Saturday, September 02, 2017

Central Europe: Day 1 (Budapest)

Get ready for another set of travel photos! Dave and I took a trip to Budapest, Vienna, Prague, and Berlin in September. As usual, I'm back-dating them and posting from home so that I've had more time to chew on the experience.

On Friday, September 1, we flew from Chicago to Berlin overnight, then from Berlin to Budapest the next morning. We flew on Air Berlin (more on that later) and were very happy with the experience. We got free toothbrushes and other stuff with the flight, and the movies and food were good.

We stayed at the Baltazár Budapest, an adorable little hotel in the Castle District. The menu looked pretty good, so we decided to have lunch there. They had some traditional Hungarian dishes; I had chicken paprikash with a cucumber salad, and Dave had a duck leg.

I wanted to stop by a yarn shop, but it was closed. Apparently a lot of shops are closed in Budapest on the weekends. Oh well! That was our only taxi ride of the whole trip, though. From then on, all public transportation and our own legs carrying us.

Our first stop was Heroes' Square, which, per Wikipedia, was constructed "to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin," as well as the founding of the Hungarian state in 1896. It's a UNESCO heritage site! We didn't linger long because the weather looked ominous, but it was a beautiful, expansive square.

The next stop was the Hall of Art, which was actually mostly closed for renovations and the installation of some new exhibits. They did have a cute exhibit on coffee / tea serving sets throughout the 20th century, including some fabulous art deco pieces like this:

We meandered over to the city park, and there happened to be a Hungarian culture festival going on! I hadn't been sure how we would fill our afternoon until dinner, but ohhh did we.

Here are some piles of the most delicious marzipan I have ever tasted:

My favorite was the cinnamon-quince one, but Dave was into the Nutella variety.

Down a ways from the food vendors was a stage with showing Hungarian music and dances. There was a group of the cutest old ladies ever, in traditional Hungarian folk outfits.

We also saw a dance, sort of a square dance. At that point, we decided to walk around the park some more, where we could see beer vendors, other music venues setting up, and kids playing sports. The park is obviously very well loved and used.

We headed back to the festival area just in time to catch an absolutely AMAZING modern folk band called Góbé zenekar. We were absolutely blown away, and I'm still fairly obsessed with them. 

Each dude plays like three different instruments, and the music is just catchy and beautiful. It was one of the best live bands I've ever seen. The group has such energy and loves what they do.

It started raining on us just as Góbé was finishing, so we decided to arrive a bit early for our dinner reservation at Robinson, a beautiful glassy restaurant in the park on a pond. I had perch with sausage and butternut squash, and Dave had cod with potatoes. Both of us had Hungarian wines, which are delicious.

We were getting SUPER tired at that point, so we decided to call it a night rather than go to the drinks reservation I had made. We took the subway down to the river, then walked over the bridge and back to the hotel.

Sorry for the blurry photo of the lovely Chain Bridge, but I guess this was as good as it got for my phone. It was a beautiful night - we headed to bed very very early so that we could sleep off our jet lag the next day.

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