Thursday, July 26, 2007

Beautiful Budapest

Another entry from my sister:

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We started the day off with a visit to the Central Market, which is like a farmers market. The basement is where you can locate the seafood, 1st floor is dedicated to fruits/meats/spices, and you can find all types of souvenirs on the 2nd floor. It was fun to walk around the floors to check out the different types of local food. Chili peppers seemed to be a popular spice, as you can see many strings of them hanging from various vendors. The 2nd floor was definitely a tourist trap with over-priced souvenirs and handicrafts but it was very fun to browse. My favorite part of the building was the mushroom exhibit on the 1st floor. Apparently mushroom grows wildly around Budapest. The massive display of mushrooms had detailed information about them so that consumers would know which are edible and which are poisonous. You can pick mushrooms off the streets and bring them into the market to pay someone to identify which ones would be safe to eat. It was truly an interesting sight to see.

After lunch, we ventured to Castle Hill on the Buda side and walked around the area surrounding Fisherman's Bastion. From the terrace, you get a panoramic view of the Danube River and the Pest side of the city. Right next to Fisherman's Bastion stands Matthias Church (named after the Hungarian king, Matthias Corvinus). The church has a gorgeous diamond-patterned roof, but unfortunately it was under renovations when we were there so you can hardly see it under all the scaffolds. You can still enter the church to admire a number of relics and the beautiful gothic interior.

After another delicious dinner at our family friend's restaurant, we went on a night cruise on the Danube. As I mentioned before, the sun sets at a later time in all of Europe during the summer, so there was still light when we first got on the boat and you could soak in the beauty along the Danube River. Soon the sun set and the dark sky was illuminated by the glows of the bridge and beautiful historic monuments. It was definitely worth the trip if you enjoy a relaxing ride with a view.

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