Monday, 28 January 2013

Budapest - sights and spellings

It's been a long but fruitful day in Budapest today. First we went up
Gellert Hill by bus then by foot to see the impressive Citadel which withstood many sieges. From there we walked down through snowy fields to the river, and on to the Buda castle and palace quarter from where we had wonderful, but somewhat hazy, views of the city.

On top of the mountain is a 700 year old basilica and the "fishermen's bastion" - the section of the old wall defended by fishermen - with its fantastic fairy-tale towers and turrets (see pix 1, 2 and 3). Part of the old fortifications now houses the very elegant Halaszbastya restaurant (the 2nd & 3rd "a" should have an accent which I can't include here).

We crossed the Chain Bridge, went into the St Stephen's Basilica (that's the Stephen as in ... On the feast of Stephen), saw the facade and foyer of the Opera House, and the Great Synagogue - 2nd largest to the biggest in New York.

Dinner was a filling but simple meal of Hungarian Goulash soup, a local wine and a coffee with a slice of delicious Dobo cake. The cafe was simply called "Anna" which was one of the few names we can read on signs. Hungarian words frequently include accents above the letter a, double dots and little "v" marks above letters making them look strange to our eyes. Tomorrow we hope to visit Vajdahunyad castle, swim at the Szechenyi Gyogyfurdo outdoor thermal spa baths, and attend an organ recital. Names of places near us include: "Szabadsad hid" and Bajcsy-Zsilinszky. For us the signage illustrates how different the Hungarian language is to us.

Tomorrow we will take our bathers (swim suits) to the pool but are not sure if that is the custom. If could be an interesting morning!

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