06.02.2015 - 08.02.2015
Off to Budapest! After a quick three hour bus ride we were in Hungary! We made a quick and easy journey to our hostel-or should I say, party hostel- and settled ourselves in. After dinner at Hungary’s version of Chipotle and some half price margaritas, we headed up to the Citadell. The top of the Citadell houses a statue of a woman holding a palm branch. This wasn’t always the case though. Until a few years back she was holding a red star to symbolize communism. She was veiled for a while and after the unveiling, she held the palm branch. The Citadell is a high point in the city and it was a gorgeous place to be at night. We got gorgeous views of the city all lit up.
After exploring, we headed back to our hostel to meet up with everyone for the Pub Crawl. We went to and explored four different ruins bars. These buildings were bombed during WWII and declared by the city that the structures couldn’t be changed so they were turned into bars. It was a very cool night!
Our morning started with breakfast at the world’s nicest McDonalds! It was two stories and was definitely nice. After breakfast, I split off from the group going caving and explored the city on my own. I headed first to go see the Parliament building. Budapest’s Parliament building is modeled after London’s and is the third nicest in the world. From Parliament I headed to see the Jewish Shoes Memorial. This was an absolutely breathtaking memorial. The shoes that line the Danube have ribbons and flowers to honor the Jews who lost their lives there. During the Holocaust the Jews were brought there to be executed by being shot into the river. I didn’t realize how involved Hungary was with WWII until I got there.
After seeing the shoes I started heading back into the center of town. I passed the Opera house and also saw St. Stephan’s Basilica. I headed inside of the Basilica and was amazed. It was one of the most gorgeous churches I’ve ever seen.
I then headed towards the Terror House Museum. The building housing this museum was Nazi headquarters in WWII. After the Holocaust, the building was transformed into a Holocaust museum. The whole museum was unreal. The walls were often lines with survivors giving testimonials about the things that they experienced and saw. The offices of the officials were still kept the way that they were when they were in use. The basement of the museum hit me the hardest. This is where the chambers were, and still are. It sent chills down my spine to see the rooms and tools that killed so many during the war. It is definitely a museum that I would recommend experiencing.
After the museum and my tour of the day, I headed to a restaurant called Bors, which served typical Hungarian soups and sandwiches.
My last day in Budapest! Also my most tired day in Budapest. The problem with hostel rooms that house ten people is that you’re bound to get stuck with a snorer in the room. I managed to get stuck with three. That all sounded different. All. Night.
I spent today solo as well and headed up to see Heroes Square and City Park. After walking around for a few hours in the morning and seeing the Vajdahunyad Castle, I headed to a Starbucks to relax with a very large cup of coffee before heading to the bus stop to get home to Vienna. After four very busy travel days I was definitely ready to get back to my dorm and relax!