While I won’t be venturing back to the States until mid-September, most of the other friends I’ve made on this program will have left to go home as soon by the time this post goes up. Taking advantage of Prague’s central location during our last weekend on the program, several groups of us took the opportunity to travel to Budapest, Hungary!
As silly as it sounds, three different groups of students traveled separately and each with a different itinerary to the same city…on the same weekend. Three students flew out of Prague shortly after our classes ended on Friday and spent the weekend at a giant music festival held in on of Budapest’s thermal bath complexes. A second group rented a couple of cars and drove across several nation’s borders. Finally, favoring the least expensive option, a friend and myself booked two tickets for a night train that left Prague at midnight on Friday. When we woke up on Saturday morning, we were in Budapest!
The most advantageous part of taking the night train was that we awoke well-rested, ready to explore a new city, and we didn’t have to pay for an extra night in a hostel. Our accommodations were in a rather central location just off of Andrassy Avenue, so after dropping of our bags we walked down to Heroes Square and the art museum (which is featured in the first picture of this post!). We escaped the overwhelming heat that plagued Budapest that weekend in the art museum, and then we mustered up the courage to explore City Park. The park is home to Vajdahunyad Castle, a zoo, a transportation museum, and the Széchenyi Thermal Baths.
Later that night we explored the nightlight on Margaret Island, which is located in the middle of the Danube River. The river used to divide what is now Budapest into two separate cities, Buda and Pest, until they were united by the Chain Bridge.
The next day’s weather was just as sweltering, so we ended up abandoning our original plans to explore Buda Castle and parliament. Instead we strolled through the shopping district, sat in the shade in parks along the river, and walked through one of the many markets that were being held in the city on that weekend. The highlight of our trip? The Kürtőskalác! Known as a Trdelník in the Czech Republic, this desert of Hungarian origin is is a thin pastry whose dough is wrapped around a cylinder, baked, and then sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon.
Two days was not nearly enough time to explore Budapest or to eat as many kürtőskalác as I would have liked, but this is just an excuse to pay the city another visit! Next up for me? Relocating to my new apartment in Prague, then another excursion to Berlin!