Euroadventure 2014: Last Stop, Budapest

My original goal was to finish all the Euroadventure posts by Fourth of July. Then it became the end of August. Earlier this week I said I would finish “by the end of this weekend.” Well, here I am, still writing! Dave and I just covered so much ground and the trip was different from our others, like Curaçao or Mexico where we had a lot of beach time. Not to mention, there are a million lot of pictures to choose from and our internet is so slow that it seems to take days to actually upload them.

So yesterday I loaded the last set of pictures and I have only two or three more posts to go after this one. I truly believe I can finish in the next week! I know that one day I will be happy to look back and have our entire trip documented, but for now I am ready to get back to writing about the house, food and other adventures we’ve had this year. Thanks for bearing with me …

The last city on our Euroadventure playlist was Budapest. As with Prague, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It wasn’t a place I loved and studied for years, like France. I didn’t have any family ties as I did with Italy. It was an unknown.

Because we spent much of the day in Vienna, taking an afternoon train to Budapest, we did not have a lot of time for sightseeing once we got there. Honestly neither of us had a really specific must-see Budapest, which meant we just got to wander and explore more than the other places. Upon arrival at the train station, we got on the newest metro line, green #4, which took us really close to our hotel, the Zara Boutique Hotel Budapest. We checked in and dropped our bags off in the very nice but tiny room. The front desk called a restaurant Dave wanted to try for dinner and made a reservation, then we set off to walk the river just in time for sunset.

Number one on my must-see list was the Shoes on the Danube memorial, which honors the victims shot by Arrow Cross militiamen during World War II. They were forced to remove their shoes and stand facing the river so that when shot their bodies would fall into the water. This place evoked so many emotions and was probably the most moving Holocaust memorials I’ve visited.

Continuing up the river, we walked around the Hungarian Parliament Building and decided to start the Rick Steves’ Leopold Town Walk. Several of the spots were either listed incorrectly or no longer exist … but we did see the monuments to Imre Nagy and Ronald Reagan. Nagy was a Hungarian politician who led the Soviet rebellion even though he was a communist. The Soviet’s executed and buried Nagy in an unmarked grave. In 1989 his body was exhumed and he was reburied properly. His monument stands facing Parliament, as though he is always keeping a watchful eye on the government. Reagan’s monument was erected in 2011 to honor his role in the Cold War, but apparently he is not well-loved by the Hungarians. The lights meant to brighten his statue by night coincidentally weren’t working!

By this time it was dark and almost time for our dinner reservation at Hungarikum Bistro, a restaurant Dave selected for their TripAdvisor rating and traditional Hungarian fare. We scrapped the rest of Steves’ self-guided walk and headed to dinner, getting lost a few times along the way. We ordered a bottle of wine (SO GOOD! Finding Hungarian wines in DC has become my new obsession.) and a traditional Hungarian dish to share as an appetizer. Hortobágyi palacsinta is a meat filled crêpe covered in paprika sauce. (Hungarians use a lot of paprika in their cooking.) For dinner I had “Grandma’s gnocchi in onion stew” and Dave had some sort of braided pork loin with cabbage and (more) paprika sauce. Full and tired, we walked to our hotel and called it a day! Before we left, our very sweet server brought over a shot of traditional Hungarian fruit-flavored brandy called pálinka meant to aid in digestion, but it burned the whole way down! (Honestly thinking about it right now is giving me heart burn.)

7 thoughts on “Euroadventure 2014: Last Stop, Budapest

  1. Beverly E. Lamb says:

    I have loved this trip, as so much of it we have seen. We missed the shoe memorial unfortunately. So many touching tributes in all of Europe to commenerate the Holacast and I find myself moved by all of them. Tour descriptions of food and wine, and the photos are amazing! As your armchair traveling companion I am sorry our trip is over!

    Like

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