Trip Log: Budapest, Hungary, 10/27–11/1 (part 1)

We arrived back to Budapest on the 27th, and Melody's conference started on the 28th. This post will cover the first half of our last swing through Budapest. I'll post about the second half soon after we return to Seattle.

 Near-empty train

Near-empty train

We caught our train out of Eger to Füzesabony with no problem, and we got onto the next train, which was pretty empty. It was supposed to leave a bit after 10am, but it just sat on the track. We had noticed many long announcements when we were on the platform, and ends up there was a train workers' strike. Mariá and István (our hosts in Budapest) had told us about them, but said it was an hour or so at a time. We heard that this strike was going to be for two hours, and right at noon the train started up.

After dropping off our bags, we headed to the Hungarian National Museum, which we found to be very enjoyable. In the sub-basement is a Lapidarium which has a huge collection of Roman artifacts including dozens of headstones. More impressive is what appears to be a complete mosaic floor (must have been at least 10x15 feet). Upstairs was an exhibit which traces Hungarian history up through 1990, after the fall of Communism. Again, the collection was very exhaustive and well-presented.

 Túró Rudi dessert

Túró Rudi dessert

That night we got some groceries and also picked up a Túró Rudi, which is sweetened ricotta cheese covered with chocolate. Hungarian kids really like them (and we saw plenty of adults buying them, too) and we found it surprisingly good.

 View from the Chain Bridge

View from the Chain Bridge

The next morning Melody headed off to the Plone conference, and I set out to play tourist. I walked across the Chain Bridge, and that resulted in a great view of the Danube, as well as the Buda (left) and Pest (right) sides. You can see the Parliament building on the right.

 Amphibious bus in the Danube

Amphibious bus in the Danube

In the panorama you'll notice a small yellow dot in the middle. On the way back to the Pest side of the bridge it was a lot closer, and I saw that it was an amphibious bus.

I also went to the Museum of Trade and Tourism, which had an exhibit with posters during the socialist years of Hungary between 1945 and 1989.

I wandered more around City Park in the early afternoon, and saw some of the memorials we skipped the last time, including one for the 1956 revolution. And even though I knew it was there, it was still strange to see a tribue to George Washington in Budapest.

In the late afternoon I headed to the Opera House for a tour. While I shied away from buying photo passes in most places we've visited on the trip (some were priced higher than the actual admission ticket) I did buy one for the Opera House. It's extremely grand, and naturally has built up a lot of history in its 125 years of existence. As you can see in the pictures, we got a chance to play tourists and see what the stage looks like from the boxes. Melody and I crossed paths as I headed back to the room and she was going to the Opera House to se Puccini that night.

I decided to take it easy on the next day, and in the morning headed out to Margaret Island. I hopped on the tram and noticed that even though it normaloly would, it wasn't going to stop on the island due to work on the Margaret Bridge. I got off just before the island and walked onto the bridge, and as you can see, there is indeed a lot of work being done. I wandered around the island and found it to be a very peaceful park where you can really get away from it all.

Continuing with the goal of taking it easy, I spent a good part of the afternoon at a coffee house which provided internet access. You get 90 minutes, but that ended up being enough to upload a few posts.

Melody's second conference day went well, and she met some other people at a ruin bar, which is a bar put up in an abandoned building. You have to walk deep into the building, through some plastic sheeting, and suddenly find yourself in a room with lots of people.