Recently Conde Nast Traveler ranked Budapest the 2nd best city in the world and Vienna the 7th, so I’m delighted to report that I too am in full agreement. What a pleasure to feel the cool Fall weather, view the foliage and stand looking upward in awe at each and every building with the most amazing architecture. Hilary has been a wonderful host filling my time with adventure, sightseeing and meeting wonderful new people.
First photo below is a view of the Parliament buildings where all sorts of construction work is going on around the perimeter. They are constantly maintaining the buildings by cleaning, patching and repairing the walls.
The following two shots are of Fisherman’s Bastian – note the detail on the church roof.
On our first outing we toured the city for over 6 hours from Hilary’s apt. centrally located in the city centre across Chain Bridge, past the funicular to the Palace and Fisherman’s Bastian with incredible views across the Danube of the Parliament building. That evening we attended an Octoberfest celebration at a co-worker’s home in the hills of Buda, which gave me an opportunity to meet some lovely teachers from American International School of Budapest. The following day we went to a local market to do some shopping, have a cup of coffee and then watch the Budapest marathon under the Margrit Bridge and cheer on three of her fellow teachers running in the marathon. There’s something about seeing masses of people in all shapes, sizes, pushing a disabled friend or guiding a blind friend that touches one’s heart and makes you admire such passion, dedication and perserverance. Having completed only three quarters of a marathon I know how grueling the event can be. We completed our day with a hike through the hilly mountains of Budapest in a park where I was able to purchase the famed chimney cake or funnel cake, which my co-worker from Hungary said I must taste. It’s quite interestingly made over hot coals – it’s basically a dough wrapped around a rolling pin type of mechanism and then coated with cinnamon sugar or other options such as cocoa and not sure what the others were as I couldn’t read the Hungarian text.
A closer view of Fisherman’s Bastian
More details to view on the buildings.
On Monday I wandered on my own back to the grand market that was quite busy and closing when we had visited on Sunday. It was filled with food, produce and meat stalls on the ground floor and on the second floor was a huge amount of booths selling all kinds of souvenirs and items from Budapest. I then wandered along Andrassy Street to Heroes Square and the castle and once again gawked at the historical buildings around me. On my fourth day I went into Hilary’s school, American International School of Budapest, which has been in its present location for ten years now and it’s outside of the city set on acres of beautiful hilly land. I was most impressed with their library and IT facility. I turned green with envy when I saw their collection and the amount of Mac computers in the library, the IT rooms and the computer trolleys available for the classrooms. I was able to go to a co-workers home near the school who sold pottery from Poland – great opportunity to start my Christmas shopping.
The next two days I spent in Vienna, traveling by train to get there which I quite enjoyed seeing the Hungarian/Austrian countryside. Hilary and the primary librarian from her school joined me for the first day when we visited Vienna International School and I was able to see a librarian friend who actually presented at St. Andrew’s school for a PYP librarian’s conference in 2005 where we hosted in our new library/IT centre. I spent the night with Ingrid in her lovely chalet style home and she then gave me a whirlwind city tour of Vienna. All in all it was a fabulous holiday and I certainly fell in love with Budapest.
Apologies for all the photos posted, but it was difficult to pick and choose from the hundreds that I took. Additional apologies for the initial large images in this post. I’m still struggling to work out the idiosyncrasies of this blog platform – and don’t ask me why some text is underlined and some is not!