If you have been following the adventures of Boo and I, you will already have seen how we spent our first two days in Budapest. Now we were planning a full day walking around the City and seeing a few more of the wonderful sights.
We started off by getting on the tube to the pedestrianised area to find somewhere for breakfast.
We happened upon a lovely little restaurant called Cicero, and sat down at their tables outside and looked through quite a substantial menu.
I decided to go with the Hungarian Scrambled Eggs, and Boo had a cheese Omelette. Now, Boo’s omelette looked like an omelette. My scrambled eggs also looked like an Omelette! It was topped with hot peppers, Hungarian bacon and sausage and onions. Absolutely gorgeous!
We then started our meanderings. We wanted to visit a lot of the monuments and churches, so headed in the direction of the Szent István Bazilika (St Stephens Basilica).
One of the places that I really wanted to go and try was the Gelarto Rose, a pretty special Ice Cream shop, and it was by the Basilica that we stumbled upon the shop.
You go in, decided on two, three or four layers and pay the corresponding price. You then take your ticket to the person behind the ice cream counter and tell him what flavours your want. Then they start making a masterpiece.
I opted for the three layers; Salted Caramel, Cherry Buckthorn and Basil Lemon. I stood and watched as my ice cream was created.
We sat outside the Basilica and ate our pretty ice creams. The flavours were sublime, and I was so glad I had chosen the ones I had.
Continuing our walk, we headed for Szovjet háborús emlékmű (Russian Monument) in Szabadsag Ter. As we were looking for it, we came across the very controversial and hated German Occupation Memorial.
Erected two years ago under cover of darkness, the memorial features an eagle (Germany) swooping down on the Angel Gabriel (Hungary). As Hungary were allies of Germany for most of the war, condemning their own people to death, many Hungarian people are horrified by this monument.
So much so, they have erected a shrine honouring the families that were killed during the Second World War. Personal mementos and photographs are attached to barbed wire, and candles are lit regularly. It really is an unusual sight, but is more honest than the large stone and metal monument.
We continued on towards Országház, the Hungarian Parliament. A truly stunning building with its design based on our Houses of Parliament. The building was so very pretty it was hard to stop taking thousands of photographs. We looked for the eternal flame, which the guide books said was based there, but we just couldn’t locate it.
The second place that I had really wanted to visit was the Cipők a Duna-parton – “Shoes on the Danube” memorial. This was erected in 2005 and commemorates 3,500 people, 800 of them Jews who were lined up on the banks of the Danube, ordered to remove their shoes and then shot. Their bodies fell into the River and were carried away.
There are 60 pairs of vintage style cast iron shoes attached to the edge of the River. Candles and ribbons have been attached to some as a mark of respect. It really is a very poignant display.
We navigated our way to the location and I felt a profound sadness looking at these shoes. Some were delicate high heels, others work boots. All of them of the period. And then I saw a tiny cast iron pair of children shoes. It literally stopped me in my tracks.
The memorial has to be one of the saddest sights I saw in Budapest, but so important.
After that, we hopped back on the bus and headed towards Hősök tere (Heroes Square) at the end of Andrassy Ut. The square is simply beautiful; There is the Millenniumi emlékmű (Millennium Moment), a large column featuring the Archangel Gabriel. The base has seven Magyar Chieftains and to the rear are two colonnades with statues depicting Kings and famous Hungarians.
The base has seven Magyar Chieftains and to the rear are two colonnades with statues depicting Kings and famous Hungarians.
After having a look around, we wandered off on foot to take a look at the Széchenyi Gyógyfürdő és Uszoda (Szechenyi Baths); a very famous spa. From the outside it looked more like a stately home, but we had been told that the inside was spectacular. We decided to book tickets for the next day and returned back to the bus.
I am sad to say the weather took a turn for the worst and the rain started to come down. We got off the bus by the main pedestrian area as we needed to go and eat something before going out again.
We found a lovely restaurant called Hungarian Hell’s Kitchen. The staff were really friendly and I decided to go with a local speciality, Chicken Paprikas with Nokedli (Noodles).
Now, I knew the noodles were not going to be anything like you get from a Chinese takeaway. These were more like tiny little dumplings. Made with flour eggs and water, a dough is formed and tiny “blobs” are made and dropped into boiling hot water.
Well, in for a penny, in for a pound? I wanted to try more of the Hungarian cuisine, so here goes. I am happy to report that I chose well; The chicken was tender and perfectly cooked, the Nokedli were amazing too. Light, fluffy and like nothing else I had ever tried before. The paprika and cream sauce was delightful and I tucked in.
I have to say, it was so filling I couldn’t manage every mouthful. But I did try!
Thankfully we had to walk back to the hotel and I did manage to work off some of my dinner, before getting ready to go back out again!
This time we were going on a night bus tour, again part of our free trips with a purchase of a one day ticket. The night tour only goes from one departure point, does the full circle and drops off at the same point.
Now, I have to be honest. We had put in quite a lot of walking over the previous two days and were shattered. It was raining and both of us were happy slouched on our beds and weren’t too keen on leaving the room.
However, we decided that we needed to shake ourselves awake and get out there! We made it to the departure point quite early (thankfully) and as we boarded the bus, had our pick of seats. We decided to sit near the front under the sheltered section.
I am happy to say I am so glad we did. The rear section had a canvas/mesh type covering which offered a little protection, however there were no windows. The rain decided to unleash it’s full power and the poor people at the back had an almost Tsunami like wave of rain soak them from head to toe.
I didn’t come away totally unscathed. The couple in front had the window slid open, and the upper deck hit a tree. The branch bent back, and on its return showered with a torrent of water; fabulous!
Even with all that, we had a great time and saw even more beautiful scenery than the day time. The lit up buildings really look even more spectacular at night.
Thankfully it had stopped raining by the end of the tour, and we walked back to the hotel for another, yes you’ve guessed it, nightcap! Oh and some Hungarian cake!
Tomorrow was our last full day, and it was Spa Day!!!