Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Walk in the Jewish Quarter "Corner View"

I am not Jewish nor did I live during War World II, but I feel a certain responsibility to acknowledge what took place during that time frame.  Jewish presence in Budapest goes back to the 1300 hundreds and in the 1930's the population was around 200,000 less than 5% of the total population. The Jews were well integrated into society unlike in Poland. They held jobs of high prominence and were leaders in many fields such as math and science.  Anti-Jewish sentiment did not escape Hungary and just like the rest of Europe many Jews were either massacred or sent to Auschwitz. I have never been to a Jewish Synagogue.  It was lovely!  I saw many similarities in it's design to the Catholic cathedrals throughout Europe.  I was surprised by it's grandeur.  I actually wish I would have gone on a tour through the Jewish Quarter or had hired a private guide.  The Jewish Quarter was really easy to walk, but I think I would have benefited by a guide by learning more about this part of Hungarian history. One cannot acknowledge this part of history in Hungary without walking down to the banks of the Danube River to see the shoe memorial.  The shoes along the banks respresent the lives lost to the Arrow Cross who ordered in the years of 1944-1945 Jews to take off their shoes at the edge of the river and then shot them in the back. While every live is precious it was all I could do not to loss it when I saw the shoes of a small toddler.  Heartbreaking!

 tribute to the rubic cube which was invented by a Hungarian

 Street Art

 The ghetto wall

Corner View a weekly gathering around the globe created by Spain Daily then by hosted Francesca and now by me.  Please feel free to join us.  Just leave your link in the comments.  We will stop by and see what is  going on in your corner of the world.  It is up to you, we can do a loose theme as we have for the last couple of weeks or can go to a fixed theme.  If you choose a fixed theme next week's theme is Harvest.  Can someone leave me a theme for the following week in the comments.  Thanks, Kelleyn!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Szechenyi Thermal Baths Budapest, Hungary

An important component of any vacation is time to relax and when in Europe it can often times be hard to find just the right balance between relaxing and the desire to see everything.  If you are anything like me, you want to see it all because flying across the ocean to Europe just doesn't happen everyday.  Years ago, I came across an article about the Szechenyi thermal baths in Budapest, Hungary and I thought it had to be one of the coolest places on the earth.  At the time, I had no plans of going to hungry, but I am glad I had saved that article because truly this place is cool.  It turns out that Budapest is the "City of Baths", so it is the right place to go if you want to go and relax,  We bought our tickets to the bath through a tour company called Viator, but you don't have too.  You can just show up at the door an purchase a ticket to go in.  Our ticket was a package, so it included the entrance fee and provided us with individual changing cabins.  In addition I purchased a 30 minute Swedish massage.  It was wonderful!
 Here are some things you need to know about visiting the bath.
 1) It is super easy to get to through the city subway system.
 2) You can bring your own towel, but if you forget to then you can rent one or buy one there.
 3) Swim caps are required for certain areas.  You can either bring your own, or they have ones you      can rent.
 4) They speak English at this thermal bath.  When we presented our ticket, someone guided us            through the facility and explained where everything was and what we needed to do.  Though be        careful to follow the signs, or you will get more than an eyeful like my friend Lucy.  Oops!
5) The facility is large and there are not a whole lot of guides on the property, so if you schedule a      massage than make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the designated room for massages.
6) Food:  You can bring your own food and drinks or you can enjoy lunch at the cafe.  You can also purchase drink or a light snack there if you don't want to sit down and have lunch.
7) Pools are indoors and outdoors.  Each pool has a different mineral content and tempature.
8) Give yourself time to enjoy!  This is not an activity you can do in an hour!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I Heart Budapest

I have a new found favorite city!  Venice is pretty spectacular, but Budapest is amazing.  The food is fantastic, you don't have nearly the crowds Venice does, and there is so much to do and see. Budapest is made of two cities Buda and Pest and in 1873 they were joined together to make up Budapest.  It is the capitol of Hungary. We arrived in Budapest early in the morning.  After checking into our hotel, we hit the streets making our way to the palace and church by crossing the Chains Bridge.  It was noticeably hotter in Budapest and we opted to take the funicular to the top of the hill. We arrived in time to see the changing of the guards, but don't get any visions of it being anything like Buckingham Palace as it only involved a half dozen guards.  We wondered through a few tourist shops and then over to the church.  What a spectacular view of the city one has from the palace and Matthias church. Given the size of the city and the short amount of time we had to spend their we thought it would be a great idea to do the Hop on Hop off tour of the city.  The tickets are pretty dirt cheap and they also give you discounts on entrance to many other attractions in the city.  Our next stop took us the Vajdahunyad Castle.  So beautiful!  The grounds are pretty and enjoyable to stroll through.  Back on the bus to the city center where we grabbed a bite to eat, did some shopping, and by this time it was time to see the go to a dance performance of folk dancers. We finished our first evening with a cruise along the Danube River. The word stunning doesn't even do seeing the city at night from the river justice!

Stay tuned to see photos of Budapest at Night!