Okay, onto Budapest! Paul and I started our grand adventure on July 4th to maximize an extra day off from work. We were up at 3:30am and caught a shuttle to the airport at 4:30am. The first of our three flights took us to Toronto. We thought we might miss our second flight so we hustled through the Toronto airport, only to stand around at a gate and watch the slowest boarding process ever for a plane. Our second flight did make it out late which got us to Frankfurt behind schedule. We ran, along with several others to get from one end of the airport to another. Turns out, to the wrong gate. So we missed our Budapest flight. Thankfully the next one took off in less than an hour, so it was another mad dash to get to the next gate.
Finally we land in Budapest at 10:30am local time, 1:30am Seattle time which means we'd been up for 22 hours at this point. We catch a bus to the city and thankfully we were able to check into our hotel early. Then our trip took another turn for the interesting. While we were freshening up at the hotel, my right eye started feeling painful. I kept asking Paul if my eye looked okay, and he thought it looked fine. Then while were eating a meal (lunch? Breakfast? Who knows!) my eye began oozing goop and was red on the eyeball. Perfect! All the nearby pharmacies appeared to be closed, so we just rolled with it and started our adventure. Later in the evening I did some Google research and started putting compresses on my eye.
While we had energy, we walked Andrassy Ut to Hero Square and explored a small part of the City Park. We were so exhausted that we decided to head back to our hotel room and while trying to stay up and watch TV, we both fell asleep. 15 hours of sleep later, breakfast, and finding a 24 hour pharmacy for my eye - we were ready for day 2.
First meal, look at those tired eyes!
Exploring Heroes Square
We were up early to explore Parliament and walk along the Danube. We stopped off at a cute street-side cafe for lunch. Partway into our lunch, it looked like Paul had a huge welt on his face. We started worrying briefly that he was having an allergic reaction to something he was eating. Which would have been just grrreeaat after my unexplained eye issue. A couple hours later as the welt was fading, Paul realized that he must of touched his face after using his fingers to put some very hot peppers on his lunch. Whoops! After lunch we went to St. Istvan's Basilica (St. Stephen's) and climbed the stairs up to get a view of the city.
Chain Bridge - one of the bridges that links Buda with Pest.
Holocaust Memorial along the Danube
Views from St. Istvan
Day three we spent some time in the morning just meandering the city and taking in the sites, looking at cool architecture and just enjoying a slow morning. We eventually made our way to The Great Market Hall which was amazing. It is a market that makes our Pike Place Market look small. There are three floors and each floor sells something different. The top floor sells touristy items, souvenirs, hungarian specialty items, and there are food vendors . The main level that you walk into sells mostly produce, baked goods, and meat. For instance I found a little slice of heaven at a bakery selling strudels. Paul and I split a strudel as we walked out of the market. As soon as we hit the doors I looked at Paul and told him, I think I need another strudel. So we did! Yay vacation! The basement level sells fish, has butchers AND is a one stop shop for buying anything pickled. And I mean anything! From The Great Market we were off to the Great Jewish Synagogue.
Great Jewish Synagogue
Day four we explored the Budapest Castle in Pest. Sadly this castle was highly damaged during WW2 and the Soviet occupation, so the years after this have been spent restoring the castle. From the castle we went to explore Mathias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion. On our way back over to the Buda side we detoured off to Margaret Island. There we rented a bicycle carriage and explored the monastery ruins, water tower landmark, and a music fountain water show. We finally made it to grab some dinner and then back to our hotel room to pack our bags for flight to Prague.
View of Buda from Pest (Looking at Parliament)