Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Budapest & Prague

     I took a bus from Vienna to Budapest and arrived before noon. The day was overcast and spitting rain but the hostel was warm and I was recommended a restaurant a few doors down that had authentic Hungarian food. After Vienna, I was definitely hungry for a good meal. I ordered the chicken goulash and was extremely pleased with the result. Four euro in Budapest goes a lot further than in Vienna.

(Chicken Goulash) 

     Afterwards, stopped by St. Stephen's Basilica, which was okay, and then I crossed Chain Bridge and walked up to Buda castle on the other side of the river. There were very nice views of the famous Parliament building (the biggest in Continental Europe). 

(Budapest's Parliament Building)

     I walked around the old town for a while in the cold, light rain and then was ready for another meal. 

This time I had some good old goulash, which was steaming and spicy, just what I needed to brave the cold again. 

(Hungarian Goulash)

     Warmed up, I took a stroll to the largest synagogue in Europe. I would've liked to go inside, but I got there as services were finishing instead of beginning. So I walked back to the hostel and then took the long walk to the Szechenyi Baths, one of the famous Turkish baths in Budapest. On my way I saw some nice statues and a nice ice rink backdropped by a nearly full moon. 

When I arrived at the baths I was pretty cold, and looking forward to the hot water. The baths are outside and made for a freezing walk to the pool. When I got in I was a little disappointed with the temperature. It was hot, sure, but not really hot. Nothing close to the natural hot springs in the mountains of New Mexico, and the number of people with whom I was sharing the water was a bit off-putting. You just know there is a lot more than water in that water. Nevertheless, it was relaxing. 

(Szechenyi Baths)

After around two hours, I headed back to the hostel and in the morning took a long bus ride to Prague. The bus arrived at sunset and I went to the hostel and then walked around old town for a while. I went to a recommended restaurant that I was told had good, reasonably priced Czech food. I tried to order the three dishes the receptionist had told me to try, but the restaurant didn't have any of them, and the waiter just said, "I will bring you something good. Do you like meat?"

It was very tasty and filling. So much so that I returned the next night with a friend I met up with from the Spanish class I'm taking. 

(Too many moon pictures? Prague)

     In the morning I walked around and then met up with my Spanish class friend and his friend. We went to Prague Castle, which dates back to the 9th century, although it has been largely modified and rebuilt along the way. It had great views of the city below, and a pretty good looking church. 

(A View From Prague Castle)
     Later, we went to the cafe frequented by the likes of Einstein and Kafka. It was as expected, surely devoid of any of its originality (in part due to its closure for almost 45 years), yet pleasant enough. I got a great hot chocolate with vanilla ice cream. 
     The rest of the day mostly consisted of walking around and eating dinner. The city was pretty but was unbelievably touristy because it was the end of the year and Prague is known as being one of the best places to celebrate New Year's Eve. I, however, would be flying back to Madrid to celebrate in the Time's Square of Spain, Puerta del Sol. But that is a story for another post. I had a very nice time on my holiday, despite Katie's not being able to accompany me. But no matter, she arrived New Year's day, and is here to stay! Stay tuned for my next post: The Saga of Katie and The Missing Visa.

(A Car On A Street In Prague)

1 comment:

  1. Honey, I love your photos!! I am still laughing about the food you enjoyed, and the photos of your dining experiences are perfect. The moon photos - wonderful, and never too many! Nice framing with icy-branches and statues. And the car - wow !