Thursday, October 4, 2012

Budapest! - day 1

Hi All,

I promise I'm still here! Just busy with lots of exciting house things, and as soon as I find my missing camera cord, I will show you all! I want to keep on with my posts about our exciting European travels of 2011 before the year is out.  So lets do this!

We spent our last day in Poland visiting Auschwitz. Incredibly informative and sad. I was shaken to the core learning more about the horror of this period in European history, in part because my grandfather, who was Polish, and his family members, were sent to German war camps and concentration camps - the reality of what they (and others went through) really hit me. But I'll write more on that later.

After spending the day at Auschwitz, we returned Krakow and meandered around the city center until it was time to board our overnight train to Budapest. That is right, I said it - overnight train. At first I was excited, but then I was nervous that Jon would fall out of the top bunk on to me (and yes we tried to snuggle in one bunk, but it was cramped and just not worth it). I ended up not sleeping, and woke up very grouchy. We arrived in Budapest a little late, and since we were only spending 36 hours in the city we immediately stopped for coffee and snacks to gear up for a full two days.

Budapest is the largest city in east central Europe, and is historically two cities. Buda on the west bank of the Danube, and Pest on the east. It is a big, modern city. After our amazing time in Krakow, and my sleepless night on the train, I was a little overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle.

I have to say, on our first day in Budapest, we covered a lot of territory.  And this is because  J and I are into some serious walking when we travel. We spend lots of time meandering - and this works great for us. I like experiencing and seeing the nooks and crannies of the city, and he reads to me from (what else) Rick Steves Guide to Eastern Europe. We stop when we are tired, take pictures when we feel like it and usually end up  enjoying lots of delicious treats and beer.

Our first day in the city walked through the large market in Pest and across the river to Buda and around the castle.  The two sides of the river are incredibly different. Pest is bustling, busy and modern (imagine traditional 18th and 19th century architecture mixed in with those communist block style buildings), whereas Buda is quaint and quiet (think cobblestone streets, secret courtyards, and narrow cafes). We stayed in Pest, but I think if we were to visit again, I'd probably want to stay in Buda  - sure Pest is where the action is, but I felt like I could have wandered around Buda for hours!

Danube from the Train


More Pest

Paprika is a big thing in Hungary

me and my yugo


Castle ruins

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