One thing I like about traveling solo is meeting like-minded people from all over the world. During my 10 day trip to Hungary and Greece last summer, I came across several amazing travelers and locals. One of them is a student from Australia who’s doing some programs in Hungary and the rest of Europe. We decided to meet and visit the House of Terror, a museum housing exhibits about the fascist and communist regimes in 20th century Hungary. But we ended up exploring a few more attractions in the city, particularly the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, the Heroes’ Square , the National Museum and the Central Market.
The House of Terror is pretty much like the KGB Headquarter which I luckily visited in Riga, Latvia. The museum in Budapest also serves as a memorial to the people who died and sacrificed during the reign of the Nazis and the Soviets in the country during the 1900s. A member of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, the House of Terror was established in 2002, about a decade after the decline of the Soviet occupation. More info about the museum, tickets and opening hours, here: http://www.terrorhaza.hu/
At the end of the road where the House of Terror lies is another famous attraction in the city, the Heroes’s Square. There stands the iconic monument complex of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars, significant national leaders, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On each side of the square are the Kunsthalle Budapest (Art gallery) and the Museum of Fine Arts.
A few more steps and we reached the City Park, a 302 – acre public park where one can find the Municipal Botanical and Zoological garden, Grand Circus, Amusement Park, Vajdahunyad Castle, museums, and the Széchenyi Thermal/Medicinal Baths. We didn’t plan to bathe, so we just took a quick look and moved further down back into the city center.
It was a really beautiful summer day and I had a wonderful company. So after having a nice, healthy lunch in one of the kiosks at the City Park, we headed back to the city center, spent a few minutes at the National Museum, and walked further on to the Central Market. Now, the Hungarian National Museum was founded in 1802, and features the history of the country, its art and archaeological finds.
The Central Market, or the Great Market Hall, on the other hand, is the oldest and largest indoor market in the city. It is more or less like Divisoria in Manila. There are spices, meats, and pastries stalls on the ground floor, souvenirs, clothes and eateries on the second floor, and wet market on the basement!
The weather in Budapest was as tricky as that in Prague. In the middle of the hot summer day, it started raining and there strong gusts of winds. I came back to the hostel soaked like a little chick. haha, But that was a really nice experience, walking in the rain and such. For dinner, I took my friend to the Hummus Bar! Where else? And before i left the city, I discovered a nice, yellow Catholic Church nearby. The majestic St. Theresa of Avila Church was built between 1801 and 1809. So, that’s where the sound of morning bells was coming from!
All the attractions above in one day! Budapest is a nice city, with plenty to offer. I had a great time exploring the Jewish District, the Castle Complex, and the sites mentioned on this article. And another thing I’d remember Hungary about was the hike in Visegrad with my schoolmate in UPD. It was a quest to find the prison tower of Count Dracula, aka Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), a 15th century prince of Romania! More about that in the next entry. 😉 Cheers!