The historic thermal baths were one of the most amazing things I discovered in Budapest. The posh Gellert Baths were quite peaceful, calm, and featured lovely art nouveau style decor inside.
Another day I visited Budapest's beautiful Dohany Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe.
The ornate and richly decorated interior was quite a contrast to the tragic story of the persecution of the Jews during WWII in Budapest that our guide explained. However, the reconstruction of the synagogue is a great symbol of the perseverance of the human spirit.
Afterwards, I walked down the street to see St. Stephen's Basilica, named after the first Hungarian king.
I must say that St. Stephen's was one of the most impressive, inspiring cathedrals I have ever seen.
Huge, cavernous open spaces greet you and every surface is fantastically decorated with gold, marble, frescos, and wood carvings.
Another surprise highlight of my trip was a private tour of the Hungarian Parliament by a policy advisor of the young Hungarian Green Party.
The Parliament building is quite awe inspiring, and it seemed a bit like a cross between a castle and a cathedral.
Hands down, one of the most gorgeous buildings I've ever seen!
Thank you Zita for organizing my wonderful tour, and thank you to Judit for introducing us :) Go Greens in Hungary!
My next stop was to the artist village of Szentendre, about one hour outside of Budapest, to visit Zsuzsi Panyi, a glass and jewelry designer.
After visiting Zsuzsi's studio, we went on a tour of Szentendre, where she showed me some of her favorite shops like this beautiful, upscale gallery full of handmade jewelry and accessories.
Then we of course had to have a Langos - the famous Hungarian fried bread topped with garlic, sour cream, cheese. Freshly made, hot, crispy, and melt in your mouth good!
Afterwards, I walked around the charming village for a while to burn off a few of those delicious Langos calories and see the sights.
I found fabulous old green doors
and a funky cafe that had pickles and preserves on the windowsill outside!
I thought this was so cute,
celebrating the homemade and handmade everywhere.
I also loved the look and sound of the Hungarian language - although I couldn't understand a single word. However, I'll give it a try here by writing "thank you" in Hungarian - Köszönjük!
For my train ride back to Budapest, I purchased some tiny, bite sized pastries for the ride. I didn't want to starve on the way home, of course ;) The little spiral was full of chocolate and the round ones were also filled - to die for! Can you imagine - pastries like this just waiting for you at the train station, oh goodness!
So for many, many reasons, Hungary won my heart on this trip! I especially want to thank the lovely artists and other friends I met in who showed me such hospitality and kindness! You will be hearing more about these creative artists in their upcoming interviews, so please stay tuned.
I'm sending hugs to Hungary today - and I'm sure that I will be back!