A Notable Excursion to Budapest, Hungary

Hi Class!

This week I’d like to tell you about a trip I took to Budapest, Hungary this past weekend with a big group of my study abroad friends.

A view from our climb to the Gellert Baths, looking from the Buda side to the Pest side of the river.

A view from our climb to the Gellert Baths, looking from the Buda side to the Pest side of the river.

As I boarded the plane late Thursday night I was filled with excitement to see a place I had only ever read about in books and magazines. Although I hate to say this, Hungary was a country I knew very little about before my visit. To my surprise as the taxi drove us from the airport to the place we would be staying for the next three nights the scenery didn’t look all that different from Brussels or the United States even (although it was already dark out and somewhat hard to see).

From the top of the hill where the Gellert Baths are looking out on the Danube River.

From the top of the hill where the Gellert Baths are looking out on the Danube River.

Eager to get an early start, my friends and I awoke and rushed out the door to take full advantage of our short two days in Budapest. Our first mission of the day was to see the Gellert Baths and the park surrounding them on the Buda side of the river. A fun fact I learned right before my trip is that Budapest is actually split into two different sides. The Danube River separates the Buda side of the city from the Pest side. Although it seems quite confusing, it’s much like Portland in the sense that the Willamette separates Portland into east and west. Which side of the river is your school on in Portland? and do you all live on the same side?

The Chain Bridge in Budapest, crossing the Danube River.

The Chain Bridge in Budapest, crossing the Danube River.

After exploring the Gellert Baths area (which, much to our dismay, ended up being a hike up a large hill) we trekked along the river to Castle Hill, where there is an old palace and a few churches upon a hill. The Buda side of the river is very hilly, much like SW Portland near OHSU. There was one church that was absolutely spectacular! I think it was my favorite so far, and that’s saying something since I’ve seen over 30 churches during my time in Europe! After adequately exploring the big sites of the Buda side we ventured across the river on one of Budapest’s most famous bridges, Chain Bridge. It is one of many that cross the Danube from Buda to Pest, but certainly one of the prettiest. Which Portland bridge is your favorite? I quite enjoy the steel bridge!

The largest Synagogue in Europe, located in the Budapest city center.

The largest Synagogue in Europe, located in the Budapest city center.

On the Pest side of the river we encountered a number of spectacular sites, from the largest synagogue in Europe, to markets selling Paprika (Budapest’s most famous export) and souvenirs. My favorite meal in Budapest was from a little vendor at a market very close to our apartment. I order a chicken skewer, which was served with diced and seasoned (with paprika I’m guessing) potatoes on the side and mulled wine to drink. Mulled wine seems to be a popular drink in Europe in the winter, much like apple cider in the US. It was an excellent meal!

A memorial to the victims of the reign of terror in Budapest, located outside of The House of Terror.

A memorial to the victims of the reign of terror in Budapest, located outside of The House of Terror.

The second day was probably the biggest learning experience for me. One of the girls I was traveling with has grandparents from Hungary. They immigrated to the US when Hungary was under Communist rule and day-to-day life was difficult. Because of this she was interested in visiting a museum called The House of Terror. Although it sounds like a haunted house, it is something quite scarier. It is a museum about the various government systems that have ruled over Hungary. It begins just before the Nazi occupation of WWII and details the various governments that led Hungary. Hungary has witnessed a number of regimes that were very scary for its people. There are many records of families going missing in the middle of the night because they supposedly said something against the government. It was a very unsafe place to live and the people were very oppressed by the different dictators and regimes that held power over them and their country.

The Szechenyi Baths in Budapest that I snapped a picture of when we walked by.

The Szechenyi Baths in Budapest that I snapped a picture of when we walked by.

Another thing Budapest is very famous for are the baths. Budapest has a series of natural, mineral baths that people visit to swim in and relax. They are said to be rejuvenating because of the natural mineral content of the water. The idea reminded me a great deal of the hot springs I used to visit in Idaho as a kid. Have you ever been to hot springs? What did you think? We were fortunate enough to visit one of the baths (the Lukacs Baths on the Buda side) at night. It was so soothing and warm! It was basically a giant hot tub with really cool underwater lights! It was definitely my favorite experience in Budapest and something I will remember forever.

Another beautiful castle we came across (not the one on the hill) called Vajdahunyad Castle.

Another beautiful castle we came across (not the one on the hill) called Vajdahunyad Castle.

How are you guys staying warm in the approaching winter cold? Are you all getting excited for Thanksgiving!?

I hope you have a great week!

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This entry was written by alexnhutchinson and published on November 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “A Notable Excursion to Budapest, Hungary

  1. Hi Alex, Annie here. I really enjoyed your latest blog report, it’s really exciting to see Hungary! There’s a lot of really great pictures too, so that was exciting. To answer your questions:
    -Which side of the river is your school on in Portland? and do you all live on the same side?

    I think Lane MIddle School is on the west side of the river that separates us. I think most of us live on the same side, but I think some of us might have relatives on the other side, but I don’t believe that there’s anyone who lives on the east and goes here.

    Which Portland bridge is your favorite?

    I don’t have a specific favorite, I pretty much like all of them. At least they won’t break down anytime soon.

    Thank you, again, for blogging with us and I hope you enjoy your adventures in Belgium!

  2. hi I’m Jared Sveen from ms talents class i was reading all your blogs and i have to ask, do the waffles taste better over their than over hear? I have never had belgium waffles?
    and are you planning on going to austria because my mom went their and apparently it was beautiful country. All the pictures remind me of The Sound Of Music.

    • I think the waffles here are far better than in the US, but that’s probably because it’s their claim to fame. Unfortunately I will not make it to Austria. I have a friend studying abroad there and she says it’s absolutely amazing! If I had the opportunity to visit one more country it would probably be Austria or Greece. It’s funny you should say that, because The Sound of Music is based in Austria. That is one of my favorite musicals!

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