Michael & Kathy
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Michele & Kathy
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.
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.
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.