Wow, the week in Budapest is flying by. I can’t believe tomorrow is our last day here. There’s so much that we still haven’t seen and done, and we only have one more day to fit in as much as we can!
We started off today with a hearty breakfast at Gerbaud. I couldn’t believe how much food was on the plate – cream cheese, jam, two kinds of cheeses (Brie & Swiss I think), ham, salami, fruit, a veggie skewer, and FOUR kinds of buns carbs – croissant, roll, apple danish, and a cookie. OMG, too much food! We wrapped up the cookies and a bun with cream cheese & jam for later. Forgot to take pics of the food (as usual), but here are some pics on the interior of Gerbaud:
After breakfast, we went on a walking tour. It was cool, because we saw a lot of things that we hadn’t seen before, and we learned a lot about Hungary and how to be a smart tourist here (too late for us, we’ve already fallen into the tourist traps!) We started the tour in the Christmas Market in Pest, and ended the tour in the caves in the Castle District in Buda. Finally managed to get a picture of St. Stephen’s Basilica in daylight AND with a blue sky!
St. Stephen was the first Christian king of Hungary about 1,000 years ago. His right hand is on display in the Basilica. You can pay to see it – the light above the box that the hand is in turns on for two minutes when you put your money in the box. Or, our tour guide suggested waiting until someone else pays to see it, and take a look before the two minutes are up!
Our tour guide told us that rubbing various statues around the city will make certain good things to happen to you. You can tell which part of the statue to rub by looking for the part of the statue that’s shiny. This statue is called Kiskiralylany (The Little Princess) – although the model for the statue was the artist’s son, which is why she looks a lot like a he! You make a wish while you rub her knees, and your wish will come true. So of course, I HAD to make a wish and rub her knees :-)
This funny man has a shiny tummy – rubbing his tummy is supposed to bring you good food. Yep, I rubbed him too – we had a lot of food today, and it was all good. But maybe not so good for you! You’ll see why later!
I showed you part of this statue yesterday. It was on the tour today, and our tour guide asked us to find the shiny part on it. Can you find it? Look really closely…
Did you find it? It’s the horse’s balls!
Students rub the balls for good grades on exams, and anyone can rub them for good luck in bed. No, I didn’t rub this one!
This is the Love Lock Fence. You engrave or somehow write the initials of you and your loved one on the lock, attach it to the fence, and then throw the key into the Danube. This will make sure that you stay together forever (although you might want to keep a spare key, just in case!)
Today we walked up to the Castle District on the Buda side – no funicular for you! First we walked up a long hill, and then we walked up stairs…
And more stairs…
And then even more stairs! Whew, that’s a lot of stairs!
A couple more pics of Matyas Church with a clear sky…
Even though we had blue skies today, the view across the Danube was still foggy. Oh well, what can you do? But I want to show you this picture – see the Parliament building dome on the left and the Basilica dome on the right? Which one do you think is taller?
Neither, they’re the exact same height! When they were both built in 1896, it was decided that the domes would both be 96m high, to show that both the government and the church have equal power over the land.
Our tour ended in the caves under the Castle District. After 6:00PM, the lights are turned off and you tour the caves with lanterns.
After the tour, we made a quick stop at the hotel and then walked to the Central Market Hall. It’s a huge building with vendors selling food (mostly meats, fruits & veggies, and paprika) on the first floor, and Hungarian folk items and souvenirs on the second floor.
It was kind of dark and cold in the building today, but I’m sure it’s a great place to check out on a warm & sunny day. I bought a few Christmas decorations and a really cool purple & turquoise handmade pottery mug. Which proceeded to get dropped on the floor when we were buying paprika and smashed into little pieces. And it wasn’t me doing the dropping! We went back upstairs to get another mug, but that was the only purple & turquoise one. I ended up with a purple & green one instead. Which is nice, but it isn’t purple & turquoise!
I’d read and heard a lot about langos, which is a traditional Hungarian food. Basically, it’s like a pizza crust that’s deep fried and covered with your choice of toppings. I went with sour cream, cheese, ham, and onions. OMG, too much food again! I had to remove a lot of the toppings, it was just overkill. I remembered to take a picture this time! After eating half of it, but still… ;-)
We also bought some clementines and a lemon at the market hall. I felt a need for fruit after all that grease! And we had a plan for the lemon…
Seeing as today was the last day for the Christmas Market, we decided we had to get one last kurtoskalacs (click here to check out a web site with good pics and a snippet of the pronunciation).
We picked one up, along with a sausage. How’s that for a healthy supper? ;-)
This is where the lemon comes in – remember I mentioned that kurtoskalacs sort of remind me of Beavertails? And that I thought a cinnamon & sugar kurtoskalacs with lemon juice would be a lot like a Killaloe Sunrise Beavertail? Ah-ha!
I call this a Kurtoskalacs Sunrise ;-)
And the verdict? YUM-MY! Seriously, I think I’m onto something here,., I just need to convince the kurtoskalacs makers to start squeezing lemon juice onto their kurtoskalacs, and I’ll make a fortune! Or not! ;-)
Between breakfast and the langos and the kurtoskalacs, we decided to postpone our dinner at Menza till tomorrow, and headed out for a hot chocolate around 9:00PM instead. We went to the Mirror Cafe at the Astoria hotel. With the opulent chandeliers and decor and Louis Armsrtong and old jazz tunes playing in the background, I could envision these well-dressed men and women back in the 1920s lounging about the cafe, looking fabulous and elegant.
Image via Hotel Telnet
Tomorrow morning we’re doing a Segway tour, and then we’ll do some final exploring in the afternoon. We’ll wrap up the day with dinner at Menza, and then it’ll be back to the hotel to pack and get ready for the trip home. A week ago, I was nervous and kind of unsure about coming to Budapest. And now I don’t want to leave!
Not sure if I’ll have time to write another post tomorrow, and for sure I won’t on Friday. But I’ll let you know about our final day here as soon as I have a chance. Till then…
In the hallway at the Kapital Inn