We were flattered when Global Basecamps (a company that focuses on sustainable travel) recently asked us to contribute to its blog. Here is a link to the piece we submitted (“Bathing with and without Swimsuits in Budapest’s Thermal Waters”). As we’ve blogged, Budapest is one of our favorite cities. The thermal bath scene there was definitely a highlight of our visit. If you enjoy the post, please “like” or “share” it!
For Jude, the best part of visiting Budapest was definitely going on a pony. Jude and I were hanging out at a small petting zoo in City Park (while mom soaked in one of the city’s thermal baths nearby) when we saw a little girl (maybe 3 or 4) taking a pony ride. Jude was captivated, but didn’t want to get too close as he has always been scared of large animals. When she was finished, I told him, “Now it’s Jude’s turn.” “No!” he screamed. Sensing that he would have a change of heart, I picked him up while the screaming continued, and placed him on the pony. I had to wave off the woman in charge who gestured in surprise that I would put a screaming child on top of her pony. Sure enough, the screaming quickly subsided and Jude ended up loving the experience. He talks about it still pretty much constantly, and even did a second ride to show mom how brave he had been after she got out of the bath.
Paprika is ubiquitous in Hungary, and comes in many different variations (certainly, many more than I’m used to seeing at home), from mild and sweet to very hot. While visiting Budapest, we made three trips to the Great Market Hall and I spent a lot of time looking at the different kinds of paprika sold there. I asked one vendor the difference between two types of spicy paprika she was selling, thinking it was the level of heat, and she told me instead that the peppers were grown in different areas of Hungary, each with its own unique flavor.
Here is a photo we took last night (shot from the Pest side of the Danube) during our walk back to our rental apartment in Budapest’s 13th District. The photo shows “Shoes on the Danube Promenade,” a memorial to Hungarian Jews shot to death and thrown into the river by militiamen belonging to the Hungarian fascist party (the Arrow Cross) at the end of World War II. The shoes, all period appropriate and cast of iron, represent the shoes left behind by the victims.
We are getting a lot of interesting WWII history on our trip. We found this memorial, though, as affecting (and chilling) as anything we have seen to date.
(In the background is the Chain Bridge, which links Pest with Buda. The bridge was originally built in 1849, virtually destroyed by the Red Army during the Siege of Budapest in winter 1945, and then rebuilt and reopened in 1949.)