Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Budapest, Hungary

Drew has been bugging me to put up this post. I don't have an excuse other than I've been lazy. Which is perfectly fine because I am on summer break and allowed to be lazy! :)

In July of 2013 we took our first our of the country trip to Budapest. We took our first trip with United European Airlines. We heard about it from a random solider who was passing through the Graf area. Drew and I were having lunch at the Korean restaurant and we just started talking about travel places and he suggested this company that him and his wife used and after checking out their site we decided to book a trip for the next month. I guess it pays to be friendly! Haha
Our trip to Budapest cost us 179 euros a person, which included, transportation, lodging, and a guide! It was a fantastic deal.
We left Grafenwoehr at Midnight on Wednesday night, or Thursday morning. The 4-day was Thursday-Sunday. Usually it is from Friday-Monday so it kinda threw our days off.
I like bus tours for the price. I'm not a fan of bus tours, I think I mentioned that once or twice in my post about Normandy. But to be able to go to sleep in Germany and wake up in another country is a great way to travel.
After stopping for breakfast, we made our way to the city of Budapest to pick up our guide.

Our tour started at Hero's Square, it is located at the end of Andrássy Avenue and next to City Park, Heroes’ Square is one of the most visited sights in Budapest. Surrounded by two important buildings, Museum of Fine Arts on the left and Kunsthalle (Hall of Art) on the right, Heroes’ Square is also a station of the Millennium Underground.

The Sidles' @ Hero's Square July 2013
 The Millennium Monument in the middle of the square was erected to commemorate the 1000-year-old history of the Magyars. Archangel Gabriel stands on top of the center pillar, holding the holy crown and the double cross of Christianity. The seven chieftains who led the Magyar tribes to Hungary can be seen on the stand below. Statues of kings and other important historical figures stand on top of the colonnades on either side of the center pillar. When the monument was originally constructed, Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and thus the last five spaces for statues on the left of the colonnade were reserved for members of the ruling Habsburg dynasty. The Habsburg emperors were replaced with Hungarian freedom fighters when the monument was rebuilt after World War II.

From Hero's square we went to the Buda side, "Budapest" is the combination of the city names Buda and Pest. Buda on the western bank of the Danube and Pest on the bank opposite.
We arrived at the Royal Palace of Budapest, or Buda Castle. From here you have the best view of Budapest and the Danube River.
We were givin a 2 hour tour of the city. By the time we were finished all I wanted to do was check into our hotel and shower. We stayed at the Ibis on the Pest side, the room was included with our tour price and it was less than a block away from the Opera house, which happened to be a stop on the Hop On Hop Off (HOHO).
Buda Castle

Sidles' @ Buda Castle

That View!

We ended up buying HOHO bus tickets. They were having a special where you pay for 1 day but get to use the HOHO for 2-days. I think that was a great deal since Budapest is so spread out.
We also got a cruise on the Danube that was included with the HOHO bus. Unfortunately while on the boat, a massive rain cloud decided to down pour so we didn't get a good view of the Chain Bridge from the Danbue. (As soon as we got off the ship it stopped raining!)
Using the HOHO was a good choice, we got to see all the major sites, in 2 days. I wish we had more time, there was still so much I wanted to do.
On the HOHO Bus

The view's were so great we went up a second day to get another picture!

Chain Bridge

One of the places I was excited to see was the Parliament building.  In every picture I've seen of Budapest their Parliament building has been in every single one of them. I was excited to see it! It was under construction when we were there. It was covered in scaffolding, but it was still very impressive.
Near Parliament there is an enclosed Ferris-wheel where you can see the Budapest Skyline. We decided to go on it and were lucky enough to get a cart by ourselves, Although when we're on things like that I wish we were with other people. Drew gets some sick pleasure of scaring the crap out of me since I'm not a fan of heights.

Quick selfie while waiting in Line



From the Globe? Budapest Eye? I can't remember what it was called, instead of waiting for the next HOHO bus, we decided to walk along the Danube River.
We passed through a market, where drinks were being sold. Europeans don't use ice. On a hot day all I wanted was a ice-cold drink. Europeans think American's are crazy because we dilute our drinks with ice, and American's think European's are crazy because no one wants to drink a room temp.warm drink! We did get a semi-cold drink. It was a lemonade, that had pieces of fruit (lemons, oranges and mint in it) This is where I found my love of putting mint in lemonades.
On our final day in Budapest we found the The Great Market Hall, they had everything in there from spices, to fresh fruit, fish, and leather good. I saw this adorable leather purse that I said would be my European adventure purse, but I couldn't bring myself to buy it. It was 40 euros, and not even that big, (I ended up finding a smaller version of that purse in Florence the next year) We must have gone on market day because it was packed inside. There wasn't any A/C and it was almost a 100 degrees. We didn't stay long, but we did walk around to price match some things.

Grand Central Market

The last place we went to was Vajdahunyad Castle. It is literally next to Hero's Square and we saw it on our first day in Budapest but decided that we would save it for another day. As the castle contains parts of buildings from various time periods, it displays different architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Originally it was made from cardboard and wood, but it became so popular that it was rebuilt from stone and brick between 1904 and 1908. Today it houses the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture, the biggest agricultural museum in Europe. 

I enjoyed walking around the castle. While we were walking around we saw a musician playing an instrument that looked like the top of a travel grill with indents. It was relaxing music, we even got a CD! 

By the time we were finished I was ready to go home. We headed back to the hotel and grabbed some Doner Kebab to eat, I wanted to sit down in A/C and Drew needed to finish up some Homework. He's such a responsible student. 
Since Budapest was our first adventure out of Germany we thought it went very well. I can definitely say it helped spark my travel bug. I would suggest this bus tour company. In the 2 year's we've been here and after planning most of our trips, sometimes it's cheaper to do it on your own, but some times it's better to not have to worry about anything.