I must admit I was a little reluctant to go to Budapest. It was never a place I had really thought about visiting when I thought of European cities, but I’m so glad we went. It is a beautiful city and the people are very friendly. It isn’t huge so you can see most everything in a couple days. If you want to go I would suggest adding a couple other nearby cities to round out your itinerary.
Anyway we took an early flight on Friday morning and had most of the day there. We decided to go to lunch at Great Market Hall. The first floor is all various produce, bakery, meat, and cheese stands and the second floor has some restaurants and souvenir type items. We had lunch upstairs and sampled some authentic Hungarian cuisine, which was delicious. I am not a huge sausage person, but I think both Sanjay and I agreed that the Hungarian sausages were the best we’ve had since being here. After lunch we went over to Buda. Side note: Budapest was once two cities, Buda and Pest. Buda is the hillier side and Pest is flat. They are separated by the Danube. Moving on. After doing a little research it seemed that we should go to the top of Gellert Hill to get the best view of the city. They fail to mention that it is quite a trek, particularly if you have a stroller, and there are stairs. We pressed on. Karina slept most of the way up and Asha was a real trooper. She climbed all the way up without being carried. She was rewarded with a popsicle at the top. The views were amazing, as promised, so it was worth the haul. Next we walked over to Castle Hill, which was a good 1.5 miles away and involved more stairs, but it was a lovely little area. It reminded me a little of a Tuscan hill town. This is where St. Matthais Church is located. It is a gorgeous church with a color titled roof. There are several buildings in Budapest with these colorful mosaic roofs and they are very pretty. We did get rained on while there, but we made the best of it. We walked back to our hotel and crossed Chain Bridge. We opted to take a cab to dinner after all that walking.
The next day we stayed on the Pest side. We started out at City Park where we had planned to see some of the famous Budapest baths, but as we were walking around we happened upon an old medieval castle that we did not realize was part of the park. There were some people dressed in period attire and some playing traditional folk music. It was very cool, but near the end of the little festival area there appeared to be a carnival, not wanted to get sucked in we quickly turned around. We made our way to the baths and looked around. It was interesting to see, but this particular bath did not seem all that impressive. It was like a giant pool and couple of hot tubs in a beautiful building. We also walked through Heroes Square which has some pretty impressive statues. Next we went to the House of Terror. No this is not a MGM ride. It is a museum showing Hungary’s role in WWII and their subsequent control by the Soviet Union. It was really quite interesting. It didn’t really mean much to the kids, but Sanjay and I enjoyed it. We then went back to our hotel for brunch. We had a reservation in the “Kid’s Corner”. This was the greatest brunch ever! The “Kid’s Corner” was not just activities for the kids, but supervised activities. I actually got to eat a meal and have a real conversation. Amazing! The food was really great too and all the drinks were included. I think it worked out to be about $40 per person and the kids were free! After taking full advantage of the 3 hr brunch, Asha did every single craft available, we went a boat tour. I spent most of the tour walking up and down the back of the boat with Karina, but it was beautiful. The Danube by Budapest is so nice and they have done a great job of building up the waterfront. Most of the well known buildings can all be seen from the river. When we got back we walked over to take a closer look at the parliament building and then went to a “ruin” bar for a quick dinner. We went back to the hotel and grabbed a little dessert in the executive lounge, mostly for the view. The lounge was almost on the top floor and had a large outdoor terrace with fantastic views of the city.
Again I’m very glad we decided to go. I think this goes without saying, but traveling with little kids is a whole different ballgame. These trips we’ve taken here have really been the first sightseeing type vacations we’ve taken with the girls. We have gone to the lake or the beach, but those are much more relaxed. These trips while fun are also tiring and not without tantrums and whining. I have missed the ability to go to a nice dinner and enjoy the nightlife a little, but Sanjay and I will just have to take some solo trips. There is also something to be said for experiencing these things with kids. They have so much excitement and they see things through different eyes. Also we are taking the adventure together, the good, beautiful, bad, and ugly. I know that they won’t really remember doing this, but I will. While I will remember some of the epic tantrums I’ll be able to laugh about them. Mostly I will think about all the time we got to spend together and the amazing things we saw. Even though they will not remember I think it will instill in them a desire to travel and take adventures. I know that having done all of these things we will be less apprehensive about traveling with them in the future. I believe this is the being of a lifetime of exploring the world together and making great memories.
As much fun as it’s been we are taking a little break this weekend because it is tiring. We’ll just be hanging out here in Berlin and taking it easy 😉