Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Budapest - Sunday

Yeah, the sun is back out again and we can do outdoorsey things. From our windows we can see people running the Budapest marathon. The lead runners are just hauling. The main plan for the day is to head up the furnicular to the castle. The castle is the most imposing feature on the Buda side of the river. There are museums, ruins, and the famous Mathius church. The whole hill top and most of Budapest was completely destroyed by the Russians at the end of WWII. The Germans held the castle for 100 days before they surrendered. Interestingly, the Russians rebuilt the destroyed hill but would not rebuild the cathedral in Dresden. They used that cathedral as an example of how horrible the Americans were. Propaganda is a funny thing.
As you stroll the area, you can see some of the original foundations that were incorporated into the imaginative restoration. The foundations are riddled with bullet holes and scares from shrapnel. Very sobering under the pretty facade. The most impressive site is the restored Mathius church. The interior was decorated for the millennium celebration and depicts the history of Hungary. Watch for the Raven with the cold ring. He shows up everywhere. All in all we stayed several hours on the hill and ended up having a nice stroll back down to town. Originally, I had planned on visiting monument park, but the logistics required about an hour and half to get there and back. In stead we headed back into town and checked out the National Museum. The main gallery we looked at had a collection of Hungarian clothing, coins, dishes, machine guns and general trappings from the early 20th century. That evening dinner consisted of a tapas crawl. The first stop was outside at a cafe overlooking the Danube. Lisa ended up getting this Hungarian pancake that tasted remarkably like a burito. The next stop was one of the boats docked on the river for an overpriced beer and more snacks. The final was an Italian place that was in our guidebooks that served up tasty, tasty Italian fare. Getting back to the hotel was a bit of a cluster as we just kept on missing our bus connections by a couple of minutes. We, of course, ended our trip at the Belgium pub.

Phrase of the day (for Rick): kosonom I pronounced roughly "kersernerm" - means hello.


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