October 18, 2010

Matt's visit, part three--Budapest!

I am so sorry for the long spaces between posts. I have been incredibly busy, and have lots of updates for you, but of course first I shall finish sharing about Matt's visit...

Matt and I traveled by train to Budapest on Monday evening. Szabina (my beautiful Hungarian friend whose wedding I attended in August) picked us up from the train station and drove us to the Budakalász Church of God. The church has an apartment where guests can stay, and the church so kindly offered it to me and Matt for free, as a gift. The apartment is very nice and very comfortable, and we were so amused to find that the apartment contained some of the same Ikea furniture that Matt and I own! Budakalász is a suburb of Budapest, just a short tram ride away from the city center. But it's far enough outside the city to be very peaceful and we enjoyed lounging in the apartment and having our tea and bread, butter, and jam for breakfast each morning.

On Tuesday, Matt and I toured the Castle district. Budapest actually used to be two cities divided by the Danube river--Buda on one side and Pest on the other. The Buda side is the oldest part of the city situated on a great hill. We saw the Military Museum, the Fisherman's Bastion, St. Matthew's Cathedral, and Buda Castle. We also visited the Labyrinth of the castle deep within the hill. The Labyrinth was constructed during the Middle ages to be used as a means of escape during a siege. It has been used also as a wine cellar, torture chamber, bomb shelter, and hospital. The whole tour was incredibly dark--we could hardly see! It was so creepy and fascinating at the same time.

On Wednesday Matt and I visited the Pest side. We marveled at the Hungarian National Museum, strolled leisurely around Hero's Square whilst we enjoyed a small snack, wandered through the city park, and visited the famous Vaci street shops. We had fun using the metro system but we also did a lot of walking.

Our final day was Thursday, where we spent the day in the absolutely charming village of Szentendre, a short train ride outside of the city. I visited this village during my first trip to Hungary in 1998 and I have never forgotten it. It charmed me all over again, and Matt, too. We began by warming ourselves from the chilly morning with some coffees. It was very leisurely strolling through the village streets and exploring all the shops. The sun was shining and the quiet streets couldn't have been more romantic. We absolutely loved it-- such a perfect day.

Szabina took us back to the train station on Thursday evening and we traveled back to Debrecen to enjoy our last few days together.

Posing outside the Military History Museum. This was a very cool museum,
although quite a bit more interesting to Matt than to me.

We found this charming little outdoor restaurant where we ate lunch.
At first, Matt and I were the only customers, so it was quiet and romantic.
The ambiance was perfect with the ivy and stone walls. Matt had his
first Goulash soup here!

The beautiful exterior of St. Matthew's Cathedral.

A view of the city from Buda hill. The Parliament building is stunning.

Yes, I know I'm biased, but come on. Matt is pretty stinkin' adorable.

The Fisherman's Bastion. It was built over 100 years ago, but never served
any military purpose. Now it's one of the best viewing points to see
all of Budapest and the Danube river.

At Fisherman's Bastion. (as always, being our own photographer)

But here, a nice Australian man offered to take a photo for us.

I love the Fisherman's Bastion. When I first saw it at age 14, I fell in love with it.

It was a grey and cloudy day in Budapest, but still beautiful.

Some of the many bridges linking the Buda and Pest sides.

St. Matthew's Cathedral is famous for the intricate paintings that cover
all the stone surfaces of the interior.

Even the sheet music looks ancient.

The cathedral was built in the mid 13th century.

It's truly breathtaking.

How can you not adore this place?

Buda Castle.

The Labyrinth--it doesn't look so creepy in this photo, but trust me, it was.

This was the one bright spot in the whole darkness below...a little
enchanted grove of ivy and fountains where music was playing.

Don't let the pictures fool you. My flash makes it look light, but in reality
the whole thing was very dark, sometimes in near total darkness.
It was scary for me!

Whatever this statue is holding, Matt finds it quite interesting.

A closer view of Buda Castle.

The castle fountain is behind us...

Mapping out our plan for the day while we were waiting for the train that would
take us into downtown Budapest.

The Hungarian National Museum--it was fascinating to me and Matt.
 We are both museum-nerds who love history. Truly, this museum was
exceptional. The exhibits and artifacts were some of the most fascinating I've
ever seen.

Not only were the artifacts amazing, but they are housed in this gorgeous place...


Budapest's famous Hero's Square.

I actually like the statues in this weathered-green color.

A gorgeous evening sky beyond the square.

This is Vajdahunyad Castle found in the middle of the city park.

The castle was built in 1896 in a mix of architectural styles. With the trees
beginning to turn lovely shades of orange and yellow, and the fresh autumn
air, the stroll around the castle and through the park was truly magical.

More loveliness in the park.

We crossed this little bridge on the walk from the train to the
center of Szentendre.

The center of Szentendre. The weather was perfect!

We did all of our souvenir shopping here, because you can find all the same
things you would find in Budapest, but at a better price.

Szentendre was so charming that Matt didn't mind that we were shopping all day!

There were a few other tourists, but the streets were quiet and uncrowded.

We stopped for lunch and yet again found ourselves to be the only patrons.
Quiet and romantic...

My lunch was absolutely delicious. I ate every morsel.

The Danube River.

So happy. :)

We had some delicious ice cream as we walked back to the train.


In front of the chapel in Budakalász. It is right across the street from the church
apartment where we stayed, so we could lie in bed and listen to
the beautiful church bells.

Bless your little heart if you took the time to look at all the photos!


Sara said...

I did... and I loved every one of them :)

Papa Bear said...

This provided a wonderful visit with you both. Thank you!!!!


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