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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Budapest part 3

Budapest, Hungary--is a very interesting city.  It needs to be experienced to be understood-although it would probably take several visits to really get to know it.  Budapest and Hungary have a different feel to it than most cities/countries.  It is difficult to explain why or how it is different.  You will need to visit it yourself to understand what I mean.

 Andrassy ut--one of the major streets in Budapest.
 A bench on the street.  Budapest was once considered 
one of the most cultured cities in Europe.
 Outside of the House of Terror--a museum that is dedicated to the memory of those who were tortured and killed by the Nazi and Communist secret police.
 Wall to remember those who lost their lives during the Nazi occupation 
during WWII and the Communist rule following the war.  The terror 
lasted until 1989 when the Communists were removed from power.
 Museum in Budapest
 Budapest is famous for its hot springs.  There are 123 
of them in the city with more than two dozen public bath houses.
 We visited this bath house.  It has many different pools of varied
temperatures.  As you can tell, the air temperature was cold--below 
freezing--but the water was wonderful.
 Outside pool at the bath house.
 Inside pools
 Two of the inside pools at the bath house.
 Parliament House in Budapest
 Memorial to those who fought for freedom.

 Old building in Budapest
 Street leading to St. Stephen's Basilica
 St. Stephen's Basilica--Stephen was Hungary's first Christian king.
 Alter in St. Stephen's Basilica
 The red marble and the ornate decor make this a truly beautiful building
 This is one of our favorite Churches/Cathedrals
 Simply beautiful
 This jeweled box holds the withered (mummified) hand of St. Stephen.  
Once a year, it is taken out and paraded around the town to honor the old king.
 We ate dinner in this underground restaurant.

Budapest part 2

We took a day trip out to the countryside in Hungary.  The main town that we visited was call Kecskemet.  It was interesting to get out of the big city of Budapest and see what it looked like in the country. 

 Town Hall in Kecskemet
 One of several churches in Kecskemet
 Old building in Kecskemet
 Grand old hotel
 The Hungarians are renowned for their horsemen.
 While in the countryside, we visited a horse farm.
 Notice the whip that this horsemen is using.  
They would crack the whip while running at full speed.
 Rounding up the young horses--mostly yearlings and two-year olds.
 Rounding up the young horses.
 Getting ready for a carriage ride.  This breed of horses are 
also used in the Lipizzaner Stallion shows.  They go 
from dark to light (black to grey to white) as they age.

 Three of the Hungarian horsemen.  Notice that they ride without saddles.
 This horsemen is riding a group of 5 horses--standing on the backs of two of the horses.

 Standing while riding
 Standing while riding--at a full gallop.  Impressive!
 The horses were trained to sit and lay down.
 An unusual chair
 A horse game--capture the flag.
 Even the donkey named Madame Charlotte was trained.
 Taking a turn at cracking the whip.  (She does this quite often at home).

 These are a breed of cattle called Hungarian Grey Cattle.  They 
have been breed for centuries in Hungary.  I have not seen them before.
 The oxen team pulling the wagon.
 Bud had a chance to ride.  It has been a 
long time since he has been on the back of a horse.
 Hungarian goats
 Sparring in the corral
 Two asses posing for the camera
 The Thanksgiving turkey.  Good thing for him that 
he was in Hungary and not in the US on Thanksgiving Day.
 The barn/equipment shed on the horse farm

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thanksgiving in Budapest

This year, we went to Budapest, Hungary for Thanksgiving.  Going in late November, the weather was cold and overcast with fog on most days--but we enjoyed it.

Budapest is the capital of Hungary.  It is located in the center of the Carpathian Basin, built on both sides of the Danube River.  The Romans built a major city here in the 1st century A.D. garrisoned with 10,000 soldiers along with the civilian population.  The Huns (and their famous leader, Attila) settled here after driving the Romans out around the 5th century A.D.  The conquering Magyars made this their home, the final wave led by Arpad and his mounted tribal chiefs arriving in 896.

 Hungary was founded by King Steven in 1000 A.D.  The Mongols burned the town in 1241.  Under King Matthias, Budapest became a major cultural and commercial city in Europe--rivaling cities such as Paris and London.  In 1541, the Turks captured the city and held it for about 150 years.  They were driven out by a combined Christian army from Europe in 1686.  Settlers from Germany mixed with the native Magyars while the country came under Hapsburg rule.

The Austria-Hungarian empire was one of the major powers in Europe.  Budapest was renowned for its culture.  The first underground railway in Europe was built here.  The city was heavily damaged in both world wars--most major buildings were destroyed.  It was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Europe.  The Nazi occupation was followed by the Communist dictatorship supported by the Soviet Union.  The Republic of Hungary was formed in 1989 when they gained their freedom.

 We had heard of the beautiful blue Danube River.  
On a cold, foggy November day, it wasn't very blue.
 Crossing the Chain Bridge (Szechenyl Lanchid).  
There are several bridges crossing the Danube in Budapest.
 Old buildings along the Danube River.
 Looking across the river at the Parliament Building.

 Budapest is actually a city created by combining the old cities of Buda and Pest.  
Buda is on the west side of the Danube River and Pest is on the east side.
 Musician wearing traditional Hungarian attire.
 The hills of Buda looking across the Danube to the flat Pest.
 Matthias Church on Castle Hill--built in the 13th through the 15th centuries.

 Andrassy ut--a major street in Budapest.  The first 
underground railway built in Europe runs under this street.
 Statues of the conquering tribal chiefs

 Heroes Square
 The Parliament Building--built in 1895 to celebrate the Hungarian millennium.
 Street in Budapest

 Bud and his twin
 Mel and her new friend
 St. Istvan's (Steven's) Basilica
 The Royal Castle
 View from the Fisherman's Bastion
Fisherman's Bastion--the old fish market