From Poprad, Slovakia we continued south. Our next stop? Budapest, Hungary!
Our bus to Budapest was one of the more lively ones we have been on as we sat next to some very chatty Finnish and Australian travelers. We enjoyed getting to know them and swapping travel stories.
Unfortunately, Budapest was the first place in our travels where we had to deal with getting sick abroad. As a result, while we had scheduled 2 full days to see the city we only were able to make it out of the hotel on one of them. That said, we still enjoyed our day of wandering the city and seeing the sights.
The Run Down:
- House of Terror Museum – The terror museum chronicles the hard times that the country had to endure under 2 separate regimes; the Arrow Cross Party (Hungarian, Nazi loyalists), and the Soviet occupation after WWII. One of the phrases that stuck with us from the the museum was that “while the uniforms may have changed, the terror remained the same”.
- Fisherman’s Bastion – The Fisherman’s Bastion was a stretch of city during the middle ages that the Fisherman’s Guild was responsible for defending. It was almost entirely destroyed during WWII, and rebuilt shortly thereafter. However, now it only serves as a scenic square filled with shops, restaurants, a cathedral, and countless tourists looking to get a perfect view of the city. The view really was one of the best in the city!
- Shoes on the Danube – The Shoes on the Danube was certainly one of the more unusual pieces of art that we have seen during our travels, but the point they make leaves a lasting impression. This memorial is to honor a number of victims murdered by the Arrow Cross Party during WWII; the victims were ordered to remove their shoes, and shortly thereafter shot along the edge of the Danube river.
- Parliament – The Hungarian Parliament was a truly impressive building! It towers over all the other structures in downtown Budapest.
- Metro – Budapest has the oldest underground railway system on the European continent. The age was readily apparent to us as many of the cars had various rust spots, the doors SLAMMED shut unlike more modern trains, and the overall ride was a bit bumpier than the norm. The oldest of the train lines was right beside our hotel and dated back to the late 1800s. We were amazed at how shallowly it was buried (only a few feet) and how we could often feel the ground vibrate underfoot as subways came by.
- Baths – The massive public baths of Budapest are probably the most iconic tourist attraction in the city. Hot thermal springs supply the baths with warm water year-round. Given that we were vising during 90+ degree weather, these did not seem too enticing to us so we opted to visit, but not go in.
- Other Sites We Snapped a Photo of, but kept moving – We also briefly stopped by the Dohany Street Synagogue, St. Stephens Cathedral, Royal Palace, Opera House, and Chain Bridge. All of these sites are at least somewhat famous, but given our abbreviated time we opted to just take a photo and keep going.