Budapest Day 2 – walking through Pest
The morning starts mellow. I woke up early and had some coffee. Then I decide on my direction for the day and take off. The city is waking up, coffee places and restaurants are opening. I am headed to the Great Market Hall (Nagy Vasarcsarnok), which is one of the largest market halls in Europe. I love markets and visiting them. You get to experience the location you are in so well, the produce, the things people buy, the community, try some quick food on the run.
Budapest has some amazing architecture. The place is rather beautiful and pretty well kept, unlike a lot of Eastern Europe or at least from what I have seen.
The market hall looks impressive. I cant wait to explore. A lot of people are coming and going, so looks promising as well.
The place is huge. There are two stories of it and its chock a block full of goods – fresh produce, heaps of cold meats and cheeses, baked goods, paprika to fill your whole house of all kinds…
Traditional Hungarian souvenirs and other touristy stuff. They are all wonderful looking and fun. I will definitely be getting some. There are some adorable dolls that would not go astray with the girls.
As I make my way up the stairs I start to smell something delicious! Sourcraut! I love the stuff and the smell sends me in culinary tachycardia. Then I spot it! The place is full of yummy goodness and its just waiting for me. I start to look at all the goodies on offer and try to plan an attack. What to choose? The lady behind the counter asks me what I want, I let her know I would like a mix. She starts to suggest some pastas and whatnot, but I want the good stuff – the cabbage, the strange looking sausage with onion…some of the big potatoes and the beans will do me, I think. What a breakfast ;)
Coffee and water complete my order. I cannot wait to dig in.
This is heaven! I am enjoying this plate of food like I havent been since Tokyo. Its all delicious and I am barely able to put the next bite in, before the last is finished. Everything is perfect. Even the sausage and onion thing. The cabbage is just divine.
Completely satisfied I finish my coffee and continue on my way.
Few stands later I see “Langos”, which is fried dough really. Very similar looking to what we call “mekici” in Bulgaria. But here it looks like they put all kinds of toppings on it. Looks inviting, but I am way too stuffed right now, although I make a mental note to try some if possible
I had a great time at the market and even savored some freshly squeezed orange juice just to top it all off.
Now I start to walk to the National Museum. The city is definitely awake by now. I like the fact that there are not many western type of shops everywhere. The place has kept to itself somehow, which is not easy to do under the pressure of commercialism and all.
The Museum is in the middle of a little garden with locals resting and old ladies chatting on the benches. I get in and walk around. Its quite interesting and a lot of exhibits presented in a chronological order through numbered rooms. Unfortunately only the big explanations had English versions, but I still enjoyed the visit.
More walking through the beautiful streets to my next destination – the biggest Synagogue in Europe.
And you have to admire the inventiveness of the Hungarians ;)
Dohány Street Synagogue is located a bit off the main street and looks impressive. I pay for my ticket and since it was cheaper to buy a guided tour then to get a ticket and camera ticket (?!?!) thats what I do. The guy behind the “cassa” was good to me, I find out later, as he sold me a student ticket. Much cheaper as well!
The tour is fascinating. I dont know much about the religion and their traditions, so the information is quite interesting.
Inside the building is breathtaking. They have obviously done a good job restoring it after the war and apparently most of it was paid by the Hungarian Government. They do look after their history, as I am reminded further in my explorations. I didnt see an abandoned building or one that has not been kept well around. I wish I could say the same for my own birth country.
In the back there is a little park with memorials and sculptures. Did you know that traditional Jewish graves are covered with stones, which are supposed to protect the dead? That is why people visiting the grave put stones on it instead of flowers. So there are pebble mounds here and there.
As I walk, I spot a place that is bursting with little sandwiches. They look sooo good. I enter and order three. The ones that looked the most unknown to me.
The orange one was spicy and I think it was mixed with pepperoni of some sort. It was my favorite. The one with the cucumber was like a tzatziki and the last one was sardines with tomato cucumber and some kind of dip. Yum! Yum! Yum! Loved them all.
Next stop is St Istvan Basilica. Its located in a square with other impressive buildings and in a pedestrian area. Cafes and benches around make the place very relaxing.
This is what I grabbed by mistake ;) I have never had my ice cream so artfully delivered. This was vanilla and mocha combo. Finger licking smooth and melty. I enjoy it on one of the benches around the place.
Again, inside the basilica is beautiful. And the best part was that it was free ;)
Part of the Parliament Building. I say part, because its spread out across the bank of the Denube and I am only at one end of it. Isnt it magnificent?!
I walk back to the apartment and browse some shops. Freshen up and out again to grab some dinner and take some night shots around the river.
The area on the sides of the river is buzzing. Lots of restaurants and people walk around. I am a bit disapointed that the place is a bit away from the river itself, but later on I find out maybe why.
I walk up around a bit and even see an ex Victorian premier here! I couldnt believe my eyes – Jeff Kennet with some lady. I took a paparaci shot of him, but he was too far and looked at me suspiciously. The picture is not good enough to post. He looked sweaty, fat and old. I wonder if life is not good to him lately.
I decide I want to be closer to the river and make my way down. There are a few little tiny flies around. Maybe thats why they hides most of the restaurants up there?
I spot a boat restaurant and like the way it looks so I go in. The boat is wobbling and it almost feels like we are going somewhere. The view is worth the visit!
The food is nothing to go wild about. The first is an eggplant dip with veggies, which is nice and I enjoy it with some brown bread. The flies are everywhere. Coasters go on top of your glass instead of beneath ;)
The next plate is a tuna salad, which was a bit bland for my taste, but fresh and nothing bad about it.
Then I make my way back to base and capture some of the beauty of Budapest at night.
I have loved Budapest so far. Its interesting, accessable with wonderful tasty cheap food for a culinary addict like me. Architecture to die for and river to finish it all off before bed.
I love the place. I hope you have enjoyed visiting it with me as well.