I must say, as a child my dream was to visit Hungary, Turkey and Greece...just because they had such funny names! Coincidence or not that I've seen all those countries in the past several weeks? Some dreams you never let go...
Enough of my ranting, I have found a temporary home in Budapest! Coming in, I had no idea what to expect and the city is quite larger than I would have imagined, but for some reason it feels really comfortable. I can't put it into words, but I feel at home here and like I really fit in, despite my inability to speak Hungarian.
The streets are wide and lined with old time cafes and coffee shops. The buildings are grand and there are a few nice parks and viewpoints. Something about the city makes me feel like I have stepped back in time into a slow paced world where locals drink wine in the grass and spend afternoons wandering streets lined with tall trees and littered with leaves.
The city is actually divided into two parts by the Danube River-Buda and Pest. I am staying in Pest. I spent my first day on a walking tour of Pest and a boat tour down the Danube. My second day, I visited one of the main attractions in Budapest-the thermal baths. People come from all around the world for the "healing waters."
My day at the baths was an interesting and impressive experience. There is an elaborately designed building with a huge courtyard where the baths are. There are two main outdoor baths with about 12 smaller indoor pools. Each pool contains different minerals recommended to treat various illnesses. I mostly enjoyed jumping in and out of each one, experiencing the different colored water, scents and temperatures.
It was a wonderfully relaxing experience after a few busy days! To top things off, I scored a $5 ticket and spent my evening at the Ballet!
It has been two days now, and I think I know my way around the city pretty well. There are still a few things on my list to do, but mostly I am excited to take things slow, wander the streets and absorb the Hungarian culture. Although there are tons of sites to see, this is really a people city rather than an itinerary city. I plan on doing a little writing, eating some falafel from my favorite hummus bar and seeing where the day takes me.