Monday, August 5, 2013

european tour: budapest

" awakening the mind's attention from the lethargy of custom, and directing it to the loveliness and wonders of the world before us; an inexhaustible treasure, but which, in consequence of the film of familiarity and selfish solicitude[,] we have eyes, yet see no, ears that hear not, and hearts that neither feel nor understand."
-Samuel T. Coleridge wrote of Mr. Wordsworth in Biographia Literaria via "The Art of Travel

If I had to describe Budapest in two words, they would be golden and ornate.  Our first views of Budapest were at night, where the entire city is illuminated with a soft golden glow (see above).  The Parliament building, the Royal Palace and the Chain Bridge, which we enjoyed as our final group outing.  Budapest at night is golden, but Budapest during the day is absolutely ornate.  The Parliament building is filled with intricate details and the Hungarian State Opera auditorium is lined with gilded balconies and plush red velvet seats.  

R and I started our tour of the city on the Buda side wandering through the Castle district.  Then made our way down the hill via a secluded, tree-lined path (giving us the perfect opportunity for a selfie with the Chain Bridge).  We were informed that the Parliament building tours can sell out quickly so we headed straight over to the Pest side to secure tickets.  The advice was very true, and I highly recommend buying them online prior if you have a chance.  

Afterwards, it was straight over to the Hungarian State Opera house for their last tour of the day.  I will say that this was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip.  The Opera house is absolutely stunning!  The entire interior is made of hand-carved wood painted in gold.  The. entire. auditorium.  Unlike Vienna, the Budapest Opera house suffered minimal damage during WWII, leaving it in its 19th century original stature.  After the tour of the building, there is a mini performance in one of the intermission rooms.  Having never been to an opera, I was amazed at the power the music can have, even in a short 5 minutes.   

Following the tour and a full day of walking, R and I headed over to the famous New York Cafe for a glass of wine.  Much like the rest of Budapest, the cafe is far from an ordinary coffee shop.  The carved molding, impressionist murals on the ceiling, crystal chandeliers and a live pianist made it another feast for the eyes.  Though, a coffee is more than enough for the price.  With our feet still aching, we had dinner and beers at Italian Garden, a chic, open air restaurant in the city center.     

Our final day in Budapest, we visited Cave Chapel and the market hall for some local shopping.  During our wanderings, we found a local pop-up shop that featured a couple of Hungarian jewelry designers.  Eszterda featured beautiful, handmade dolls on a long, beaded necklace.  It was unique, local and the perfect memento of our European trip.  Another designer, Soie Essentielle, made gorgeous  thread wrapped necklaces and bracelets.  After missing most of the local shops during our trip, it was amazing to see some Hungarian designers at their best and most unique.  

At the end of 15 days, 11 hotels, 6 flights, 4 countries, 250 miles biked and countless miles walked; R and I were both ready to head back to SF and Moz.  We met so many amazing people along the way and will cherish the memories of our first major adventure as a married couple.

Köszönjük for following along on the journey!


  1. Nice trip review, sure it was amazing, next time when you visit Hungary I can recommend you to use online taxi service Kiwitaxi this is the best solution to get somewhere fast and save your time and money, try to and I'm sure you'll like it.

  2. Impressive post, love to visit those sites one day.
    laos tour packages


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