Tuesday, June 17, 2014

First Day!

Today was our first official day in Budapest!  We started our day off with breakfast at the hotel.  Szilvia told us the day before that breakfast is the largest meal in Hungary, and is taken very seriously.  We saw why after seeing our buffet selection.  There was a big selection of ham and turkey, although some of the selection looked and tasted a little questionable.  I found it interesting that the coffee at the table was VERY dark, almost like straight espresso.  There was also a wide variety of cheese and bread that was available.  The weirdest thing at the breakfast buffet by far though was the warm milk.

After our breakfast we followed Szilvia to a Jewish synagogue which was the 2nd largest of its kind in the world.  There was an interesting monument for the Holocaust victims that was an upsidedown menorah in the shape of a weeping willow tree. On each branch there were metal leaves with the victim's names etched on the leaf.  Outside of the synagogue was another metal monument depicting an angel coming down to save a fallen victim.  Around this time is when one of our group members, Gabbi, had to go back to the hotel from feeling sick.  Hopefully she feels a lot better tomorrow!

After that we walked to the underground railway system which took us to the Hero's Square where Sylvia told us about the past political history and all the leaders that were on the statues.  Walking around a little more we came across a swimming pool that was pretty fancy, and then we made our way back onto the railway and then to a bus which took us along the Danube River and past the Parliament building.

We ended up at the central market where there was souvenir merchants (a lot of leather goods!) and a few restaurants to eat at.  The group split up to go eat, and most of us left the market to do that.  All of the guys went to a restaurant called the Old Market Cafe which had a variety of mostly Hungarian pasta and chicken dishes.  After lunch we met up with Galen, a Northwest grad studying in Budapest.  He followed our next stop which was Memento Park.  Here is where Szilvia explained to us that Stalin, communism, and red stars are all sore subjects in Hungary and should not be spoken of.  She did however give quite a bit of praise to Vladimir Lenin!  The park was filled with a good amount of statues that depicted a more recent political past than Hero's Square did.  This concluded our schedule for the day, but the day is definitely not over yet.  Tonight most of us are going on a river cruise on the Danube which should be a great time to relax and enjoy some beautiful sights.  I got quite a few good pictures posted below of our travels day!


Jewish synagogue

Holocaust victim memorial

Other Holocaust memorial

Hero's Square

The whole gang!  (minus Ashley C. and Gabbi )

Panoramic view of Hero's Square

Outside the market

Inside the market

Liberty Bridge

Me posing all tough next to my buddy Lenin

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