Budapest Day Trip
We're on the train to Brno as I write this. It's a short trip from Vienna, so this will be a relatively short post. Also, I apologize in advance for this page loading slowly. It has a lot of relatively high resolution photos on it.
We arrived in Budapest not knowing at all what to expect. When we exited the train station, we unknowingly went out the back way and, frankly, our initial impression was not a great one. We stepped out into an area that still felt like Cold War era Eastern Europe: buildings with uniform architecture, dull colors, and dirty.
We managed to get local currency from an ATM and to purchase a day pass so our family could use the metro and busses, etc. We went underground and took the metro a number of stops toward the Danube river where we had mapped out a few sights the night before. We came up from the subway and were blown away. The view was totally different than what we had seen out of the "wrong" door of the train station! [Note: when we returned to the train station, we learned that there was a much less sketchy entrance and exit!]
One of the more sobering Holocaust memorials I've seen was located along the river; it's called (in English) "Shoes along the Danube." As we considered it, I noticed that Hagan had found a pair of shoes that were child-sized. He stared at them for a while. I could tell that he was moved by it, though he wouldn't say much about it. Here's a photo:
We then crossed the chain bridge and found a place to eat. The restaurant had the feel of a mom-and-pop shop. I had beef stew with dumplings. Hagan had chicken with dumplings, Celeste ate goulash, and Sydney had a Greek salad. Great food—comfort food.
Then we climbed and climbed stairs to the top of what they call castle hill and the views were breathtaking. I think I will just post a few photos here for you to see it rather than trying to describe what we saw.
All in all, we enjoyed our time in Budapest, and we would consider visiting again now that we know how to get around the city. If you have opportunity to go there, don't pass it up.