We began exploring the “Pest” side of Budapest with St. Stephen’s Basilica. It has become one of my favorite cathedrals from all of those I have seen in Europe! It was built in honor of King Stephen I, the first king of Hungary. One of the main attributes of the church is St. Stephen’s mummified right hand (Szent Jobb), which sits in an ornate glass case, and can be lit up if you insert 200Ft (It’s recommended to put in the coins since you can barely see the hand without the lighting. I think they do this on purpose..sneaky). It took almost 50 years to build the cathedral because at one point, the dome collapsed, which required that the entire church be torn down and rebuilt from the foundation up. After it was rebuilt, it was deemed sturdy enough that the Hungarians stored important documents, artifacts, and other national treasures in the church during the WWII bombings.
January 25th was quite a hectic day. By 6:00PM, our E-4 program had finished our 7th and last final exam of the semester. As soon as we busted through the doors of ICADE, Will, Ankita, Liz, and I hailed a cab to the airport so we could catch our 7:30PM flight to Budapest. It was a time crunch, but we managed to make it on time. By the time we got to Budapest and had settled into our hotel, it was super late, and we were starving. We had gotten so used to late Spanish dinners and restaurants/bars staying open past midnight that we almost forgot that the majority of Europe is on the contrary. Determined not to settle for kebabs or McDonalds, we walked blocks upon blocks in the freezing cold, and fatefully came across a great restaurant called Stex!
Here begins my series of Budapest/Vienna posts! I thought a lot about how I should begin my updates. We spent 4 days and 4 nights in Eastern Europe, so I didn’t want to make one big post about each day because I would just cram way too much and not give enough weight to the beautiful attributes of each city. So rather, my updates will be a little more random, separated by places, food, highlights, and themes. Hope you guys enjoy!