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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Feltárása Budapest

October 14, 2013

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 photo 096_zps79c1ce1e.jpg Michael & Kathy

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Feltárása Budapest

Wondering Budapest, like most large diverse and interesting major metropolitan areas holds a number of interesting experiences. It is the capital and largest city in Hungary with a population of slightly under 2 million people, it has a rich history and holds its own with any of the major cities of Europe. The city is full of wonderous marvels from a tourist perspective and includes a huge list of World Heritage sites including the banks of the Danube River , the Buda Castle District, Andrassy Avenue, Heroes Square and the underground railway system.

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We obviously had a lot of ground to cover and we wanted to see as much as we possibly could in the time we had, especially since my sister Michele and Kathy had not previously been to Budapest. It is truly a beautiful city and full of wonderful and funky contradictions. It has a plethora of incredible, beautiful historic buildings, but at the same time has all the interesting street art, street food, captivating markets and other more modern things.

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There is a lot to see including some  amazing buildings, the city is home to the largest synagogue in Europe , and second largest working in the World. The synagogue is located in the Jewish district taking up several blocks in central Budapest. It managed to survive the intense bombing raids during WWII by US and British forces that destroyed many of the cities structures.

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Another building that survived is the incredible Opera House which one of the many attractions of the famed Andrassy Avenue. This Avenue is an elegant 2.5 km (2 mi) long tree-lined street that covers the distance from Deák Ferenc tér to the Heroes Square. On this Avenue overlook many important sites. It is a UNESCO heritage site. As far as Kodály Körönd and Oktogon, both sides are lined with large shops and flats built close together. Between there and Heroes Square the houses are detached and altogether grander.

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Under the street runs continental Europe's oldest Underground railway, most of whose stations retain their original appearance. Heroes' Square is dominated by the Millenary Monument, with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front. To the sides are the Museum of Fine Arts  and the Kunsthalle Budapest, and behind City Park opens out, with Vajdahunyad Castle.

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 photo 031_zpse07340fd.jpg Michele & Kathy

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Also on Andrassy Avenue is the infamous Terror House which was the home of both the Nazi and later Communist secret police and served as a prison and where thousands of Hungarians were imprisoned, tortured and killed during those regimes. The entire place has been turned into a moving, incredible museum that is at once heartwrenching and unforgettable and should be a must visit stop on any Budapest itinerary.

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Near Heroes Square is the luxurious and beautiful Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool. After a visit to the Terror House, Michele, Kathy and I needed a little relaxation and visited the massive bath house for a Fish Spa treatment, which was Michele’s first experience with the fish that nibble dead skin from your feet. It was fun and very relaxing.

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After our fish spa treatments, we headed over to the nearby Gundel’s restaurant where we met my mother Marta and treated her to a delightful lunch at what is no doubt one of the finest restaurants in Hungary – the elegant and award winning Gundel’s. Opened in 1894 and operating continuously since, Gundel’s has served many of the elite of both Hungarian and International distinction. Photos in the elegant lobby show everyone from the Pope, to Queen Elizabeth to World leaders including US Presidents and even 
Hollywood film stars who have dined there. 

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 photo 108_zpsd38d4757.jpg Marta

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