BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, Eastern Europe - Oct. 2006

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Budapest is a sprawling metropolitan city but its simple and efficient metro system made it easy and fun to navigate. Our apartment was a couple blocks off Andrassy ut on the Pest side, a main east-west artery designed after the Champs Elys←es. From there we could walk along the elegant street or take the metro.

Typical meals again emphasized the meats, potatoes, and dumplings but were much spicier. In addition there were many contemporary restaurants offering different styles of food where we enjoyed meals as well.

A major highlight for us was a night at the opera. We had heard that Budapest takes its opera very seriously and it was a wonderful cultural experience. The opera house is beautiful, people watching was magnificent, and the performance of Marriage of Figaro delighted in every way. The singers interacted so much with the audience, bringing us right into it. After the opera, we had dinner at the recommended Abzinth Restaurant where we sat at the rail of a balcony and watched all the post-opera diners below. A memorable and unique evening.

We also very much enjoyed the Sz←chenyi Baths which you can see in the photos above. We soaked with the locals in the 40ᄚ air while our pool was a good 98-100ᄚ . These thermal baths are natural mineral hot springs under the "crust" of Budapest and are so relaxing. People come for the day and the chess games you see are a traditional pastime.

We loved strolling along the Danube and exploring all the sites on the Pest and Buda sides.

 

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