Friday, July 25, 2008

Budapest's beauty and Thermal Baths

Our last night on the boat...before arriving in Budapest at dawn.

The morning we arrived in Budapest I was so excited that I got up a dawn to see us glide into the city. This image is iconic for the changes going on in Central Europe - lots of building, renovation and development - all in service to the global corporate economy. This photo was taken at dawn, just outside of Budapest.

I have so many photos of Budapest's beauty that I could fill a book with them. Here's just a taste.

This is the largest synagogue in Europe, right in Budapest. It's called the Doheni.

We bought a three-day transportation pass for Budapest and became quite skilled at cruising from street car to subway to bus. It was fun and much easier than I thought it would be.

This is a shot from the funicula just a block from our hotel that took us up to the Hungarian Museum on the hill.

Our first evening in Budapest we decided to walk back to the tour's hotel, and made this wonderful detour back and forth across this magical bridge, the Chain Bridge, one of many bridges that connects Buda to Pest.

Taken from St. Stephen's Basilica, this view of Budapest really conveys how FLAT the terrain is east of the river.

I fell in love with the roof tops.

Sometimes I felt like the quintessential postcard photographer.

Many of the rooftops are made out of ceramic tiles, and the patterns are just amazing. I don't remember the reason why they were designed this way - if a reader knows, please post it.

No trip to Budapest is complete without a visit to thermal baths, and we tried three of them. Below you can see the famous Gellert Hotel and Spa, in the early morning light (and undergoing massive renovations). We biked there one afternoon, and had a very cultural experience - the workers, as Rick Steves warned in his guide book, were curt and not too helpful, and the massage was totally a waste of time. Bob never realized that there was a co-ed section to the spa - and I had no way to get in touch with him (and a cell phone wouldn't have helped in this case).

It took me forever to learn how to pronounce Szechenyi Baths. We went there our last afternoon. Although we didn't hang out there very long, I would definitely return there for a more leisurely visit.

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