Off to Budapest

Trip Start Jul 28, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Thursday, September 8, 2005

Leaving Zagreb... off to Budapest. Alett and I left early this morning for Budapest. We have a 5 hr train ride. We found a hostel very quick upon arriving to the train station. There was even a bus from the train station that dropped us off. We stayed at the Mellow Mood Hostel. Located in the center of the city. We can walk everywhere. Alett and I met a really nice guy from New York. He treated us to ice cream! :) Dessert is the key to a woman's heart... jejeje We took it easy easy today... just hung around the hostel.

Friday Sept. 9th

Moved from a 6 bedroom dorm to an eight bed dorm. We are all about saving a nickel and a dime.. jeje Its great meeting so many new people in the hostel. There are many traveling from the UK in the month of September. Alett and I are on our way to tour the city! Very close to our hostel is St. Stephen's Basilica. It is the largest church in Budapest. The Hungarians are very proud of their church. The Basilica is named after their king St. Stephen. An enormous amount of gold is painted throughout the chapel. This seems to be a trend in most of the cathedrals. There is a large dome that can be seen almost anywhere in the city. It is stunning.

As we were walking we watched a guy perform with glass jars filled with water. He was extremely talented. Incredible tunes were coming from these water filled jars.

We decided to take an open bus tour to get the grand view of the city. We started out at Castle Hill. Here is the Mathias Church which is 100 yrs old. It is the most famous catholic church in Budapest. The Neo-Gothic style makes this church so appealing. THere is stain glass art in all the windows which illuminate in the evening. It is incredibly beautiful. Organ concerts are still held here. Next to the chapel is the Fisherman's Bastion. This is a great backdrop for the church. You can enjoy an incredible view of the city. It was built in a neo-romanesque style.. also built 100 yrs ago. "It was sited on the place of the medieval fish market and the walls protected by the guild of fisherman, whence the name."

We then made our way to Heroes' Square. From Andrassy Blvd. you can see the incredibly tall column. It is in the center of the Millennium Memorial. Archangel Gabriel is on top of this column. In front of the monument is the tomb of the unknown soldier. On each side of the column are colonnades with pillars displaying many important figures from Hungary. The first is King St. Stephen.

Going to and fro Castle Hill you must cross the famous Chain Bridge. It is the oldest bridge in Budapest. Such a breath-taking view. Especially at night. Alett and I walked to the Bridge in the evening. Standing on the illuminated bridge with the Dabube below and Castle Hill ahead is such a beautiful site!

Saturday Sept. 10th

Another day of exploring the city. We attempted to check out the Synagogue for the second time. Not sure why the church was closed... The outside of the building is decorated in red and white bricks with two dome towers. This is Europe's largest Synagogue. I was hoping to see the inside. From the pictures it looks beautiful. Our second stop today was the House of Terrors Museum. This truly was a house of terror. It was witness to two shameful and tragic periods in Hungary's 20th century history. "In 1944 during the gruesome domination of the Hungarian Arrow Cross party, this building, known as the "House of Loyalty" was the party headquarters of the Hungarian Nazis. Then between 1945 and 1956, the notorious communist terror organization, the AVD and its successor, the AVH, took residence here. 60 Andrassy Blvd. has become the house of terror and dread." Walking into this museum you felt a cold eery feeling. I watched videos of the hangings and killings of innocent victims. I walked through the cellar and saw where the victims were held captive. As I walked into some of the cellars I felt sick to my stomach. No windows.. no space, just a small cement slab. Such inhuman conditions. 100's of innocent people were tortured and killed all because of their faith. Many innocent jews lost their lives. NO HUMANITY! I think the biggest disease we have in this universe is each other. People killing people. I cannot imagine how these people must have felt during this time. Just reliving the history of events is extremely painful. After leaving The House of Terror I felt as if I could not function. Alett and I sat on a bench outside Andrassy Blvd. We had to pull ourselves together.

We then walked to the Szechenyi Spa bath. This is an incredibly large bathing complex. The Spa bath has the hottest and deepest springs. Its a neo-baroque style. It started to rain when we arrived and was a little chilly. We decided to people watch and head back to our hostel.

In the evening we went to Castle Hill to enjoy the Wine Festival (Borfesztival). We walked over the Chain Bridge to Castle Hill. We had such a wonderful time at this festival. There were many different wines and Hungarian foods to choose from. The neo-classical palace surrounding us gave way to such perfect ambiance. There were many performers. Alett and I jitterbugged in the rain. Too much fun! We also met a really nice guy from New York. We hung out with him the rest of the evening.. then he walked us back to our hostel. Such a gentleman!

For some reason everyone I meet thinks I am from the UK or Canada. They dont think I have an accent. No one has guessed correctly yet. Do I talk that proper? jejej Yeah Right!
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