Friday, September 6, 2013

European Adventure- Day 4, Budapest, Hungary

We drug ourselves out of bed this morning, missing breakfast in the hotel breakfast room and starting out on our days adventure.  Scootard was asleep on his feet, but still had a good sense of direction about where we needed to be.

I was starting to perk up over the thought of some java!

By the time we got to near to we were suppose to be, it became apparent that we needed to eat "something" before going headlong into the was lunch time and I got a chicken sandwhich and some onion rings.

Scootard got us some coffee while I contemplated the day......

I figured I was here.  Might as well see what the chicken tasted like.  The eggs didn't taste like much....ha

It wasn't bad at all.  The interesting thing is that the onion rings which are usually batter dipped and deep fried in the states were batter and corn meal mixed and then deep fried.  It made for a cruncher ring....not bad.

We finished our "lunch" and decided to do the last part of our bus tour which was on the Yellow Line this time.  We passed this building which is suppose to be the most expensive resturant with the most expensive coffee in Budapest....The inside of the building is decorated with Chrystal chandeliers.

We crossed one of the bridges and carried on .......

This monument was erected in memory of St. Gellert who was a martyr in the city long ago......

This is the Gellert Hill Cave. A poor family lived in the cave many years ago.  An order of Monks took the cave over and have been there every since.

and as you can see, part of the castle is built into the hillside....

These four guys are said to have tried to help fight a battle for Hungary only to discover that they had been betrayed somehow. The leader of the group was captured, set upon a flaming medal throne with a flaming medal crown placed upon his head and thereby executed.....sheesh.  What a way to go...:-(.

a quick shot of a park area and the Chain Bridge.

and onward we went.  Scootard was settled in with his feet resting on the front frame of the bus.  We were sitting upstairs...

This building has been used as a hospital by some nuns and is now being used for what is called a "social home".  I have no idea what that means......nursing home..??  Low income housing....??

These obilisk dotted the sides of the bridge as we passed.  Looks like a miniature Washington Monument with dragons protruding from them.

And at one bus stop there was this tree growing this huge mushroom out of it's side.....

We headed  back across the bridge that was guarded by huge stone figures of lions on each side.

Every where you look on the Buda side of the city you can see some form of the ancient past.  This was from the late 1800's and served as a support for the walk way.

I was glad that we went back past the Embassy so that I could learn which one it was.  Turned out to be the British Embassy.  Wouldn't have done me a bit of good if I needed to get out of dodge!

I regretted that I was not able to get a good shot of this building.  But it is a Jewish Synogue.  This part of the city was considered the ghetto a long time ago.

And from time to time you would pass a hostel.  I have never stayed in a hostel and I don't know that I ever would.  I feel they are more for younger folks although people of all ages stay in them.

This statue is on the top of this hill in memory of St. Gellert who was placed in a barrel by pagan Hungarians (that is what the historian called them), which was run through with long nails and tossed off the hill because of his faith in God. It was impossible for us to get any closer as we were on a tour bus.

There were several tour companies hard at work driving people hither, thither and yon!

We decided to "hop off" the bus and get our last shot of coffee for the day and discuss our options for dinner.

The coffee shop was just over a mile or so from the hotel so we stopped there.....

Chris was on tilt from exhaustion and I was quickly following suit! I decided to try the cheese cake.  It was interesting and the coffee was good......

We made the trek back to the hotel since we didn't see a cab anywhere in sight and unloaded our backpack in the room.  After a short break, we headed back down for dinner with the adapter in hand that the manager had loaned us when we blew our transformers. We thanked them at the desk and asked if they would please return it to the manager who was not on duty at the time.  Scootard ordered chicken and veggies.

I decided to get what he had the other day which was spinach and blue cheese risotto.  It was good and way too much for me to finish.  Scootard helped me after some persuasion.....:-)

and so ended a short, but full day.  tomorrow is our last day to visit the city as Sunday we check out of this hotel and head for Bratislava, Slovakia.....:-).

Stay tuned!

European Adventure-Budapest, Hungary Day 3

I cannot believe that somehow we have found ourselves on two different sleeping schedules!  Although it may have something to do with my passing out last night at about 7:30pm and waking up at midnight ready to go.  Scootard was getting ready to do his blog...haha.  I'm thinking (as I drifted off to sleep), this is not good! haha.  So, I did manage to get back to sleep somewhere around 3:00am and  I woke up at about 8:00am.  My beloved was fast asleep and I was going to have to go it alone again for breakfast.

I'm always interested in new foods.  So, this morning I decided to try this eggplant, yogurt and mint stuff.  It was "interesting"...ha.  And then there was this "spicey cheese ball" thingee.  That was interesting too!

Hey!!  Look who's here!  haha......He must have smelled the vittles from all the way upstairs.  He said he woke up and I was gone again.  He figured he'd better hurry before he missed breakfast again....:-).  And he was bringing me some much needed sweet....:-).

I don't know what the menagerie is on his plate.......

but it appears to be waking him up.....somewhat.

After breakfast, we started our trek toward the subway and discussed what we would do to maximize our time.  We only have 2 1/2 days left in country.  Time is flying by!

Funny, the things you can run across that remind you of the states.  There is a statue of in Seattle that often wears different changes of clothes.  This one reminded me of that.  I wonder how often she changes?

Really??? I am amazed at how much of the West is here.  I also noticed that in most of the stores and resturaunts they were playing Western music.

And lots of statuary pinned to the sides of the buildings in one form or another.  I guess this guy had something to do with the railroad industry.....

We purchased these tickets before we left the states that would allow us to "Hop On and Hop Off" certain tour buses that rode through different parts of Buda and Pest.  We decided to take the Red Line today.

The one we chose was an open air bus with a canopy top and an upstairs.  Of course Scootard wanted to go upstairs!  

One of the buildings that we passed was an Embassy.  I'm not sure which embassy it was because
unfortunately, a truck passed in front of me when I was trying to take this shot and I only caught the tail end of it.  But this is the Embassy building.  Good to know where it is! .....:-)

And of course with this being Surope, there are LOTS of scooters.  These two reminded me of Maj and Ms Vickey.......:-(.  But after seeing how some of these folks drive, and how narrow some of the streets are, I was glad not to be on one! haha

The tour bus also had these translator thingees that gave you the history behind the things you were seeing.  I'm not much of a historian in most cases, so I'll just share the pics....hahaa.  Scootard is the historian.  You can find the history of most of this stuff on his blog:

Also being in Europe, there is no lack of fashion.....

No idea, but I thought it looked.....different.

the other thing that you will find here is that real estate is

These streets are larger than they look on the picture.  But the side streets are quite narrow. It's amazing that the cars park on those streets and some of the buses actually go down them!

all throughout the city are statues of those who fought for liberation from the Turks or the Haupsburgs of Austria.

Here is another statue.  Now, if I had a memory like an encyclopedia, I could tell you exactly who this guy was.  But since I don't, let's just say he was another liberator of sorts....:-)

Scootard was having a blast taking pictures with his Samsung Note Phablet.  It takes really great pictures unlike my IPhone4s.

This is the opera house.  I think they were planning something for the evening, but we didn't go.

We made a decision when we set out this morning that the first order of business was to hunt down the needed adaptors or transformer to keep us connected to the West while we are away.  The plan was to "Hop Off" the bus as soon as we found a computer place and inquire.  We found this little place and she recommended we try this particular cord.  We "Hopped On" the bus and continued tour wonder if it was going to work for us when we got back to the hotel.............???

this was so weird that I had to take a picture.....haha

We started riding through what is known as the Castle District.


The castle had been taken over twice in its history and recaptured.  There are various monuments around the city in honor of those who helped liberate it and those who were martyred by pagan Hungarians.

It was time to take a rest from the bumpy cobble stone and brick streets and get some lunch.  We found this place a little way off the beaten path.

We were also mindful of how late in the day it was and decided to make it somewhat of a heavy meal since we had gotten such a late start in the day.

It was a cute little place which had an upstairs area for eating as well and  a terrace....

The first thing was to hydrate.  Neither of us had been drinking enough fluids and was very tired.  We got coffee, lemonade (the sparkling kind) and water.

While we waited for our lunch, we discussed where we should go next.  Time was winding down and there was still much to see....

Scootard decided somewhere along the way that he wasn't that hungry after all and ordered a poppy seed desert.  It tasted "different"...ha

I ordered a paprika chicken which was served over what the Germans call "spatzle" and cream.  I don't remember what it is called in Hungarian.  But it is home made noodles.
We had to send the plate back having discovered a hair before ever taking a bite.

This is a shot of the same place outside without any customers.  Very nice set up.....
ok, time to go.......

We decided to start out this time on foot.  I mean afterall, we did just eat a full meal and desert between the two of us! This is a view of one of the bridges that runs across the Danube River.

Here and there you will find someone's art work dotting the river bank......

Ok, so we didn't walk that far....haha.  We hopped back on our tour bus and continued our adventure....

This is a closer picture of the same bridge which is known as the "Chain Bridge".  It reminded me of a bridge in Vacouver, Canada called The Lions Gate Bridge.....:-).  The story goes that the architect said if anyone could find a flaw in his design that he would jump into the Danube.  The builders commented that the lions did not have tongues.  So, he jumped!  Good thing he could swim....haha.  I didn't get close enough to see if the tongues had been put in or not..

This is a shot of Saint Mathias Church........

When we were able, we tried to get a picture of the two cities of Buda and Pest (which the Hungarians pronounce as "Pesht".  There was also a part of the city called Ohle Buda.  We never heard during the tour what happened to that part of it. This picture shows the Pest side of the city.

The driver continued winding through the castle district and came to a rest stop where he took a 15 minute break. We were both tired and decided not to get off this time.

along the side of the bus were various vendors selling their products......

hey there!!  It's you......:-). Having fun yet?.....:-).  We are!

ok, the bus is rolling again. I can't believe we are going to squeeze through that tunnel!

We started passing some old artillary that had been used in past wars.......

I do hope they have upgraded themselves by now!

at the top of the hill is their statue of liberty.  She is holding a palm leaf and is huge.  Sadly, we were never able to get a frontal shot of the statue ....

As we started winding through the streets we began to pass gardens and other statuary.......I caught this on the fly.

These building were occupied by weathly people at one time or another and served as their residence.  It was not unheard of for one family to own the entire building.    A closer look will put you in the mind of Vienna only not as beautiful.....:-).

Then we went past what is known as the Elizabeth Bridge which was built and dedicated to the memory of Queen Elizabeth (SiSi) of Austria.  She had a great love for the Hungarian people even though she was married to a Haupsburg.  The city of BudaPest has a statue in her honor erected in a park on the Pest side of the city.

And this huge building in the background is the castle.  We did not go in, but read a lot of reviews about the enterior and how unimpressive it is.  practically striped of it's riches, it is a drab place. Not at all what you would expect in a castle where royals used to live. It now was destroyed in the second world war and a lot of the history lost.  Now, it houses a museum, library and a couple of other things.  

here is a picture of the Chain Bridge again......this time from across the river.

There is a LOT of construction going on in the city as you can see.  But in the background is the Parliament building.  They only have one chamber at this time that functions.

I thought this was interesting.  If you don't know if you are at a bus station, just look at the picture......ha

Now, this is one of the places on the map to see if you are a tourist.  There are several historical sites in the city, but this one is one of the more famous spots.  This is the front of St. Stephens Church.

This is the better of the two shots, I think  It is also the largest church in the city.

just on a side note here:  Remember the polkadotted coffee place we went to yesterday?

yeah, this place.

Well, anyway....I forgot to mention that the young man you see in the first picture approached us as we sat and said that he had something he wanted to say to me.  I said. "ok".....then he went on to say that he didn't want me to get offended....I said...."well, ok"...ha.  Then he said that the coffee shop that we were sitting in front of had been there for a while and was known to have some of the best coffee in Pesht.  I said "really?"  He said "yes, and the word "fekete" (pronounced- fay-ket-tay) means black.  I said "ok".  then he said that he thought it was ironic that me being a black was sitting at one of the best coffee houses in town and that I must be very special.  He was smiling and glowing when he said.  How could I get offended??  

Well, said all of that to say this:  While on our way to St. Stephens Church I noticed this:   And not only was it a bar and restaurant, it was a whole string of businesses with the name starting with "Negro"....haha.  I'm thinking...."hey!  Looks like I'm doing pretty good in these parts of the world".....haha.  We double checked the word "Negro" in Hungarian thinking that perhaps it meant something different in their language....You know what came up- FEKETE! hahaha.

Well, ok then.

We finally reached the church steps and made the short climb up.  Scootard immediately starting taking pictures outside.  I wanted to go inside and see if the church was as interesting as the ones in Mexico.

While the church was elaborate, it didn't "wow" me like some others I have seen in Europe.

We also learned our first trip to Europe that a lot of the people who served the church as Bishops and nuns where buried inside the church.  Some of them had their own plot inside.  What appeared to be alters where often their sarcophagus in which their remains were still resting.

This is a frontal shot of the main alter area.  There was a red rope going across separating the front of the church from the back with a sign saying "stop" in Hungarian.  You can barely see it at the bottom of the picture toward the left center.

a picture of a part of the ceiling.....

Another wing of the church........

This is one of the people who are buried inside the church and his history.....St Joseph.  Actually only his ribs are buried inside the bust of this statuary of him.

Here is his placard which was displayed on the marble wall leading to his burial area.

the last interesting person that was buried there was St. Jobb whose right hand is being kept in this temperature controlled glass box.  I have no idea why but I guess it is no different than keeping Egyptian mummies in in a museum......  This is just a picture of his hand.

He too had an area dedicated to his memory.......

and this is the real hand in this glass encasement.....

I believe this is the rest of him......

by now, we were both getting tired and needing a break from walking about......Scootard was so tired he went and sat at the feet of Jesus! ha

We finally made our way outside to the main street.......

after crossing the street we decided to get some coffee and rest our tired feet for a bit.......
We met a couple that were vacationing from Berlin, Germany for a week and had just gotten there....:-).

after talking with them for a bit, they left and we decided that we should go too.....We saw this guy on our way down the street......Very cool!

We still had one more thing to accomplish before calling it a night, but had to get back on the train to get there......

That is NOT a real person and their dog, by the way......:-)

We had a boat tour scheduled that we were determined not to miss.  The sun was setting and we were going to see the city at night!


Then the boats starting rolling in....

Once they linked up, they were ready for us......:-)

I could get used to this "Hop On- Hop Off" stuff......:-).  This particular boat was named after a martyr that was placed into a barrel that had nails ran through it and tossed over a an embankment and into the Danube River.  His name is translated Saint Gellert.

We set out to see what was what in the evenings on the Danube......

Some of these might look familiar.  The only reason I am posting them again is because they are late day shots......

The palace.

Parliament from the water......

The Chain Bridge......

What used to be some of the Royal apartments.......

No idea........but it looks like an upside down canoe!

The Queen Elizabeth Bridge.... (Queen of Austria during the Haupsburg Dynasty).  He loved the Hungarian people even though her husband's family occupied and enslaved the Hungarians for years.

Budapest University of Technology and Economics.......

Corvinus University of Budapest.......

And so it was time to start looking for dinner and heading back after a very long day....Our boat tour came to an end and we docked where we started from....Near the Queen Elizabeth Bridge.....

We made our way through the dark streets and came back to St. Stephens Church

The streets were lined with tables that were serving food and we decided to stop there for dinner....

After looking over the menu, Scootard decided on the Spring chicken Risotto and I got the Indonesian  Chicken. Neither were very good.....:-(.

   We got back to the room and called it a day.......

See ya soon!!