Budapest was every bit as gothic and interesting as I hoped.
The photo above is of me at Fisherman’s Bastion overlooking the Danube River and Parliament.
Scenery Everywhere I turned, the buildings were striking. Not all of them were hundreds of years old but they committed to the style and everything matches that age. Budapest celebrated it’s 1,000 year birthday (of the city being founded) in 1894. For the occasion, they built up much of the Pest side of the city and made Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side - to overlook their work. Inside and outside of nearly every place I saw was intricate and thoughtful. The picture below is an example of the many buildings that weren’t attractions but just looked cool.
Parliament at night
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Interior of St. Matthias’ Church
Food I will not say that I loved the Goulash, because I didn’t. When your preferred spice is paprika, things probably aren’t going to be that flavorful. However, I did find some tasty treats! My first night my hotel sent me to a place right on the corner from us. I had a pasta dish with cottage cheese and some kind of fish on top that was amazingly delicious. I didn’t know it was cottage cheese until after I ate it (good thing) but now am tempted to eat that stuff more often.
The next day I luckily stumbled upon a fair of some sort and discovered Langos. It’s a traditional Hungarian fare of fried bread topped with sour cream and shredded cheese then sprinkled with garlic sauce. It was so good.
I also found what we should be eating instead of churros: a long piece of dough wound around a metal spool and toasted over a spit then season with your choice of flavors. I went cinnamon on recommendation from the baker. Just learned the name of these: Kürtőskalács. Delicious!
Langos (pronounced Lane-goesh)
Shopping Through some research I found a shop where all goods are handmade and designed by local artists, Eventuell Gallery. The owner happened to be the and she was so interesting (as well as talented). I got some beautiful goods, like 2 unique scarves and hand woven curtains. She shared with me a book that listed local designers which led me to a hat shop, V50, as well.
In addition to these fun specialty items, Hungary is known for hand made and hand stitched clothes and linens. I got some great presents at the store near St. Matthias’ Church. Porcelain is another local good, but just not practical for travelers (although very beautiful).
The Central Market Hall (Hungarian “Nagycsarnok”) is how I imagine marketplaces were a long, long time ago. The food was on the first level and clothes and other goods on the second. I’m not normally a big shopper but this city made it fun, that’s for sure.
Souvenir shop (actually across from the store recommended to me)
Central Market Hall
Sites The Hungarian State Opera was my favorite. I saw two performances at the medium sized theater. It was generously detailed with gold paint and statues. The shows were fantastic, the intermission hangout and patio on the third floor was beautiful, and even the subway stops were the nicest I’ve ever seen.
I was very moved by the synagogue and especially the Holocaust memorial, which is a stainless steel weeping willow with a name of a lost person engraved on each leaf.
The City Center, where Heroes Plaza, the mineral baths, and two major museums are located, is a great spot and could have been an entire day for me. Hungary has endured a complicated and ever changing history. All the takeovers left their imprints on the culture, language, and food. The details of this history are succinctly captured in Heroes Plaza in quite an honest way.
Hungarian State Opera
Everywhere I walked I saw something that awed me. It is an enchanting city. I enjoyed visiting when wool coats and scarves are required. It just seems appropriate. A friend pointed out somehow they make the buildings more detailed and vibrant at night. I could have spent much more time exploring and recommend anyone to visit.
Hotel Gellért and Liberty Bridge