December 15, 2018

Exploring Budapest, Hungary

Hello friends! I’ve already detailed my summer adventures in Austria and Slovenia on the blog, so now I’d like to share with you my experiences in the incredible city of Budapest, Hungary. The weather was fortunately in our favor the two days that we went exploring. Now that it’s wintertime, I can’t help but miss the summer heat a little bit!

As always, our Trafalgar tour guide was generous in filling us in on the background history of Hungary as well as its modern status in the world. The country came from the merging of two tribes: the Huns and the Magyars. Attila is still the most popular name there which comes from the most feared Hun in history!

In Eastern Europe, Hungary is one of the top countries renowned for its food. The country primarily grows lavender, sugar, beets, and paprika. Paprika is used not really for spice but to add vibrant colors to their traditional foods. By routine, Hungarians layer their dishes in order to get them through the harsh winters.

According to our tour guide, Dean Smart, Hungarians do not eat to live, they live to eat. They have a sweet tooth which is why they especially love cake. They usually have a second breakfast an hour and a half after their first breakfast. Dinner is slowly starting to become their main meal. Goulash Soup, also known as cattle herder soup, is a hearty beef soup that originated from medieval Hungary and is still their most popular dish today. They have plenty of land to run farms and let their animals graze. Intriguingly, there’s a unique kind of cow species in Hungary that isn’t found anywhere else in the world!

In size, Hungary is bigger than Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Croatia. The Hungarian alphabet has 44 letters and many double letters. Because their ancient language is in the world's top five most difficult languages to learn, native Hungarian students have to speak fluently in another language by high school and speak two other languages to pass university. “Szia” (the “z” is silent) means both “hello," and “goodbye” in Hungarian. It’s basically like saying “See ya!”, but really fast!

My favorite Hungarian phrase is “kussi kussi,” which is an informal way of saying “thank you.” The bus driver for our whole Eastern Europe tour was Hungarian, so once I learned the phrase, I’d say kussi kussi to him at every stop which I could tell meant a lot to him. Every time that I said it, I couldn’t help but slightly giggle afterwards since the phrase sort of sounds like “chu-ci chu-ci” or “kissy kissy” to me lol!

For those who love the old "Get Smart" TV show (me included!), Maxwell Smart’s family comes from Hungary. Some famous inventions by Hungarians include plasma TVs, the noiseless safety match, holograms, and the Rubix Cube. The inventor, Ernő Rubik, wanted to teach his students about combinations which led him to create the famous 3-D combination puzzle. I remember one of my friends from back in high school was so gifted at finishing the Rubix Cube that he always beat everyone else’s record!

When it comes to morals, Hungary is very strong on family values and respecting elders. According to our tour guide, they are a very forgiving and loving nation. They suffered the bloodiest war in Europe which was the Thirty Years' War. At midday, European churches endearingly ring the bells to show their unity since 1456.

Concerning the history of Budapest, when Attila’s younger brother came to capture the land now known as Hungary, he named the city after his own name: Buda. Unfortunately, Attila was not happy about this, so he challenged Buda to a duel and ended up killing his younger brother.

A lot of what is seen today in Budapest dates back to the second half of the 1800s. The Buda side is very hilly whereas the Pest side is completely flat. We learned that Pest is considered to be way cooler so everyone wants to live there despite it being more expensive.



On the Pest side, we observed The Shoes on the Danube Bank Memorial. It represents the abandoned shoes of the Jews who were shot and pushed into the Danube by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen during World War II. It was sobering to learn about and reminded us all of the tragic history of World War II, and the persecution that the Jews suffered in Europe not too long ago.

One of my favorite tourist attractions in the Hungarian capital is the remarkable Buda Castle. I love the ceramic tiles that form flowers and other unique patterns on Matthias Church. By the church is an enjoyable overlook of the city.

For outfit details, click here!

The Hungarian House of Parliament particularly blew me away with its stunning and very intricate Neo-Gothic architecture. The Parliament has 600 rooms with gold and marble interiors. Our tour guide informed us that it is the second largest parliament building in Europe. Its architecture was inspired by the Westminster Parliament, and the construction lasted a total of 17 years.

We first saw the parliament building during our nighttime boat cruise, and it was enchanting to see it all lit up in gold. The next day, we had the joy of walking through its grand interiors.

The last leg of our tour was walking through St. Stephen's Basilica. It's beyond words to describe how marvelous the ceilings are, so I will simply provide the pictures without any more commentary!

Jesus is our High Priest, and the only way to God. Put your trust in Him!

Two days in Budapest for our Trafalgar-guided tour were certainly not enough to truly experience all of the city, but I'm very grateful that we were able to fit in visiting so many amazing places in a short period of time!

I hope you've enjoyed coming along for my adventure in Budapest. To give you a hint at what I'll be blogging about next, let's just say that I'll be sharing my adventures in yet another capital, but this time, one that's very close to home! 😉


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