One day in Buda, two in Pest

Trip Start Dec 04, 2006
Trip End Aug 05, 2007

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Flag of Hungary  ,
Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nathan here: Our first EasyJet flight took us safely from London to Budapest, Hungary. Thanks to the helpful tourist information desk at the airport we had no issues taking a bus and the subway to our acommodation. In fact, we have nothing but great things to say about public transportation here. If only Ottawa was so reliable and convenient.

On our first day we checked out one of the many thermal baths available to locals. The Szechenyi Spa Baths were first discovered in 1879. Essentially a local was drilling a well and - surprise - accidentally found a hot spring gushing out 38C/100.4F water. The temperature at the baths today ranges from 27C/80.6F to 34C/93F with the hottest 38C/100.4F. Winter or summer, chess is played in the shallow waters of biggest pool. It was quite the facility with plenty of space for all. We were told that it is now one of the largest bathing complexes in Europe and the most popular bath in Budapest. Suffice to say that we had a great time. Two thumbs up for sure.

Tara here. Following our relaxing time at the spa we then walked over to the zoo which was located nearby. The zoo is celebrating its 140th anniversary and promised polar bears, lions and tigers etc. Sadly, we did not see the polar bears but the lions and tigers and other large animals did not disappoint. Not a very "zoo-ey" zoo as far as zoo's go - which was nice. No little buses to ride around in, no elephant footprints on the pavement to follow, etc, etc. They have a web site for those who might be interested(

Nathan here. On the 16th I turned a very young 33. Celebrated with a very large glass a beer and some traditional Hungarian goulash for lunch, - and a nice dinner in the evening. Plenty of beer throughout the day.

On the 16th we visited St. Stephen's Basilica. The largest church in Budapest, it's 96-metre high dome offers a brilliant view of the city. Although construction began in 1851, the building was not completed until 1867 - yep, just another piece of architecture that's older than Canada. No surprise, the Basilica is incredibly ornate on the inside. Of interest, the Basilica displays the mummified remains of one of St. Stephen's hands. Yes, the hand is displayed in a very fancy gold/glass box. It was a touch on the weird side but what do we know.

We spent the remaining time walking through the old streets on both sides of the Danube River. A beautiful city and one we would recommend to others. One quick story. We were walking across one of the bridges from Pest to Buda when I faintly heard a man and a woman speaking French. More accurately, I heard one word but the accent was clear - Quebecois. I did a 180 and confirmed with them and it turned out that they're from Gatineau so we had a great time chatting in French. N&T.

PS: For those of you who didn't know, Budapest as "one" city has only existed since 1873. This is the year in which the twin cities of Buda and Pest were joined. This concludes the trivia section of this entry.
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