Saturday, May 18, 2013

CE Euro Vacay - Budapest

A couple of weeks before our daughter's second birthday we took off across Central and Eastern Europe for a wild and crazy touristic adventure en famille.  My lovely wife graciously accepted my minimalist packing challenge and we fit all of our essentials for 10 days into 3 small day-packs.  Prague - Vienna - Budapest - Belgrade - Sofia.  5 countries/cities in 10 days.  Planes, trains, automobiles.  Couches, air mattresses, hotels, sleeper trains.

Today I'll share some memories from Budapest (pronounced 'Budapesht', or so I'm told).

Budapest was a much needed breakpoint in the middle for us.  While Budapest, Hungary is a more eastern european city and country than the ones we'd previously visited, we stayed with some wonderful American hosts who cooked for us and shared American goodies and generally made us feel right at home.  The city also had an international feel with all variety of restaurants, embassies, and shopping.  Although not everything translated quite right:
Math must be different in Hungary. 100 years old?
Hard Rock Budapest. Well-played, son.
Budapest is a city known for its bridges.  Not because of their particular grandeur or beauty, but because of what they represent.  One side of the Danube river is hilly, inhabited, and full of Castles: 'Buda'.  The other side is flat, full of commerce, administration, and housing: 'Pest'.  We were told that for years, the two sides remained essentially separate cities, with little connection.  In the middle of winter, the river would freeze and people would throw down straw, walk across, and trade/shop for the coming year.  Then finally someone had the bright idea to build a bridge and the city would be forever changed.  Thus the connected city we know today.

A bridge. Not especially significant. Unless you consider free trade within a city significant
Pest. The section of the city, not the nuisance.
The old market. Still a market. So maybe it should just be called, 'the market'.
We had a fun time in Budapest. To be honest, there's plenty we missed - like the baths, the castles, the monuments. We needed a break from our vacation, so we took it by visiting parks, watching movies, and chowing on comfort food (including the best mexican restaurant we've visited in Europe - Arriba's). We'll try and go back someday perhaps!
Fun times with E: hummus, slides, and bubbles.
S's adventures.
The Gellert Hotel. It's important and notable. 
The Hungarian Parliament building. Really big, prized by the city.
This building was built for the World's Fair.
A cool concept, each section replicates and represents different notable buildings throughout Hungary.
Saved us plenty on gas money. 
A biiiig church. Every European capitol needs one.

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