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Foreign in Florence: A Weekend in Budapest

 

With spring break behind us, we have reached the home stretch, our last handful of trips before this amazing semester comes to an end. Each day that passes quickly reminds us that we have been living in Florence longer than the time we have left here. Although I am looking forward to spending the summer in New York, it’s crazy to think how quickly this semester is flying by. We kicked off our last month of traveling with a weekend in Budapest, a city that is an interesting mix between Paris and Prague. Time for another list of this weekend’s best sites! 

 

1. St. Stephen’s Church 

Every city we visit has a gigantic church and Budapest is no exception. We started our day with a trip to St. Stephen’s church, which was just a short walk from our hotel. The most striking thing about St. Stephen’s is that it is situated in the middle of a very modern city. Unlike Florence, where you could easily still be living in the 1800s, Budapest is much more modernized and industrial (Starbucks!), with pieces of old architecture like St. Stephen’s church.

2. Hungarian National Gallery 

Although we didn’t go inside the museum, the National Gallery is still worth the trip. Situated on a hilltop, the gallery has an incredible view of the city and it’s famous Chain Bridge. I like to think of the National Gallery as the Piazzale Michelangelo of Budapest. We took a little trolley car up to the top and then walked down the sloping hills after snapping our fair share of scenic pictures.

 

3. Zoo

The Budapest Zoo was a welcome change from our usual routine of site seeing. I felt like I was 10 years old again, spending a summer afternoon at the Bronx Zoo, minus the summer part. We saw a baby elephant that was only a month old, watched a monkey put on a show, played with goats and awed at the giraffes (obviously my favorite for all you AEPhis out there!). 

4. Baths 

The Szechenyi Baths were definitely my favorite part of the trip. Although Brittany and Julia were a little hesitant about going in the baths at first, none of us wanted to get out once we were in. The Szechenyi Baths complex has three large outdoor baths, two heated to around 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and one cool bath for swimming. Since it was in the low forties outside, we spent most of our time in the warmer of the three. The baths were a great way to end our afternoon and definite a must-do for anyone visiting Budapest!

5. Temple 

We squeezed a little more culture into our trip by visiting the Great Temple in Budapest. The Great Temple, which seats over 3,000 people, is the largest temple in Europe. Ornately decorated in Byzantine and Moorish style, the temple looks nothing like those we are used to back home. The temple also features a beautiful memorial to those who perished in the Holocaust. 

 

***Honorable mention: Hummus Bar 

Although it is not technically a site, I think Hummus Bar is another must for Budapest. Yes, we are spoiled with probably the best food in the world by studying in Florence, but sometimes a girl needs a little variation. If you’re a fan of Med Caf or Bonzo in Madison, you’ll love Hummus Bar, where we chowed down on falafel, hummus and delicious pita! 

 

The weather is finally starting to warm up in Florence, giving us even less of an inventive to do any work. I’m looking forward to taking advantage of everything Florence has to offer in the spring and to our next trip, Ibiza!!

 

Ciao a tutti! 

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