mix of old and new, with something to learn at every turn. We arrived really late on Thursday, so our first excursions had to wait until the next day, which was so worth the wait. After getting a delicious breakfast of croissants and carrot cake (YOLO?), we spent the morning at the Szechenyi thermal baths. It felt like a complete dream! I’ve seen pictures of this place and fantasized about seeing it in person for years.
Después de the most relaxing three hours of our lives, Jordan and I walked through an outdoor market and perused the different antiques, food, jewelry, and various trinket vendors. We both bought a couple things, including pretzels and pastries. I should really rename this blog “Chronicles of a Hungry Girl in Europe” because I have never eaten so much in my life. Praise the lord for the gift of excessive walking, or I’d probably look like Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory after she eats that gum.We stumbled upon the House of Terror while exploring the city and bought tickets and audio guides as soon as we found it. Our hostel manager told us it’s a must-do, and it really was. I learned a lot about Nazi Germany in school growing up, but never much about the Soviet occupation, so that was really informative and I’m so glad we took the time to learn about it. Neither of us had any idea how long Hungary was occupied (1945-1991). There’s an area of Budapest that used to be a Jewish ghetto and was abandoned for over forty years, until recently. You can definitely tell when walking through the area. There was a weird haunting feeling about the street we walked down. Something else really fascinating about Budapest is the story behind this photo. The Hungarian government commissioned this statue in July 2014 which is supposed to represent the country being occupied by Germany. People are protesting the statue because Hungary was actually the first country to ally with Nazi Germany, and they don’t want the government to try to rewrite history in an attempt to make itself look better. There was a long line of pictures and items left by the families of Holocaust victims. We stood here and looked at everything for several minutes, amazed.
That night, we did a pub crawl and went to three different ruin bars (old abandoned buildings that were converted into bars or pubs). I absolutely loved that! Each place had its own story. My favorite was the building that used to be a prison.
On day two, J-Penn and I walked for about six hours straight. Our legs/feet were super sore but we saw so much of Budapest: the Parliament building, St Stephen’s basilica, and the Buda side of the city (there are two sides).
I thought it was really fascinating that the Parliament building and basilica are the exact same height, which represents the equal importance of church and state. Apparently, during the Soviet occupation, a Communist star was erected on the Parliament building to show the Hungarians that government is superior to their religions. You can see both buildings in this next picture… Parliament is on the far left and the cathedral is on the far right.