Day 19, Budapest

So, today was wonderful, too. I have to admit that Budapest is rapidly becoming one of my favorite cities in Europe. Of course, I still have many others to visit, but this place is capturing my heart. The fact that it’s so inexpensive helps!

Today was very warm, close to 90 degrees. We decided to walk to the Budapest Museum,  the Magyar (Gypsy) Galleria, and the Matthias Church. They were all magnificent. I have to admit, though, that my sensory perception is on overload. I don’t know how many more grand buildings with breathtaking architecture I can take. Every night I have to do a brain dump so I can absorb the glories that I will see the next day.

2014-07-15 11.36.29After spending several hours touring the grounds of these magnificent structures, it was

time for a nap. I have to sheepishly admit that we have been doing this every day we’ve been in Europe. We start out early with the best of intentions and by the time one or two o’clock rolls around, we’re ready for a snooze. Sucks.

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So, today was no different. After our requisite nappy time, we decided to head out for dinner. I had had a late lunch while Barry opted to go back to the hotel. My lunch was at a Kurdistani restaurant. I had a deep-fried chicken breast that was so huge I couldn’t imagine any normal chicken providing it, along with a form of basmati rice that was great. When we left for dinner, I wasn’t as hungry as Barry was. We had decided yesterday that we would have dinner on one of the boats lining the waterfront. It was called Columbus Pub and it advertised live jazz and traditional Hungarian cuisine.

Well, the live jazz didn’t pan out. Ended up being a man on a classical guitar with a percussionist singing pop songs like “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Norwegian Wood”. I have to admit that he was good, though.

Dinner was refreshing and relaxing. Sitting outside, under a canopy to protect us from the blazing sun and sipping…yes, you guessed it…a beer was almost the culmination of our Budapest stay. Barry ordered a dijon chicken breast and a beer while I had garlic pork tenderloin stripes over sautéed vegetables and a beer. Barry also ordered an appetizer of Hungarian salamis, peppers and a salmon spread. While we ate we enjoyed the magnificent views.

And I had one of the most exquisite desserts of my life. So exquisite that I have to dedicate an entire paragraph to it. I suppose I should have taken a photo but unless I can extend taste through the internet, it would be a waste. The dessert was a simple strudel–apple and sour cherry, with a cinnamon mousse. I don’t know who concocted this piece of ambrosia, but I want his name so I can send him a Christmas card every year.

As I stated before, I judge a nation and its culture by its desserts. Call me shallow, but that’s what I do. You have sucky desserts? Too bad, not visiting! This was a piece of heaven on a plate and I’m tempted to go back tomorrow for another eye-rolling experience. A Bailey’s coffee accented everything.

We lingered on the boat for quite a while just soaking in the atmosphere and relaxing. If there’s one piece of advice I can give anyone traveling internationally, it’s this: take time to just relax and soak in the local color. If you rush through everything, you’re going to miss the experience and wonder what you just saw. Even if you can’t see everything (and you can’t), remember to park your behind on a bench and watch Budapest, Paris or Vienna walk by. Savor the sights, scents and smells. Stop, look and listen.

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OK, so after dinner, it was getting dark and the lights were coming on. The bridges were lit, the museums and cathedrals were lit. We walked along the Danube. Barry wanted to check out an island in the middle of the river that had access. We walked along and stumbled across another building that swept us away.

We figured it must have been a church because it was so opulent, complete with cathedral windows. Yet we saw guards outside which is unusual for any church. Later we found out it was the Parliament building. It looked like it had been brought down on clouds from heaven. The lighting only served to accentuate its ornate design.

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Bridges across the Danube were also lit brilliantly to embellish the various designs. Across the river the museums and historical centers were similarly lit up. It gave the city more than a sophisticated air. 

After walking clear to the island and watching a water show reminiscent of Bellagio in Vegas, we decided to head back to the hotel. Tomorrow we’re going to take the Metro to the airport to get our bearings for the flight to Warsaw on Thursday. Barry is going to go running in the morning while I get caught up on some sleep. There’s also the possibility of checking out the Hungarian mineral baths which sounds really great right now considering the shape my feet and back are in!

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