Monday, 20 May 2013

Budapest Days 3-4

Saturday, March 30
We had a nice lie in Saturday morning and after a delicious breakfast, we were ready to face the day ahead.
On the agenda was Gellert Hill including the famous bathes at the Gellert Hotel and the Cave Church. Then we would plan the rest of the day. 

The Gellert Hotel and the bathes are a sight to see. It is a huge campus with an outdoor wave pool, sun terraces, an outdoor hot pool with medicinal waters, indoor baths, saunas, restaurants and cafes. It was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt.
The bathes are ornately decorated in the Secession Style.
Flattened arch glass ceiling in the main hall lets in plenty of tranquil light

Facade of the Hotel Gellert

Just across the street from the Gellert Hotel is the Rock Church, our next stop for the day. The Rock Church was carved into the hillside and served as a church until the 1960s when the Communist government ordered the church sealed up. In the 1970s the church was reopened and now is contains beautuful wood carvings.

After our tour of the Rock Church we started up the paths that crisscross Gellert Hill to the Citadel to explore and catch the tourist bus across the river to the Varoslgiet Park in Pest.


After a long but informative ride on the tourist bus, we arrived at the Hero's Square with the impressive Millenium Monument, a huge plaza monument opened in 1896 with a dozen collenades of bronze statues of past kings, military hero's and the archangel Gabriel. Behind the monument is a large park, Varosliget Park with a lake, zoo, and the Ministry of Agriculture.  This complex is curious mixture of architechural styles representing all periods of Hungarian building history. We had a delicious lunch at Bagolyvar Etterem (the Owl Castle) which served traditional Hungarian dishes and has an accordian player playing gypsy music. Afterwards, the sun was out and we had a rare opportunity to take a stoll through the park, without an umbrella! 

Hero's Memorial

Ministry of Agriculture

Ministry of Agriculture

Ministry of Agriculture

Ministry of Agriculture

Museum of Fine Arts

Bar Cycle

I have some nieces and nephews who I think would to love try this out!! It is a traveling bar that the customers pedal around town.

 Hungarian State Opera House

The Opera House was designed by the same architect who designed the Basilica and it is in very much the same style. It is also very similar to the opera house in Vienna. The King wanted the Budapest Opera house to be  even more grand than that! 
The opera house has many frescoes and statuesthat have a mythical motif. Very dramatic.
The outside is adorned with statues of famous composters, Bach, Lists, and Mozart among them.
This inside is decorated with red marble and gold leaf.

Beautiful frescoes and statues represent mytological motifs. Mosaic tiles cover the floor that resemble on ancient Greek mosaics. The three-storey high, horseshoe-shaped main auditorium can seat nearly 1,300 people.

The Royal Box
Our guide explained that the Royal box was only to be used by the king and whoever he brought with him. Even the queen, who often came to the opera could not use it  if the king was not with her. He was not a big fan of the opera so didn't come very often.

The Composers Gallery is a long corridor with bust and statues of the past sitting musical directors.
After the tour we admired the beauty of this amazing building and then took the tram back to the hotel. 
It was time to try out the baths.
Sorry folks, no photos in this section, but the baths were fabulous, a little crowded but there was plenty of room for everyone!!   There were three different bathes ( pools, really) One was 38 degree celcius, one was 33 and the last was a bigger pool, heated but still felt cool compared to the others. There was also a sauna and hot tub. After being out in the cold and rain there is nothing better than a good soak in the bathes!!

 We had dinner at Kehli Vendeglo, a local restaurant that has been serving food for literally hundreds of years.  There are gypsy musicians in traditional dress playing nightly and the our meal was traditional Hungarian cuisine and was the best meal we had in Budapest. 

Easter Sunday

 Our last day was Easter Sunday and was a low key day. Plans were to go to the Basilica for mass,take in some art at the Museum of Fine Art and have a nice lunch before we head to the airport for our flight home.
The Bascilica was packed but we got there early and found a seat. The Archbishop of Hungary officiated over the mass and the choir was accompanied by violins and trumpets. Despite the fact that the mass was in Hungarian, we enjoyed the pagentry of the experience.
After Mass we took a subway ride back to the Hero's Monument and went through the Museum of Fine Art.
We chose the hotel restaurant for our Easter lunch and were pleasantly surprised. The meal was tasty and filling.
I imagine that when the weather is mild and flowers are blooming, Budapest would be an even more enchanting. We loved this city!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear from you! Please consider leaving a comment!