Three Days in Budapest, Then Home

Trip Start Jun 21, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2012

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Today's Monday and the city of Budapest is in full swing. We were up early and out the door by 8:15 once again admiring our view before departing. We went to a small market and got what we thought was a cinamon roll and after the lady telling us where the milk was....getting milk. We sat on a park bench and ate the "chocolate" roll (surprise!) and milk....2.8% milk...strange. Reminded me of what we did 38 years ago for breakfast. Total cost, about 500 Fierents (about $2.50).

We headed out in search of the Synagogue. I can read a map with the best of them and we found it easily. The concierge said it opened at 9:00...nope...10:00. We walked to the market instead. It reminded me of the city market in Philadephia or what appeared to be an old railroad station, but gigantic. Food of all kinds on the ground floor inclduing such delicacies and cows feet and goose liver. Second floor was all Hungarian souvenirs and a local (no brand names) food court. We got lots of souvenirs, and we thought very cheap. That fact was confirmed when we came back toward the hotel and found some of the same items for twice the price we paid. Sandy loves getting a bargain!

Then to the Synagogue. Quite a moving experience. First through a garden where literally thousands of Jews were burried, and then to an open area where there is a weeping willow tree made out of aluminum and steel with the leaves having the names of Holocost victims engraved on it. Very moving. Then we got a great little English speaking Hungarian Jewish girl to take us through the museum. The museum has ancient Torahs in it as well as many artifacts important in Jewish life past and present. Then they took us through all of the Jewish high holidays and why they are celebrated...Yom Kippur, Hannukkah, Passover, etc. I knew something about most of them, but Laura is the real expert. She's in Israel as we speak in a Hebrew immersion program to learn better everyday modern Hebrew. Finally we went to the Synagogue. Interestingly, gave Sandy a shawl to cover here shoulders and asked me to keep my hat on. Very interesting and a huge place. Great tour and great morning.

Headed back to the hotel and Sandy did what all good shoppers do...took a nap while I sat in the lobby and did some people-watching and river-watching, had a couple of beers and blogged. l met some of our Aussie friends from the boat and we planned to meet at 7:45 for dinner. Probably the same wonderful place as last night. More later....

We had dinner with our friends and then invited them up to our room for one of the greatest views in Budapest. Monica takes a lot of pictures and I knew she and Bob would enjoy the view. They did. We parted saying just maybe we'd meet in Australia, Hawaii or maybe even on an Alaskan cruise one day soon. I have a feeling we'll see them again. We met four people on the boat that we just hit it off with. John and Marie (pronounced Mari) Murrray and these folks, Monica and Bob Mitchell. Not just quality Aussies, but quality people!

Up early on our last full day out of the country. We were going to send some things back that we don't need that will lighten the load....but it was $160...guess we'll stuff 'em in somehow! Reminds me of our first trip here to Europe...38 years ago...being here for six weeks, we actually had lots of gifts and souvenirs, therefore, we decided the best thing to do was to mail all but a couple days clothing back home and pack all of our treasures in our checked and carry-on luggage. Funny, but it worked. At the time, I couldn't help feeing sorry for the poor Customs guy going through all of our dirty clothes! LOL!

Anyway, back to Budapest. We walked toward the House of Terror Museum. It's the place where the Nazi Gestapo had their headquarters. Hungary had 750,000 Jews when the war began, and 600,000 perished in the Holocast. Then, when the Russians liberated Hungary from the Nazis in 1945, they used the same building (60 Andrassy) as the headquarters of the KGB and the arrests, tortures and killing continued. These people have suffered much. It was an interesting, yet sobering experience. Glad we went. I wrote in the guest book as we left, "It's sometimes difficult to comprehend man's inhumanity to man."

Up to the room for a rest and then out to lunch near the Hardrock Cafe. Great little restaurant where we sat outside and ate and people-watched. Great city for that. Good mix of tourists from everywhere and working people.

Back to the hotel for a rest before dinner.
Back to the hotel and Sandy napped while I had a beer and blogged....more later.

Had dinner at the same restaurant...3 nights in a row, and saw another couple who was on the cruise with us.  Need some rest because tomorrow's going to be a long day of travel

Up and out the door at 5:30 am.  Hotel arranged for a taxi (half hour ride) to the airport and included it on our final invoice...very convenient.  On the British Airways plane and heading for Heathrow.  We had 1:45 in Heathrow and thought that was plenty of time to get to our next flight.  We barely made it.  Heathrow is one tough airport to negotiate.  On the flight home...great plane Boeing 777.  Very spacious and luxurious.  Interesing I asked for a bloody mary, and started to give the flight attendant my credit card.  She said, "Sir, the drinks are complimentary."  What?  An airline that serves free drinks in coach?  Unheard of in the US nowadays.  

We were on the ground at 2:00 pm Chicago time.  Emailed skip that we were in Chicago (no phone, remember).  30 minutes later he picked us up at the International Terminal and 30 minutes after that we were heading down I-55 to Bloomington.  

Our troubles in Armsterdam seem so long ago.  Our trip was everything we expected it to be and more...with a little spice thrown in...what would life be without a little spice.  I will say if you are considering a trip like this, don't hesitate...just do it!  You will not regret it!

Hope I didn't bore you too much.  I will attach pictures later.  A couple you have got to see!  Take care friends and family!  All the best!

The Colees  
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