Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Vienna & Budapest

After I booked a last minute work trip to Vienna, Chris and I decided to extend it and turn the trip into a mini-vacation. We flew in an out of Vienna but took a train to Budapest, Hungary for three days. I flew in a day before Chris in preparation for work and quickly toured the Treasury Museum which contains the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, lots of Hapsburg jewels and supposed relics of early Christianity, among other items. Chris arrived the next day and spent that day and the next touring the city and some of the museums while I worked at a downtown hospital. Besides being a very stately city with baroque architecture, Vienna has great art museums that include works by Klimt (including "The Kiss"), Caravaggio and Renoir. In addition, before we left for Budapest Thursday, we watched the Lepizaner horses and riders practice for their evening show. While the show itself would have been incredible, the practice session was kind of lame - the horses basically just pranced around the arena and did a kick every twenty minutes or so.

We took a three hour train from Vienna to Budapest late Thursday morning. It turned out Thursday was a national holiday in Hungary, basically the country's independence day to celebrate freedom from Hapsburg rule. Downtown was packed with people and food stands, and all of the monuments were draped in wreaths and overflowing with bouquets.

Chris and I both think Budapest is a hidden gem. It doesn't get much press beside first-tier tourist cities like Paris or Rome, but the city is gorgeous. Buda and Pest sit on separate banks of the Danube River, and many of the buildings were constructed in the late 1800s prior to post-World War II Soviet take-over. While not in the pristine condition of Vienna's building, the architecture was beautiful, nonetheless. Food and lodging are relatively cheap, as well, although the food isn't anything to rave about.

Chris and I didn't tour any museums - we spent most of our time walking through Buda and Pest and popping in and out of churches. Chris was excited to discover during our pre-trip research that Budapest sits atop about 100 thermal springs, and the geothermal baths are renowned. We visited the Szechenyi Baths together one day, which has multiple indoor/outdoor pools, steam rooms and saunas of varying temperatures. I had to be careful about the water temperature since I'm supposed to avoid hot tubs and such while pregnant.

Szechenyi Baths

Shopping in the Market

Beautiful city

Saturday was St. Patrick's Day, and the two Irish bars in town dutifully served pints of Guiness and booked U2 cover bands. I'm going to tell our baby that she spent her first St. Patrick's Day in Budapest.

We took the train back to Vienna Sunday afternoon and spent Monday in Vienna doing a bit of shopping and museum-visiting again before flying back to Minnesota on Tuesday.


Anonymous Pooja said...

Wow Erin, the cities are beatiful and you are glowing, sweethart!

8:51 AM  
Blogger The Charlebois said...

I are glowing in these pictures! Still no sign of a baby bump yet, though. :)

11:01 PM  

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