Since we did SO much on our first full day in Budapest we were able to take the next several days easy which was much needed after the whirlwind of the past two weeks. One day we went to the Szechenyi Roman Baths. Roman and Turkish baths are huge in Budapest and since we had already gone to a Hammam in Madrid we decided to enjoy the largest and most famous Roman Bath in Budapest.
To get there we took the historic Metro Line 1, which is an experience in itself. It is the 3rd oldest railway in the world, built in 1894 and is a UNESCO world heritage site on its own. The stations transport you to another era but the metro runs very efficiently.
Metro Line 1 was built to take people out of the city to the Szechenyi baths and so that’s what we did. The baths are similar to Glen Ivy but much cheaper and not in as good of condition. They also have a very distinct smell though not of sulfur – it is more of a rusty smell. Most of them are very hot too, which with the 90 -100 degree weather was not as pleasant as it would be in the winter. Still it was a lot of fun and there were bachelor and bachelorette parties there enjoying the sunshine, drinks, and Roman style.
We also went to Heroes’ Square, which is a HUGE square that actually has their Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as a large spire that is their millennium monument. It was a pretty cool site to see but with no shade we couldn’t spend much time there.
One afternoon we strolled down Andrassy Avenue, which is kind of like the Champs-Elysees of Budapest. There were tons of shops and restaurants and beautiful buildings. There was also the House of Terror Museum – it is a very unique building and explores the two periods of Terror in Budapest’s history.
Another major site on Andrassy Avenue is the Budapest Opera House, a really beautiful building built over one hundred years ago.
Another day we went to the Central Market – the cleanest and most spacious European market we’ve been in so far. We grabbed a Langos there for lunch – a Hungarian specialty of fried dough, garlic, sour cream, onion and cheese – it was absolutely delicious!
We also went to the Grand Synagogue or Dohany Street Synagogue. After all the beautiful, grand and amazing churches, basilicas, and cathedrals we were really interested in seeing a synagogue. Inside the synagogue was beautiful and looked incredibly similar to a lot of the churches we’ve seen however the chandeliers were very unique and Drew had to wear a yarmulke.
Being more hungry for Hungary we also tried a tradition dessert known in English as the chimney cake. It is dough wound around a wooden spool, baked and then dipped in your favorite topping – chocolate sprinkles or nuts – we had cinnamon and sugar.
I think my favorite thing we did in Budapest though was going on a candlelight dinner cruise on the Danube. The food was great and the views were spectacular!
Budapest is known for its crazy night life so we also wanted to experience a little of that so we went to the famous Szimpla Kert which is a Ruin Bar. A Ruin Bar is basically a bar that was built in a hovel that was never renovated or built back up after WWII and Soviet occupation. The bars are decorated with random things like lamps or in some cases bathtubs. It was a very interesting experience but we felt a little old there.