On Wednesday morning we woke up at the crack of dawn to leave our hotel by 6 AM! We had to catch a train to Budapest. Not everyone with the Companion group went on this day trip, but Chad and I figured we would never have another opportunity to go so we might as well see as much as we could! It was another 3 hour train ride, but this time it was not a private train. I slept for most of it again. I guess that 7 hour time difference really did me in!
Once we arrived they warned us of pick pockets in the train station. I was paranoid! We made our way to chartered buses and headed over to the “Buda” side of the city. Our first stop was the Citadelle Max overlooking the city. It was a great picturesque view, but they only allowed us to stay for 15 minutes in order to keep on schedule!
The next stop was the castle district, my favorite part of the entire day. We visited the Fishermen’s Bastion and Mathias Church. I loved the views from the Fishermen’s Bastion as well as the amazing architecture. It was very castle like! It was built to serve as a lookout tower that was protected by the guild of fishermen.
The Mathias Church was gorgeous. We were told that it was primarily a coronation church, but now a lot of weddings take place there. It had the prettiest stained glass windows I have ever seen! The hyperlink I added has a lot more of the history.
After getting some time to explore the church, we got back on the buses and headed to the “Pest” side of the city, or as our guide pronounced it, “pesht”. We stayed on the buses for this entire portion of the tour and something about the movement, the warm bus, and our guide’s “soothing” voice… that made me just pass out again! I slept through the entire “pesht” portion of the tour; however, Chad tells me I did not miss much. In fact, the guide tried to get everyone off the bus at one point to learn the history of Budapest at Hero’s Square, and no one wanted to get off! We finally stopped for lunch and a little shopping. We asked our guide for recommendations and most everyone in our group made our way to a restaurant called Razkakas. Chad and I both enjoyed some traditional Hungarian goulash as a starter. It was DELICIOUS! We both could have had a lot more of that stew… and I am not a stew fan at all! I had a pasta dish that was pretty tasty and Chad ordered his usual… a fish dish!
After lunch we were already running out of free time, but wanted to find this indoor market that our guide kept talking about. She said it was within walking distance, so we started walking, and we walked, and we walked, and we stopped a few times to make sure we hadn’t missed it, and we walked some more. So after about 30 minutes of brisk walking, we finally found it! I am so glad we kept going because the Central Market Hall was so cool! So much food, spices, and unique gifts to see! I have never seen more paprika in my life! We only had about 30 minutes to look around, though, since it took so long to get there. I was able to find a shot glass for my brother (he collects them and I have brought him one from every city we have ever visited), I also find a Christmas ornament for myself (I collect ornaments from every city we visit), and a cute little handmade xylophone for Ryder.
Because the train on this day was not chartered just for us, it was imperative we made it back to the train station on time. We left the market with 3 other people and begged a cab driver to take all 5 of us back to our bus… and fast! We made it fortunately!
When we made it back to Vienna we walked to a little Italian food restaurant close to our hotel called Sole. It was really great, and our waiter was awesome! More yummy food, and the best garlic breadsticks we have ever had! We were both exhausted after that LONG day so off to bed we went.
Next up: Our last day in Vienna and the farewell reception!