Best of Budapest

After an awesome week in the Czech Republic Bethany and I set out on the road again toward Budapest. We didn’t really know what to expect, but had heard from friends that this city would be the best part of our time in eastern Europe. Here are a few highlights from our 5 days in Budapest

Szechenyi Thermal Baths

As we walked toward the bath house through the City Park Bethany joked that we’d be spending the afternoon with a bunch of hairy hungarian men. She was right on that one, but our surroundings made it easy to look past the clientele. The yellow bath house buildings had enormous columns and greek style statues surrounded the outdoor pool area. People were laying out in the sun enjoying cold hungarian beers, and a group of older men were standing around an inflatable table playing chess in the pool. Inside we swam our way through the different mineral baths ranging in temperature from 55 – 105 degrees fahrenheit.

BathsBaths 2

Great Market Hall 

We approached the market from a pedestrian boulevard and could see the building from several blocks away. It’s an immense building – the kind you can’t get a good picture of unless you stand far back. Inside it’s the same: Three floors with countless food vendors. We found some snacks at a hungarian pastry shop, and spend a couple hours browsing through the rest of the market.

Buda Market 1Buda Market 2

Coffee: Book Cafe

We heard about a cool bookstore and cafe about 10 minutes from our Apartment in Budapest and decided to check it out. We walked over in the shade of the trees that line Andrassy Boulevard past several high-end boutiques until we found the Alexander bookstore. The automatic sliding doors opened to a polished black marble floor and modern glass bookshelves. We found the cafe and could not have been more surprised: The soaring, painted ceiling, chandeliers, and relaxing sound of music from a piano were a complete contrast to the contemporary store downstairs.

Book Cafe

Chain Bridge

We walked across the chain bridge to Buda on our last night in town. The bridge towers and Budapest castle across the river were beautifully illuminated. Walking back the sound of passing cars was replaced by energetic music and voices from a crowd of locals by a pop-up bar on the bank of the Danube. We walked down, ordered a couple drinks from the bar and found a spot to sit by the edge of the river. We sipped our drinks and I couldn’t help but think about how different this experience was from our usual Sunday evening in New York.

Chain Bridge 1Chain Bridge 2

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