Budapest or Bust

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Road Trip!

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These weeks in Vienna have been flying by and it’s definitely time for a weekend away.  So let’s go to Budapest!   Hungary is cool.  Castles, palaces, basilicas, goulash, the possibilities to see and do new things are endless.  They also smoke a lot there, and make homemade potato chips on a stick.

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Hungary is proud of a culture that is a bit more gritty and a little less refined than classical Vienna.  Our apartment from Air BnB was right in the middle of everything, complete with soaring ceilings, solid walls of carved stone, doorways that creaked like an old tomb, and four flights of mosaic-tiled stairs.

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One of these days I will remember to check for an elevator when I book an apartment!  But until then we are thankful to be shamelessly able-bodied, and it makes for some nice pictures.

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We did everything we could possibly do in Budapest in 36 hours.  The weather was sunny and almost warm after this past month of rain, which inspired us to start our adventure with a climb to Buda Castle and the Fishermans’ Bastion.

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The old stone walls oozed medieval history.  It was truly like stepping back in time to wander through streets that have been home to Romans, Ottomans, Christians, Crusaders, and the great Hungarian Empire.  Now it is lined with shops and restaurants, and busloads of eastern European tourists.  Dede felt right at home translating the menu.

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And if they’re selling mulled wine and cinnamon donuts in March, we can’t wait to see what it will be like when we come back at Christmas!

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Jake and Eli were pretty excited about the chance to grind and flatten Souvenir Coins.  Collecting coins has turned out to be a good way to bribe them to go sight-seeing.  They also like climbing around castles.

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From the top of the castle we could look over to Pest and see Parliament, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Olympic Park, the Danube, and miles of red rooftops stretching into the distance.  Eli was trying to braid my hair to keep it from flopping around so much in the wind.

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We could also see the bridges and decided it would be fun to walk across the famous Chain Bridge.  I love having Mimi along to be excited to take long walks with me!  It was really windy down there.

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For lunch we stopped at a Hungarian restaurant where the ladies in the kitchen wore dark jeans with dishcloths hanging from the pockets, and leaned over old stoves with their sleeves pushed up to stir steamy pots of soup.  The tables all had red-checked tablecloths and the beer came out cold, and we agreed that Hungarian beer is so much better than German or Austrian beer.

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Onion soup, pork cutlets, and french fries were on the menu, but Eli ordered a crispy leg of goose with dark red cabbage and ate the whole thing.

Still an odd child but we love him anyway.

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As the sun was starting to set, we went back to our apartment to take a break and play some parlor games.  It is always a welcome site to find the Captain waiting for us at Happy Hour.  No matter what country we find ourselves in, he always seems to be there!

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How does that bottle disappear so fast anyway?  No matter, the nice thing is that it makes Pringles taste delicious, and we all stop worrying about the difference between Farkel and Yahtzee.  Dinner reservation?  Oh yes, let’s do that!

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Our day in Budapest has been perfect.  Mike and I think a lot has changed since we were here in 2005.  More to see and say with signs in English, more brightness in the people we see on the street, and bright yellow street cars everywhere make it easy to get around.

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Although we still couldn’t make heads or tails of the Hungarian language, wow, that is a tough one!

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I think there could be no better weekend in Budapest, ever.

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