Monday morning in Budapest arrived with a hazy blue sky and a mellow, yellow sun. What we initially took for a light early a.m. fog turned out to be a persistent hovering smog. There were no problems associated with it, just a bit surprised at this turn of the weather. I don’t know if this is an ongoing event but it in no way interfered with our enjoyment of Budapest and all she had to offer!
After stuffing myself at the Hotel breakfast buffet, ( why do they do this to me?). I normally have a piece of toast and yogurt for breakfast unless someone else is doing the cooking. Then I go way overboard! Dan and I met up with friends and decided on an action plan for the day. We set out to visit 2 places, Budapest’s Central Market and then cross the Danube to the Citadel. We hopped on the subway and 4 stops later we were half a block from the Danube at the incredible Central Market. Let’s go exploring!
The Central Market in south central Budapest was opened in ( READY?) 1897! Yessiree Bob! That’s 1897. It began when the city recognized that the smaller, scattered markets no longer could meet the needs of the populace. 3 other markets opened at the same time but the Central Market is the biggest and by all accounts, the best! The Market encompasses 3 stories in the brick building with the glass roof. The lower floor has the fishmongers, and yes, they still are called “fishmongers,” an Aldi grocery store and a few specialty shops. The 2nd floor is OH MY GOLLY, JUST LOOK AT THE PRODUCE AND THE SPICE AND THE MEAT VENDORS! Stall after stall after stall of fruit, vegetables, meat, spices, sausages, cheeses and who the heck knows what other vendors! Foodie that I am, I could have stayed there all day and been in my glory.
Radishes the size of tennis balls.
Dan eyeballing an amazing variety of sausages. The aroma made my mouth water!
The Pork, on the other hand, just made me raise my eyebrows. Trotters and tails. Whole heads and livers. Ribs, chops, tails and belly…..oh my! Nothing, but nothing goes to waste here. I guess years of war time starvation does that to you.
Then there’s the Paprika Stands. Strings of dried peppers alongside bags and boxes and tins of all different sizes of the national spice, Paprika!
Little ceramic pepper pots to store your Paprika. How cute is that? Hot, sweet, smoked, Paprika cream and Goulash Cream. It’s was all there and more!
Of course, I brought home an assortment and plan to make a few Hungarian meals. I really loved the food! Each bag came with a tiny wooden spoon. Isn’t that too cute?
The view looking down from the 3rd floor. I liked how big and open and airy it was.
It’s a big tourist draw but local residents shop there too. The 3rd floor has textiles. All kinds of linens, blouses, jackets, purses, dolls, hats and more. Hungarian hand embroidered tableclothes are much in demand and I demanded a couple myself! Dan actually was as guilty as I was. He said we had to have the Runner that matched the tablecloth that he picked out! I didn’t object. Hehehe. And the prices were beyond reasonable. Bargains galore!
What could I do? They followed me home!
Then it was time to walk across the bridge to check out the Citadel perched on the top of Gellert Hill.
See where we are standing by the lamp post? Now, do you see that statue waaaaay up on the hill to the right? Yep….that be where we walked. Some times I really need my head examined!
Gellert Hill was named for St Gellert who came to Hungary around 1000 AD to help convert the Hungarian people to Christianity. However, a few of the Pagan boys objected, stuffed him in a barrel and rolled him down the hill. And that is how he became a Martyr! (Pause….) Gosh, I bet that hurt!
The Citadel Fortress, equipped with 60 canons was built by the Hapburgs in 1851 to show dominance over the Hungarians, but then they all became friends and the canon were never used. Politics! But, in WWII during the Nazi Occupation, it too had the bejebbers blasted out of it and you can still see the shrapnel spray on the walls.
The walls have been repaired but the shrapnel remains.
Standing proudly over the city is the Liberation Monument. It was erected in 1947 after WWII ended. The statue is of a woman holding an olive branch in her extended arms. A beautiful and stirring sight as Hungary then fell under Communist rule. The olive branch of course, being a symbol of peace.
Lady Liberty. The Soviets placed a statue of a soldier under this powerful piece. It was removed when communism fell in 1989 and now resides in Monument park as a symbol of shame with all the other relics from the Nazi and Communist eras.
Near the Liberty statue is this piece depicting St. George slaying the 5 headed dragon. Symbolic!
Other statutes and monuments complete the area of the Citadel.
Views from the Citadel overlooking Budapest were impressive to say the least!
I have no idea who this couple is or how their picture got on my camera, but I thought they were kinda cute! (wink, wink)
And then because we REALLY weren’t exhausted enough ( I am lying here), we walked ALL THE WAY back down the hill, across the bridge and back to the subway to the Hotel where I collapsed into a glass of much needed and well deserved, red wine. My feet still hurt!
But I have to share just a final picture of one of the many, many river cruise boats docked on the Danube River. I confess I covet a cruise. Maybe in another lifetime! But I am now a complete traveling addict and ready to JOURNEY ON!
Thanks for stopping by today and letting me share my adventures and fun with you, my friends.