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Budapest, Hungary! July 23, 2012

Posted by bethcarpenter in Travel Log.

My first weekend on the Madrid portion of the Spanish LBAT was free for students to travel.  Most of our classmates elected to travel to Pamplona, Spain, to run with the bulls–a major Spanish cultural event.  Combined with a desire to survive to complete my Spanish minor and as a wish to see more of Europe, my roommate Catherine and I elected to instead fly to Budapest, Hungary. 

After a long day of classes, a late flight made even later with a two-hour delay, and the devastating discovery that our hotel room did not have air conditioning, Catherine and I finally collapsed into bed with our alarm set for bright and early the next day.

Our hotel was only a short walk from the bridge that led over the Danube River to the center of the city.  Following a walking guide and our research from the night before, we had breakfast at perhaps the most famous café in the city—Café Gerbeaud.  I ate what was perhaps the most fantastic breakfast of my life, composed of sparkling elderberry lemonade, a café latté, croissants with fresh raspberry jam, date and raisin rolls, and fresh fruit.


Afterwards, Catherine and I crossed the bridge back to Buda (the city is divided into two parts by the Danube—Buda and Pest).  We climbed the stairs up to a fort erected in honor of Soviet soldiers on Gillért Hill, and afterwards visited Buda Castle.  We spent the afternoon at Fisherman’s Bastion, a lovely stretch of turrets that provide a magnificent view of the city across the river.  To cool off, we then toured the famous labyrinth underneath the city used as an air-raid shelter in World War II and known as the dungeon where Dracula was imprisoned.



We had dinner at a beautiful restaurant in the center of the city–a shared salmon appetizer with rosé Hungarian wine, an entrée of veal neck and carrot purée on a bed of cabbage with Hungarian white wine, and a shared dessert of raspberry cottage cheese mousse–a meal not only typically Hungarian, but also extremely delicious!  We ended our evening with drinks under the lights of St. Stephen’s Basilica. 

The next morning we had grand plans to cross the bridge and visit the Parliament Building; however, we were not permitted to cross because of the filming of Die Hard 5!  Though we didn’t fulfill the walking guide’s itinerary for our last day in Budapest, ruining a take of Die Hard, being hustled off a major European bridge by Hungarian police, and witnessing a live mob scene (complete with three-piece cream suits, a roaring helicopter, and a damsel in a scarlet dress) made for an exciting final day anyway.   



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