For our final stop over fall break, we hit Budapest.
This leg of the trip was really special to me, as Hungary is the only country with which I really identify (other than the U.S.). My maternal grandfather and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Budapest in the 1920s, and I'm the first one of his descendants to return.
The largest synagogue in Europe, the Dohány Street Synagogue or Great Synagogue, is in Jewish quarter. Like me, my grandpa was Jewish, and I couldn't help but wonder if he had ever prayed there, though I'm sure he had at least been there. (He actually lived about 40 minutes outside of Budapest.) The synagogue complex also includes the Hungarian Jewish Museum, but I was a little disappointed by it. I was hoping to learn more about the history of Hungarian Jews, but rather it was a collection of religious artifacts. Still beautiful and educational, but not what I wanted.
The iconic views of Budapest include the Hungarian Parliament (top right), the Danube River (top left and bottom right) and the Chain Bridge (bottom two), so of course we had to visit both! We took a tour of Parliament, and let me tell you, it is beautiful inside. We even got to examine the crown jewels that belonged to St. Stephan, the first king of Hungary, when he began his reign in year 1000. The Holy Crown, Sword, Scepter, and Globus Cruciger are guarded 24/7, and no photos are allowed of them. What a sight.
|Clockwise, from top left: Heroes' Square; Fisherman's Bastion; controversial WWII monument; Parliament|
Like Prague, I wasn't totally overwhelmed by Budapest, but I had a lovely time--and made some great family connections! Has anyone else been to Hungary?