A Travellerspoint blog



I left Budapest and took the train to Bratislava, got the tram to just outside the Old Town and walked to my hotel in the Old Town. My room at the Skaritz Hotel was beautiful and comfortable. I got settled and walked around the square and the streets.


The onion-domed St. Michael's Gate, the last tower of the city wall. The streets are lined with shops and cafes.


The Main Square with the Old Town Hall




Posted by lcostet 22:12 Archived in Slovakia Tagged bratislava slovakia

Budapest Day 5


On my last day in Budapest, I decided to dive in (literally) for the total Budapest experience, and went to the Szechenyi Baths, a huge bath complex located in the City Park. I purchased a ticket from my hotel, and took the metro there. When I got there I was given a rubberized wrist band that allowed me entry into the complex and my personal changing cabin. Although it locks, I went there with just the bare essentials, and left no valuables in the cabin. It was the first time I was without my passport the whole trip. I had not brought a bathing suit, so I rented a suit and towel, expecting a 1970's communist-era model, but I got what looked like a new black Speedo-type one piece that fit me perfectly. I was shown to my numbered cabin, changed into my suit, and made my way to the outdoor pools. Inside there are thermal baths, but I chose to use the outdoor heated pools which have some massage jets and chess. There was a group of men playing chess.

I stayed in the water for about an hour and a half. The warm water felt very relaxing after two weeks of travel. Then I got back to my cabin, changed, and returned my suit and towel for my deposit. All in all it went very smoothly. Its a pretty efficient system.


I had salad and goulash soup back at my hotel, and called it a night.

Posted by lcostet 21:52 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest hungary

Budapest Day 4


After a morning walk around Deak Square, I took the bus to Monument Park just southwest of the city where a park has been created with some of the communist-era statues that were torn down and discarded after the fall of the communist regime in 1989.

East German manufactured two-stroke engine Trabant car which sometimes took six to eight years for delivery due to the scarcity of materials.


Massive Communist worker statue charging into the future, clutching the Soviet flag.


Vladimir Lenin in his most famous pose.


Giant statue of soldier holding the Soviet flag.


Marx and Engels statue at entry.


The landmark Gerbeaud pastry shop where I stopped in for apple strudel with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream, and a coffee latte. Delicious!




T-shirts for sale in a store along the pedestrian boulevard Vaci utca.


After walking the stretch of Vaci utca, I came to the Great Market Hall which houses produce stands, bakeries, butcher stalls, and lots of paprika.



Then I took the metro to the House of Terror, the former headquarters of the Arrow Cross (Nazi-occupied Hungary's version of the Gestapo) and the AVO/AVH (communist Hungary's secret police), which is now a museum. The Arrow Cross executed hundreds in the basement of this building.
Notice the overhang on the building in the photo below, which casts a shadow of the word "TERROR" onto the building.


Photos of the victims line the outside of the building with lit candles in memorium.


Posted by lcostet 00:02 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest hungary

Budapest Day 3


Woke up to a rainy day in Budapest, and thought I'd go to a museum, but I found out that most everything was closed because it was All Saint's Day. So I took the metro to Hero's Square which is at the end of Pest's great boulevard, Andrassy ut, and at the entrance to the City Park. In its center stands the Millennnium Monument, and around the base are equestrian statues of historical Hungarian Magyars. In front of the pillar is the Hungarian War Memorial.


Then I got the metro back to the Hungarian State Opera House for the 3:00 tour of this gorgeous opera house with its marble and frescos decor, and gorgeous gilded interior.


Posted by lcostet 23:53 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest hungary

Budapest Day 2



Below is a memorial to the martyrs of the 1956 Uprising.


I visited the Hungarian Parliament building on a German guided tour (the English tours were sold out). It has an opulent interior including an elegant main entryway, a legislative chamber, and the Hungarian crown, under an ornate dome.


“The Flame of Revolution,” with an eternal flame, placed here in 1996 to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising.


Lining the embankment of the Danube is the Holocaust Monument consisting of 50 pairs of bronze shoes. This commemorates the Jews who were killed when the Nazi's puppet government, the Arrow Cross came to power in 1944. While many Jews were sent to concentration camps, the Arrow Cross simply massacred some of them right at the embankment, shooting them and letting their bodies fall into the Danube.


Then I took a tour of the Dohany Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe, and the second largest synagogue in the world.


In 1944, the Nazis established the Jewish ghetto there, and up to 20,000 Jews took refuge in the synagogue complex which became part of the Jewish ghetto, but 7,000 did not survive the winter and their bodies are buried in the courtyard next to the synagogue. One of Art Garfunkel's relatives is among the victims (see the stone to the farthest left).


Behind the synagogue is the Tree of Life sculpture which was built on the site of mass graves of those killed by the Nazis. The willow makes an upside-down menorah, and each individual leaf lists the name of a victim.


Posted by lcostet 13:27 Archived in Hungary

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