Thursday, June 7, 2012

The 'Bada' Adventure!

We managed to finally venture out of Romania for a break over the last long weekend. This was a huge deal! In the last 2.5 years of our stay here (longer for the hubby), this is the first time we've managed to step into Europe. Why? Well, 'coz we were just THAT disorganized about getting ourselves a Schengen visa!

Hungary and Budapest had to be our first stop 'coz it's just too close to not do! Fun times accompanied by some violent discussions on what we could do and what we should skip. Add to that the fact that the little fellow insisted on calling the place the Yummy city! He figured that since the country was called Hungary, the city must be called "Yummy"!! :)

Hungary is mostly flat lands. Coming from Transylvania and the Carpathian region, the change in scenery is even more obvious. About 15 minutes after we crossed the border, the hills gave way to absolute flat lands with not a single indentation in sight. The joke we had going was that when they found a hill in Buda, they immediately went and built a castle on it 'coz it was such a novelty. Okay, it doesn't sound as funny now, but it gave us quite a few smiles on our long drive. :)

So Budapest is actually two tiny cities that lie on either side of the Danube river that cuts right through the middle of the city. One side is called Buda and the other is called Pest, hence Budapest. :)

Buda is the hilly side and has the UNESCO World Heritage site, which houses the Royal Palace and the Mathias Church and other buildings of historical significance. Interestingly, King Mathias Corvin is also a very popular figure within Romania. He was infact born in Cluj-Napoca in Romania and had a fairly tumultuous journey to the throne of the Kingdom of Hungary, which is sad to have started at the age of 12! With large parts of Romania having been part of the Austrio-Hungarian empire, the popularity of common figures wasn't a surprise but it was quite interesting to see statues of the same heroes in another country.

Pest, on the other hand has always been the more commercial and trade-related region. It has the Parliament building (which is a beautiful piece of art), the National Opera, and St. Stephen's Basilica (which reminded us of St. Paul's Cathedral from a distance - we couldn't actually visit the Basilica 'coz there was just too much to squeeze into 1.5 days!).

This being our first trip to the city, we decided to do all the touristy things the place has to offer. So we went on an evening music and dinner cruise on the river, took the sightseeing bus around town and made it a point to eat the Hungarian Goulash Soup and Veal Paprikash. Both of which were yummy and reminded us of meat curries from back home!!! And ofcourse I bought Paprika - both powdered and the actual chillies! :) There are a few city walking tours that sounded really great but we couldn't risk them with the kid in tow so we've left it for hopefully another time. :)

Here are some pictures.
Mathias Church on the Buda side

Chain bridge and St Stephen's Basilica on the Pest side viewed from the funicular (vertical train)

The Synagogue in the Jewish quarter


Moonshine said...

WOW!! When did you do this... looks just amazing.. I think you should cram more europe visits this year...:D

the-mommie said...

I totally agree!! Now if I can just make myself and P stop looking at our bank balance! :)

But seriously, Budapest is one place that needs to be done!! It's a gorgeous gorgeous city.