Greetings! And welcome back to my little nook of randomness. I apologize for last week, I somehow got logged out of my blog, and it is basically a nightmare! All is well now and here we go. So grab a cup of coffee and read on….
I am constantly researching, collecting notes from my travel groups, reading, etc about trips to faraway places, so that when I DO get to hop on a plane, I’m already somewhat familiar with the place I’m venturing to. I love to go to places for the first time, and for this trip? It was Budapest and Prague.
Why those two places you ask? No truly romantic or poetic response to that question. I just wanted to go somewhere. (Besides, a bucket list thing that I just HAD to see………. The Shoes…..) Didn’t have a boatload of money, and it was cheap! I had this planned for a few months and planned to go by myself, but sister had great interest so she came along with. I had zero idea what to expect. We went in late October so it was the very tail end of fall, so the weather would be chilly but not cold. In a word? Perfect. For this week, I will be sharing with you the wonderfully unique city of Budapest, Hungary.
After an uneventful, but very pleasant long Haul flight straight through from Phoenix Arizona to Budapest, Hungary with a short stop in Zurich, Switzerland, we landed safely. We had a spare seat in the middle of us so it was very comfy. Sister caught up on every movie imaginable and I read and wrote. No complaints. I personally love long haul flights. There is just something magical to me about getting on a plane, and getting off in a faraway land.
The first things that were truly different was every sign you came across, very unique and impossible to pronounce. Every word looked like it had too many consonants in it! The second was the money. We got both Hungarian Forint and Czech Crowns since we would be making our way to Prague as well on the trip.
We settled into our hotel. Small and simple but very comfortable with twin beds and everything you need. It felt like a little girl sleepover! The first day after an amazing European breakfast, we went right outside of our hotel and started walking. Little did we know we were right around the corner from Heroes Square. The architecture of just a normal city road was something to behold. Ornate at times, rigid at others, but all fascinating. As always, with anything Europe, you can literally smell the history. Here are a few from our walk there and the square with all of the beautiful statues etc.
During the few days we were fortunate enough to stay and explore this beautiful city I was amazed at the years and the history. It was truly different. The city was clean and somewhat organized. Actually it is two cities separated by the river and bridges. One side is Buda, the other side is Pest. Hence; Budapest.
We didn’t speak the language but had very few problems finding anything or getting around. Although we didn’t understand many things on any given menu…..there was endless supply of the countries mainstay dish. Goulash! And yes I ate it every chance I could get. Each time it was a little different, but every time it was absolutely delicious!
We managed to get to an elevation to truly see the city. It was a little overcast, and sprinkled rain, but the view literally took your breath away. The colors looked like it was straight out of a painting. You had the subtle blues and grays of the sky framed with the brilliant oranges of fall. The air was crisp. I think we stood there for a long time just taking it all in.
One thing about Budapest, is that there seemed to be a surprise around every corner. You just never knew what you were going to see.
Churches were ornate and bathed in years. The architecture was extreme, the details were endless, the following photos certainly do not do these places justice. There seemed to be a combination of buildings cloaked in deep history, coupled with a newer modern age as well. The ghosts of Communism always lingered.
I was mesmerized by things as simple as a “normal” window or a doorway.
Somehow and some way along our travels we managed to cross a border into Slovakia! Another country crossed off the list! Hungary and Slovakia are separated by a river, and this is how we magically got to get a small taste of another country. No passport stamp though! Boo!
Sometimes, the most profound moments are experienced in a simple surrounding. Perhaps something or somewhere, that few would notice more than a photo op or a “what is this all about”. But I remember reading about this very simple memorial in Budapest, Hungary some years ago and put it on my lengthy list of “have to see’s”.
I have always been borderline obsessed with WWII and the Holocaust. I’ve read many books, seen films, etc. I’m not sure why. It is always an emotional journey for me, not understanding the whole concept of attempting to literally eradicate an entire population of people. I still struggle with it. I have been told I’m a “severe empath” and I seem to be drawn to those moments in history. And those places. And I was certainly drawn here.
The Shoes on the Danube Bank is a memorial in Budapest that was conceived by film director Can Today. He created it on the east bank of the Danube River with sculptor Gyula Pauer to honor the people who were killed by Militiamen during WWII. The men, women, and children were lined up on the side of the river bank, ordered to take off their shoes and face the river, shot in the back so they would fall into the water.
The memorial isn’t big. Isn’t flashy. And honestly? Not easy to find. It is a quiet small place on the river edge, and easily missed. It was a dichotomy of sadness and beauty. Of silence and of screaming. I found my shoes. This one thing, made this entire trip worth taking to me.
Budapest and surrounding areas are truly fascinating. The colors. The choices in architecture, the random things and wares for sale. I could have walked those streets endlessly!
What will I take away from my few days in this foreign city? There are a few things that will stay with me. First, of course, is the shoes! Loved the goulash. The money was confusing at first but once you grabbed ahold of the exchange rate ($10 US = 2800 Forint) we could figure it out. At first glance the numbers were overwhelming. In Budapest there didn’t seem to be much respect for personal space, that was very clear! I got used to being very close to people I didn’t know. The prices (after figuring out above) were very inexpensive. Weather was mild even in late October. There was reasonable English and people were friendly once spoken to. Paprika is the countries pride and major export, so you can find it everywhere. Didn’t realized there were so many variations of Paprika! Always something beautiful to look at! City transport was decent and wonderful city to walk in. And spending an adventure like this with my sister was something I will tuck away in my heart forever. Too many laughs to count!
Would I go back?
In a heartbeat!
I hope you enjoyed my story from Budapest. Please leave a comment or a “like” so I can know you stopped by. And any comments on the photography is very welcomed as I am always trying to improve. And any subjects you are particularly interested in let me know and I will create a blog post about it!
I truly thank you for spending your moments with me!
Until next time………as always……..be kind.