Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Buda Buda Budapest

Oh Budapest... I have dreamed about this city for years, this romantic and mysterious city nestled in the Carpathian mountains with the mighty Danube cutting right through its heart. Budapest certainly did not disappoint, especially with the weather (about 70 degrees every day...and sunny...I almost forgot the sun existed)

Budapest looks very different than Prague. Where Prague resembles a medieval town, Budapest's architecture reminds travelers of the glorious past of the Austro-Hungarian Empire...with a little Eastern European flair of course.

1. Go Antique-ing- And/or thrifting... Budapest is full of tiny, hidden antique and second-hand stores where you can find some really unique clothes, music, and even old USSR passports! Also, if you can find one, buy a Buddha statue (I did). You are going to love saying you bought a Buddha in "Buddha"-pest (corny I know...)

Real passports from the Communist occupation. There were also Stalin matches and lighters...

Knick-knacks galore!! (And a portrait of Stalin...)

2. Check out Budapest's Central Market Hall- It's like a farmer's market on steroids, and way cooler because everything sold inside is authentically Hungarian (for the most part). You can find items from strings of dried out paprika peppers to hand-sewn Hungarian doilies that I'm pretty sure your grandma would love, from gigantic slabs of sausages (because these people are known to eat lots of meat...) to carved wooden "secret" boxes and every other cheesy souvenir you can think of. You can get lost in here if you're not careful...and be sure before you leave to pick up a bag of paprika spices! 

The Market Hall

Spices!! Finally, a place in Europe that appreciates my need for heat. I'm really starting to miss Mexican food...

I could eat them all on the spot.

3. Take a walk on the Buda side- The Buda side of the river Danube is home to the palace district that has lots of windy, medieval looking roads and little cafes. I didn't have much time to walk around, but it really is beautiful, and you get the BEST views of the city! Also, you can take a tour of the palace and go in this gorgeous church...

The colored tiles on the roof are handmade in Hungary and are said to last forever. They never lose their vibrance!

4. Visit the House of Terror Museum- Another place on my list that I wish I could have seen! The House of Terror is a museum about Hungary under both Nazi and Communist occupation. Even if you aren't really a museum person, this one is supposed to be amazing and well worth the visit.

Clever architecture...

5. If it's a beautiful day, spend time relaxing at the park behind Hero's Square- Or on Margaret Island!!

Musical fountain on Margaret Island. There's also a jogging track that goes around the entire island if you're in the mood for exercising (and checking out the locals...)

6. Watch the sunset from Margaret Bridge

Stone replica of the crown jewels. Yes, the cross is supposed to be crooked.

Budapest lit up at sunset, shimmering like golden stars

7. See St. Stephen's Hand- inside St. Stephen's Cathedral

THE HAND. Catholics and their holy body parts...so creepy, but awesome.

One of the most beautiful cathedrals I've ever seen

St. Stephen's at night

8. Go to Mozaik Tea House- and have some Elderberry tea...honestly try everything. Spend a whole afternoon here. I fell in love with this place.

So cute

Write your name on the chalk walls!!

Yummy :)

9. Go out to a "Ruin" Bar- These bars/clubs are where the nightlife flocks to in Budapest. The "ruin" part is in quotes because these places aren't like ancient ruins or what you may be thinking...instead, the bars are inside old, abandoned, graffitied-up warehouses. So underground and so cool.

The dance floor was a little quiet considering it was a Tuesday night...but the DJ was awesome and everyone was dancing!

10. You HAVE to try Langos- Before you leave, this is the one food item that will change your life. It's basically deep-fried pizza dough, covered in either sour cream or marinara sauce, and topped with cheese. Best. Thing. Ever. Just watch your consumption because you could leave Budapest with 15 extra pounds of baggage (and I'm not talking about souvenirs...)

Our final meal of Langos and junk food on the train from Budapest to Vienna! We're drinking Coke Zero, which obviously cancels out the calories of everything else.

Worth it.

Two more journeys to document, plus I need to update you all on my trip to Iceland this past weekend!! Check back soon!

Hej hej,

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