S: B U D A P E S T - V I E N N A - P R A G U E - K U T N A H O R A - S Z E N T E N D R E N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 2
FC: Budapest | November 2012
2: We visited Rosie in Budapest while she was on a study abroad program at Corvinus University. Her dorm was at Raday Utca 45 - we found a beautiful apartment to rent at number 40, right across the street. | Raday Utca is famous as Budapest's restaurant street. After settling in and visiting Rosie's dorm, we went for dinner at Pink Cadillac, where the vegetarian option was bacon pizza. | Raday Utca 40
3: The giant jar of peanut butter that Rosie asked us to bring from home was long gone by the time we left! Any street that has a fork and spoon as its sign looks like a great place to live! | ...only a few minutes' walk from the University and the Central Market
5: On our first full day in Budapest, we took the tram to Vorosmarty Square to join a free walking tour that took us around Pest before crossing the Chain Bridge over the Danube to Buda and climbing up Castle Hill to the Presidential Palace and Matthias Church. After the tour we ate a delicious lunch of Gypsy Pork and Fried Fish, then went back to look inside the Matthias Church and walk around Fisherman's Bastion. Then to spare Alice's knee, we took the funicular railway back down the steep hill and crossed back over the river to Pest. After touring the Basilica, we walked back to Vorosmarty Square where the Christmas Market was by now well under way. On our way home, Rosie took us for our first taste of Langos: deep fried dough smothered in garlic and sour cream.
6: Matthias Church
8: Fisherman's Bastion
10: St. Stephen' s Basilica
11: Inside the Basilica (which isn't really a basilica, but that's a long story...) lies the mummified hand of St. Stephen, the first King of Hungary, who died in 1038.
14: The Central Market is right next door to Corvinus University, just perfect for a quick lunch in between classes
16: The Citadel
18: COMMUNISM WALKING TOUR The guides told us what was REALLY going on last time I was here, in 1982!
19: Just as we entered in the square, the Thai Ambassador arrived to witness a wreath laying ceremony | Heroes' Square
20: Dinner at Puder
21: Tucked away in a basement with no outside signage is the coolest tea house ever, where you can lounge on floor cushions, climb along a cat-ladder into a treehouse or crawl through a 3-foot high doorway into one of the hidden nooks and crannies. The delicious tea is only one small part of the appeal. | Tea at Sirius Teahaz
22: Museum of Applied Arts
23: AnyTime is Pastry Time | Full size dinner plate >>>
25: We took a train to Vienna for the weekend, arriving in time to check into our hotel, take the metro into the city center, look around the Stephansdom and climb up the 343 steps of the South tower before dusk. The exhausting climb up the tiny (two way!) spiral staircase was all worthwhile when we saw the views from the top. | Stephansdom
26: Vienna By Moonlight | As night fell, we walked through the brightly lit streets to the Rathausplatz to visit the Christmas Market, or Christkindlmarkt. We stopped on the way for Wienerschnitzel (Octopus Salad for the vegetarian) followed by a delicious Apple Strudel to share.
29: Hundertwasserhaus "Dieses Haus ist meine Seele" - Friedensreich Hundertwasser, 1986
30: We took the overnight train from Budapest to Prague, arriving just after 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day (for us!) It was still dark when we left the Metro station, but dawn slowly broke as we made the steep climb up to Prague Castle. | Prague
31: St. Vitus' Cathedral and Prague Castle
32: C H A R L E S B R I D G E - K A R L U V M O S T
33: o l d t o w n s q u a r e - s t a r o m e s t s k e n a m e s t i
34: SEDLEC OSSUARY The bones of between 40,000 and 70,000 plague victims decorate the chapel interior
35: Thanksgiving Dinner in Kutna Hora We took a 90-minute bus ride through the Czech countryside to the medieval town of Kutna Hora, where a tavern serving typically Czech food and home-brewed beer proved a great choice for a memorable dinner. Rosie had Roast Pork, Mom had Beef in Lemon and Cream Sauce with Dumplings, Alice had Fried Cheese. | "Everything has an end except a sausage, which has two"
36: Between the 13th and 16th centuries, this was the second wealthiest town in the country, thanks to its silver mines. The Italian Court was a Royal residence and a mint for silver coins. Most of the Gothic and Baroque buildings are still intact. Kutna Hora is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. | Kutna Hora,Czech Republic
37: Cathedral of St. Barbara, Kutna Hora
38: Christmas Market at Namesti Miru | We took the Metro out to Namesti Miru (Peace Square) to visit the only market that was open in November. We ate delicious sausages and freshly-madeTrdelnik rolled pastries. I bought a mug and some glass Christmas ornaments.
39: Twelve hours after arriving in Prague, we signed up for a three-hour walking tour of the city by night - are we insane? Our guide Katerina thought so! | Prague by Night
40: We three were the only tour participants that night - so Katerina gave us a personal tour with fascinating insights into Prague's past. Places we'd visited in daylight took on a completely different feel by night, accompanied by tales of alchemy, astrology, mad Kings and satanic pacts.
41: After our tour ended, we enjoyed drinks outside a bar by the Astronomical Clock before catching the midnight train back to Budapest. In eighteen thrilling, non-stop hours, we had seen as much of the Czech Republic as it was physically possible to see, making the most of every single minute.
42: Szentendre | On our final afternoon in Budapest, we took the train along the Danube to Szentendre. We strolled through the streets admiring the architecture, enjoyed a delicious meal in an oddly ostrich-centric restaurant and shopped for locally-made souvenirs including a hand-painted plate and a carved candle holder.