Posts Tagged ‘Budapest’

August 20th

The 20th of August is Hungary’s version of the 4th of July. Their first King, Istvan, established Hungary on the 20th of August and it’s Hungary’s national day. There are lots of celebrations, of course. Most of them we actually missed because we kept showing up after the excitement was over or two blocks away from where everything was, but we got to see some excitement anyway.

We went to the Városliget, or city park in the early afternoon for a picnic lunch. There was supposed to be a bread festival there, but we didn’t see any of it really. The park was pretty though, and they just finished some construction a few months ago, so the ponds were all filled in and pretty again.

There are some castles and pretty buildings there as well.

The kids had a good time.

Later in the day we headed to Kossuth Tér where all the rest of the action was supposed to be. We saw a few things set up but apparently most of the booths and things were down by the river. There was a craft fair up on Castle Hill as well that we might have to go see next year. There was a changing of the guard at Kossuth Tér, though and we got to see them pull the guards in from the front of Parliament. Parliament itself was all decked out and in Hungarian colors and was very impressive I thought.

The guards’ uniforms were nice as well.

Afterward we went up to a friend’s house to watch the fireworks. They have a house up in the hills in Buda with a nice view of the city and the fireworks. The city does fireworks every year and they do them in four sets. Two at least are set off from two of the bridges over the Danube between Buda and Pest. I couldn’t tell if the other two sets were also from bridges or if one set was from a hill and another from somewhere else, but it’s a really good fireworks show. All the sets are the same show, just set off from different locations. Unfortunately my camera is too small to take decent pictures of the city from our friend’s house. Budapest at night is a stunning view, but I’m afraid the best representation I have to offer you is this:

My apologies :)


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Each district in Budapest has an assigned time once a year when the people living in that district can discard large trash items and they will be picked up by the city for free. Our district apparently was assigned last week. We know this because all of a sudden last Tuesday (I think) large piles of old chairs, pulled apart refrigerators, windows, and old shoes began accumulating at fairly regular intervals down the street.

This is the pile right across the street from our window


Piles on the curb up and down the street crossing ours.

No sooner were there two balcony doors outside our building from our remodeling neighbor than the first gypsies began showing up.


First of all, I don’t know if “gypsy” is politically correct, in Hungarian they’re called the Roma, but I don’t mean to be rude toward gypsies. They’re all over the place here and kind of just a part of life. But our streets were pretty busy with gypsies and others rummaging through the piles and cars with trailers attached hauling all the salvageable things out. I saw several trailers full of metal frames of chairs, clothes drying racks and any other metal bits and pieces driving off down the street.


A woman going through the piles

By Friday they had it all pretty well cleaned up in our neighborhood. There was some litter left where the piles had been, but even that was pretty well cleared away by Sunday. There were still some piles in the neighborhood around church though. This picture is from that neighborhood, but I took it on Thursday. It was a little bigger Sunday, but not a whole lot.

One of the bigger piles I found

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We went on a Danube cruise last Friday. It was an hour long and totally worth the $20 per adult (the kids were free) that we payed for it. I loved it, the kids loved it. Well, Avery loved it. Evelyn was just excited to play with the beverage glasses they brought around.

We went at 8:15 PM, which meant it was still light when we left and we got to see the lights all go on at the landmarks around 9:00. By the time we were done it was pretty dark. I really like the color of the sky as it gets darker, so I thought the timing was perfect. Plus, it was the earliest evening cruise, which means it was the earliest we could get the kids in bed afterward. Amazing how kids come to rule your life. Here are the pictures.

The famous Gellért Hotel and Baths

Erzsébet Bridge

Buda Castle

Széchenyi Lánchíd in front of the Buda Castle

Széchenyi Lánchíd in front of Mattyas Templom

Széchenyi Lánchíd (Szechenyi chain bridge)

Mattyas Templom (Matthias' Church) and Fisherman's Bastion

The Parliament was also, of course, stunning, but I was on the wrong side of the boat to get any really good pictures. Very sad.

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My year of taking a picture every day is done. Overall I think I did alright. I only ended up with 225 pictures instead of 365, but considering I had a baby and moved three times in that year, I’m okay with that. I picked my ten favorites. Since I took a lot of pictures of the kids, they’re divided into two sets: my favorite 5 kid photos, and my favorite 5 other photos. They’re in chronological order. I hope.


End of the Trail Statue


Summer Peach


Budapest Chain Bridge


Winter Activities - Colored Pencil Shavings


Salzburg Christmas Market Ornaments



Avery's Cowboy Hat


We Love The Beach!


Blessing Day




Happy Girls

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On Saturday we went with some friends to feed some bears. There’s a park about an hour out of Budapest that has several older bears. Apparently they’re bears that worked in circuses or similar things so they’re quite tame and they all live in a fenced in part of this park.Apparently they’re sick of the honey you can buy at the park, because they wouldn’t touch ours. We had a little more success with apples. We saw other people feeding them their own honey from home with more luck, and someone even had something that looked like marinara sauce that one bear was sucking down, but mostly they had rather poor appetites. It was a little disappointing.I think the bees may have eaten more honey that the bears. There were bees everywhere.This bear woke up just for us. After trying to feed him honey and banana, we discovered on accident (read, our friends’ toddler had a spill) that he really liked peanut flavored bio balls (they’re like cheese puffs, only not as bad for you). So we started throwing those in for him to eat and he came right up to us. We could have touched him through the fence had we dared.

Avery had a good time on the model train they had set up too.

It was a nice day, even if the bears weren’t hungry. It was cloudy, but the weather was nice and we ate lunch together and bought some candy. We played trivial pursuit on the train. Ivan won… grrr. We had fun.

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I went to Culinaris the other day. Culinaris is a store here in Budapest that carries foreign foods and is known to have some typical American favorites: Macaroni and cheese, evaporated milk, chocolate chips, breakfast cereals. So I decided to check it out with a friend on Tuesday.
It was kind of fun, but I won’t be shopping there much. A bottle of Hellman’s mayonaise was the equivalent of $8. Poptarts for $6, peanut butter m&ms for $1.50 a small bag. The worst part: 1 12 oz. bag of Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chips – $10. ouch. I thought my $4 of chopped up chocolate bars was expensive!

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On Saturday Ivan’s Aunt Karyn was in Budapest and we met up with her, her husband and her nephew and strolled around Margitsziget. Margitsziget is an island in the middle of the Danube that’s been turned into a park. It’s a beautiful green place in the middle of the city. We wandered around for a couple hours. At first Avery fell asleep, but as soon as she woke up, guess what she found…

Ice cream!!! There were little ice cream vendors everywhere. She made an awful mess and enjoyed it thoroughly.

The park is really pretty and has a hotel, a swim area, paths all throughout it and a couple little restaurants. You can rent all sorts of things for getting around in. We saw a segway looking thing with small training wheels in the back, there were contraptions made for families that looked like two bikes hooked together with four sets of pedals to run them and a small seat on the front for small children or dogs. There were motorized golf cart things you could hire to take you around and even buses. I think next time we might have to rent a family bike. It looked pretty fun.

At the southern end of the island there is a fountain. It’s really pretty, and when we were there they had it performing a water show to classical music. Karen and I decided that we could have stayed there for a couple hours and watched it, but since they had to catch a train to Krakow that evening maybe it was better that we leave. Avery called it “high water” but we can’t tell if she meant “high water” or “hi, water.” Either way, it was kind of cute.

We had a picnic lunch together and Avery has a new buddy. She and Karyn got to be pretty good friends over lunch and a traumatic fall through the hole of a bench. She’s got a nice red bump on her eye, but some hugs made her feel better. Karyn and Dennis and their Nephew Beau (I hope I spelled that right) were really fun to hang out with and we’re really glad they came. They say they’re coming back maybe for a little longer in a little over a year, so hopefully we’ll get to see them again.

Here we all are. Karyn, Dennis, Beau, Ivan and Avery beneath. I’m not there because someone had to take the picture and we were already blocking the sidewalk. It was a great day and man, were my legs sore that night!

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