budapest has TWO suns.
Wednesday morning, we finally saw the sun in Budapest. I was thrilled.
me in heroes’ square
We took the metro to Hösök Tere, or Heroes’ Square. Because it was sunny, it was also a lot colder than previous days.
bertine and her serbian boyfriend in heroes’ square
Heroes’ Square was full of busloads of Japanese tourists. I took pictures of them while they took pictures of the monument. While I was doing so, Bertine wandered off and found herself a Serbian boyfriend. It was totally love at first sight. She might deny it, but I know the truth.
ice rink in city park
We walked around the city park, which was created for the Millennium Celebrations in 1896. It had a World’s-Fair feel to it. Lots of lakes and paths, reproduction architecture, and tons of art-deco.
ducks trying to keep open water
We picked up the rest of the 60 postcards at a little shop. I was just happy to be inside, warming up.
statue of anonymous
There’s something about the Statue of Anonymous that fascinates me. I later bought a really nice black-and-white photo of this to put up in my apartment.
lake heated by mineral springs near the széchenyi baths
Near the back of the park, they have a big amusement park called FunFair, and a creepy funhouse-style thing with clowns on it. In the center of the park are the Széchenyi Baths, which looked to be an even larger complex than Gellért.
We stopped at a bar for coffee (they don’t really have coffeeshops in Budapest; you can either go to a cafe, or the bars all seemed to have cappuccino), then we continued on past the Zoo. Even in the cold, vendors had little booths set up on the sidewalk. We shopped a little and headed back to the metro.
the great synagogue
We went to the Opera stop, and got really, really turned around. I headed off the wrong direction from the Jewish Quarter, and we walked several blocks. After finally finding a main street, Bertine set us straight. We walked what felt like a million more blocks in the cold until we found the Great Synagogue.
inside the great synagogue
It’s a very impressive building, with higher security than we’d seen anywhere but the airport. We toured the synagogue, then circled the block to see the holocaust memorial out back.
looking toward the chain bridge from gellért hill
i call this ‘the vagina of budapest’, and also ‘the big o’
We headed back across the river to Water Town for lunch. Because it was so cold and we’d seen pretty much all the outdoor attractions, we decided to go to the National Gallery. First we saw the rest of the churches we’d missed in the area, and rode the tram up the river. We had lunch at the Luce of Budapest again (I’m all about being a regular wherever I go), and then went back down to castle hill. This time, we took the funicular up the hill!!
looking east from the palace
The Hungarian National Gallery shares the palace with a few other museums. It took us a little while to locate the entrance. We went in the back door and were flagged down by authoritarian coat-check women. We left our stuff with them and toured the gallery.
inside the hungarian national gallery
One of the most interesting things I saw at the gallery was the collection of Gothic altarpieces. I’d never really seen anything like them before, and they sure knew how to celebrate Jesus in a spectacular way. Unfortunately, I didn’t get great photos of such. I also liked the modern art exhibits, because I always like the modern art.
Of course, we had coffee at the little cafe and used the bathroom no fewer than 12 times, because it was free. There were a few really annoying Americans there; one of them seemed confused that they didn’t take dollars. I really hope we don’t come off like that. I doubt it.
We shopped at the gift shop, where I found many awesome things I needed, as expected.
looking north from the palace
the palace (housing the hungarian national gallery)
the chain bridge at night
We once again climbed down the steep hill from the palace and took the metro back to our hotel. We wrote our 60 postcards (Bertine saved us by bringing pre-printed labels), packed our suitcases, and I reviewed the Prague travel guide. We went downstairs and had dinner at our hotel, and once again realized the inevitability of cheese. We ate so much cheese on that trip. Not that it wasn’t good. It was great.
Afterwards, we went and sat in the hotel bar for a while, just because it was really funny to hang out in the Hotel Ibis Budapest bar. I had pear brandy and Bertine had a beer. We watched a Hungarian soap opera on TV, and I interpolated (i.e., made up) what was going on. It was something involving drug lords, Fight Club, and lesbian romance. Resident Evil came on, and watching it in Magyar was entertaining for probably only 15 minutes. The movie is stupid in any language. We went back upstairs and collapsed.