Friday, July 19, 2013
Budapest is beautiful! Mike and his new Australian friend, Matt, went on a walking tour so it was just Anthony and the girls. We decided today we would tour the city. We started off our day off by seeing the Paliment. We wanted to go in but did not have enough time today to do so. The architecture is just fascinating. There was a lot of construction around the building but we still got a great view. We crossed over The Chain-bridge to get to the Buda side for the rest of the day. We walked all the way up to Castle Hill. The Royal Palace, Matthias Church, and the National Gallery are the main sights on the hill. We first saw the church. The tiles on the church were so colorful and detailed. It looked like a fairytale with all the castle-like structures. We were walking over to climb up the castle and these restaurant performers waved us over. They kept trying to dance with Maddy and kissing her on the cheek. She got freaked out and ran over to us! After we saw the church, we headed over to the Royal Palace! There was a wedding being set up as we were walking around. It started to rain for a minute and hoped everything with the wedding would be fine. All of us girls could not believe someone was getting married with such an incredible view at such a beautiful monument.
Our next stop was Gellert Hill. We decided to conquer this hike tomorrow or the next day. We walked across the Green Bridge and stopped by the Central Market Hall. It was so overwhelming because it was filled with so many vendors. Some vendors were selling produce and meat, others were selling handbags and jewelry. There was such a huge range of items at the market. We walked around for a little while and then decided to go to dinner. We went to this place called Pesti Sorcsarnok right by the market. It was our first traditional Hungarian meal! At first I was going to get the goulash but Maddy changed my mind when she told me she was getting the tourist plate. The plate had a smaller goulash soup and a small paprika chicken and potato gnocchi dish. It also came with a crepe with sugary filling as a desert. By the time it got served to us, Maddy and I could only take one bite each. It was very rich but good!
We all walked back and stopped at a cute jewelry store on our way back. It was their grand opening so they offered us drinks and snacks! Everyone else decided to walk home while we were shopping. Jackie, Lisa, and I walked back together and decided to stop and see some more places on the way. Jackie got a little tired so she left and Lisa and I went to the Grand Synagogue. It was so pretty! We saw the memorial for the victims of the Shoah in the back. We then walked through the Jewish Quarter. It was filled with cute restaurants and tons of ruin pubs! We walked into this really cute ruin pub called Szimpla. It was the bar we were planning to go to later tonight. It was about 7 or 8, so people were sitting down for a drink already. We wanted to stop by earlier so we could see the pub before it got too crowded. We left and made our way to St. Stephen Basilica. We saw this man with a Blackhawk on his shirt and we said, “Go Blackhawks!” He had no idea what we were talking about and told us the Blackhawks was a University of North Dakota team. Good try buddy. We kept walking and thought we got to the church but it was a different one. It was still beautiful but we walked on down Andrassy Avenue. This street filled with high end fashion is the Budapest version of Champs d’Elysees. We saw these older couples on a biking bar. There was a table surrounded by 6 or 8 bike peddlers and extra seats for those who did not want to peddle. There was a keg and all! It looked so fun and I definitely want to try it back home! We got to St. Stephen Basilica and it was enormous and beautiful. I need to come back to Budapest because there already is so much more I want to see. Lisa and I made our way back to the hostel to get ready for the night.
Our night was so much fun! We made friends with this Irish girl in our hostel. She said they were planning to go to Szimpla and then another ruin pub called Instant. Szimpla is Budapest’s first ruin pub opened in 2002. Instant is two old buildings combined into a club. We started at Szimpla and it was so cool. Anthony turned 21 at midnight so we all sang happy birthday to him. Some people from the bar joined in. We met some people dressed as Where’s Waldo who were there from Wales for stag. I still think it’s so fun they do this as a bachelor party. We finished the night at Instant and then made it home. Tomorrow we are planning to go to these natural baths.