My brother and my dad met for three nights in Budapest and three nights in Prague. I had such a great time with them! For the week, we ate A LOT of great food, saw a lot of cool sites, went on a couple of horrible tours and laughed a ton!
When I spoke about my upcoming trip Prague and Budapest, many people responded by saying how much I would love Prague. That Prague was such a beautiful city. They didn’t have anything (positive or negative) to say about Budapest. I was surprised how much I LOVED Budapest. I found the city to be charming, the architecture to be beautiful, the people to be friendly, the food to be mediocre, and the company to be GREAT!
Budapest was originally two cities separated by the Danube river; Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank. In 1873 these two cities unified. On our first full day in Budapest, we took a tour of Buda and Pest. Pest is busier, more commercial and is flatter. Pest is hilly, has more greenery and has more residential area.
The tour showed us the outside of the parliament building. The parliament building is such a gorgeous building! After that we went to the Buda castle and walked around Buda.
On our second day in Budapest, my father and I went on a Jewish tour through The Dohany Street Synagogue Complex. This consists of the Great Synagogue (or the Dohany Synagogue), the Heroes’ Temple, a graveyard, a Holocaust memorial and the Jewish Museum. We also walked around the Jewish quarters. Prior to World War II, there were approximately 200,000 Jews in Budapest alone. On Wikipedia, they estimate that there are between 50,000 and 100,000 Jews in all of hungry.
The tour guide was very unusual. I asked her a question about the use of the synagogue during communist times. She told me she did not want any political questions. I also asked her how many Jews lived in Budapest. She did not know the answer to this question because she believed most Jews in Budapest were scared to be identified as Jewish. She also told us she did not want any pictures taken of her or near her. I think she and many other are still scared and afraid of being Jewish, which makes complete sense after living through Nazi occupation and communism. Yesterday, I read an article on JPost.com about the ADL’s (Anti-Defimation League) recent study on anti-Semitism in Europe. They found that the most anti-Semitic country was Hungary, with 63 percent of the population expressing ant-Semitic sentiments. This is terrifying.
My brother, father and I also took a trip to Szentendre, which is located about 25 minutes outside of Budapest, on the Danube River. Szentendre is supposed to be an artist colony. I found it more like a tourist trap than anything. The tour was very pretty but was filled with souvenir shops, instead of galleries. While walking in an out of stores, I came across a really cool family-owned store that only uses blue dye. As a result, all the things in the store are blue and white.