it was amazing, floating on the danube! the views of the many bridges from the deck were out of this world. saturday nite i went up and had an espresso and dessert, a traditional hungarian cake with a vanilla nutmeg sauce, and watched the sun set. it was so nice to sit and relax, read a book and listen to the slight movement of the water. i would definitely recommend the BOTEL FORTUNA, it has minimal decorations but who cares, you're there to see budapest not the inside of your "botel". the included breakfast is perfect. the "continental breakfasts" you get in the states are and have always been shite. they need to take a lesson from the europeans. in every hotel i have stayed thus far the spread was enormous. fresh fruit, scrambled and hardboiled eggs, fresh sausage and bacon, yogurt, juice, and much, much more! the BOTEL was the perfect place to launch off our adventures of budapest!
while strolling around we stumbled upon a french/hungarian wine and food festival. i don't know the exact cause or reason because i can't read hungarian but the wine and cheese and yummy goodness around every corner was great!! the chain bridge was really the only place that we saw a huge mob of people otherwise budapest was pretty chillaxed. the grilled kabobs and savory paprika potatoes were great after the long trek down from the castle.
budapest was glorious. so very different from prague. a bit more spread out, and for being a weekend i was surprised at how not crowded it was. there were many adventures to be had in the two short days that rachael and i were there.
above is the FISHERMAN'S BASTION and a view of PARLIAMENT from BUDA CASTLE. the view from the castle were staggering and the photos do them little justice.
the statue in front of the castle is spectacular, it depicts king matyas with a dead stag and his hunting dogs. just to the side is a woman who looks completely in despair. the legend says that one day while hunting he met a maiden in the country side and fell in love. he concealed his identity from her and only after did they return to the castle did she realize that she was to be married to the king. the mosaic is situated at the bottom of the hill where you take the funicular to the castle. it depicts the royal crest of the hungarian empire.
THE FISHERMAN'S BATION was built to celebrate the millennium (the turn into the 20th century) it was used as the fisherman's market for many years. the bridge is the famous cross bridge and also the spot of the spontaneous French/Hungarian wine festival!! free flowing wine and cheese from france and hungary? count me in, it was a lovely saturday!!
the sprawling building with the green roof is the BUDA CASTLE. it was so beautiful up there, removed and quiet, with gorgeous gardens that brought me back to reading THE SECRET GARDEN as a young girl. mom, i would have loved to walk with you throughout them :-)
i had to snap a shot of the BURG HOTEL. that one's for you cami ;-)
the church on the right is still in use. the roofing on the older buildings is magnificent, they look like small mosaics, and are mostly constructed out of wood and tile, their brilliant contrasting colors brighten up an other wise typical church. the church on the left has been turn into one of the biggest discos in budapest, it was crazy!!
so, while looking for a yummy place to eat racheal asked if we could try this mexican place we had passed earlier in the day. i was skeptical but i said why not. oh my goodness, some of the best i have had, it helps that the owner is from central mexico. it was so wonderful not to eat a meat or potato swimming with bread. a wonderful day without any gluten!!! tacos pastor, conchinita pibil sope, and chicken tostada....mmmmm.
my favorite part of the wandering was going to the NEW YORK PALACE. yipppppppeeeee, normal coffee, done correctly. this place was unspeakably grand! i started with a campari and soda and moved on to chocolate mousse cake that had a white chocolate cello adorning it and a double espresso. yup, heaven, i could have stayed all nite. if i ever win the lotto or come into a ridiculous amount of money, i will be staying at the PALACE.
the food in budapest was much better than in prague. in the huge CENTRAL MARKET on the second floor there are food vendors everywhere. rachael and i had to try the langos. langos is deep fried bread topped with spiced sourcream and cheese with hungarian salami, it was like savory funnel cake!!!!! then later after shopping and walking around we had lunch. i got the traditional stuffed cabbage, not as good as my mom's but yummy nonetheless.
lastly as we walked around i noticed that budapest had some of the best graffiti i have seen, it was more art than vandalism. there were murals everywhere in the subways and on the sides of abandoned buildings, i appreciated that the artists did not paint on more historical buildings.
i love budapest. the people were marvelous and friendly and the views were magical! i will be back and i plan on stocking up on salami, leather goods, and paprika!!
or is it pest then buda? doesn't matter, look out danube i will be seducing you tomorrow night!
i am so excited. i have been in prague for holiday since the middle of june and am going to budapest this weekend!! big open air market with everything you could ever desire...here i come. i can't wait to explore the beautiful architecture, the wondrous art, the magnificent cuisine, and thank god, i finally get to have some honest to goodness REAL COFFEE. for some reason all the czech's drink is the instant kind...craziness. however they have the market cornered on beer! hope everyone is well out there in the universe. see ya in a couple of days!
as i walked to the tram the other day i came up the stairs from the rose garden and noticed quite a heavy police presence. i had stumbled upon a protest. surreal. twenty years ago a protest would have been met with police in full riot gear doing "what had to be done", especially if the protest was about free speech and police oppression. i won't write much else, i will let the photos speak for themselves. i did ask someone what the signs were saying. in very well thought out english i was told... the gist was freedom of speech, allowing others who are different in the eyes of the norms to be left alone to live their lives, and that no one should be a slave to their government. well said.
hi folks. welcome back. this post centers around relaxation! a couple of weekends ago i headed to karlovy vary (KV) and mairanske lazne (ML), two of the famous spa towns in the czech republic. these towns are famous for their healing springs. the water coming from the springs is not the most appetizing but it seems to work. people have been coming here for centuries to cure all different types of ailments. the springs in marianske lazne are particularly good for renal and bladder problems. while the springs at karlovy vary heal many problems within the digestive system. the springs in KV reached temputures of 80 celcius. craziness, and the ones you could drink from were, well, you could taste the iron, i imagine that vampires would like the taste ;-) hee hee
i liked the springs at ML much better as they were cool and had a more floral aroma. however the doctor that we spoke with said if the springs do not taste could to you it is because the minerals in them are what your body is deficient in, makes sense that i wouldn't like the ones at KV since my digestive system is pretty shitty.
anyway it gorgeous here. a little touristy but still removed enough from the city to contain all of its charm. my favorite thing besides the actual spa, which i will delve into in a moment, was watching all the cute old couples walking in the gardens holding hands. aahhh, love at any age!
ok, the nitty gritty...the spas. WOW. just the right amount of heat in the pools. the mineral and fresh water therapy was amazing. there was this contraption in one of the whirpools that "massaged" your back as you stood under it. really the water beat you up, but i will say it ranks up there with one of the best massages ever.
the vitamin D & K lamps were great as i hadn't seen the sun in over 10 days! it was wonderful to switch between the warm whirpools and the cool still pools and then lie under the warm lamps. hhhmmmm...heaven.
well, i think you get the picture. oh, how could i forget...the famous HOTEL PUPP is in karlovy vary, it is where all the fancy rich people stay when they come to reap the benefits of the magical waters.