At the end of our two month law school study abroad program in Europe, we tacked in a couple extra weeks for what I like to call the “Eastern European / Holocaust History” tour. Our first stop out of Vienna was a quick trip to Bratislava, Slovakia, because, well, Eurotrip. The second city we hit up was Budapest in Hungary. I had heard many things about this mysterious town, but I didn’t really have any expectations either way. That was probably for the best.
We rented this sweet little apartment in the middle of the city.
It was a cute apartment building with great European flair.
And it was pretty damn close to this building, the Hungarian Parliament Building, which sits on the bank of the Danube River. Oh, and Budapest – including the Danube banks – are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bingo!
As we tend to do, we rented bikes to tour the city. All of these group shots were taken with my VAB (Joby Gorillapod) and a tiny Canon powershot. That little camera died an awesome death on this trip, but it was a stellar point & shoot! Oh, now would be a good time to point out that we were in Europe for nearly 3 months and had minimal luggage space, so please do not mind the outfits.
More street life.
VABbed it up.
I forget what this was, honestly, but it looks cool so you get to check it out.
One day I swear I’ll do a blog post of all the places in the world that I’ve been to that features something Hawaiian. In Budapest, it just so happens to be the Hawaii Hetek at Burger King. Honestly, I think that in other parts of the world they pretty much just put a pineapple on something and call it Hawaiian.
And in case you were wondering, this is how much Crown Royal costs in Budapest. Conversion rate in 2014: About $35
This person, who was handing out free Heinekens on the street. It was a promo for special type of Heineken they were debuting. Also, they were handing out fliers to a special private party in the middle of some island that night. You have to love the randomness of travel.
Here we are with our free beers.
We wandered around that night. If I recall correctly, we actually tried to look for that Heineken party, to no avail. We did, however, end up at a random Budapest house party with some real interesting types. But hey – isn’t meeting new people half the reason we travel? Photo stop at our second fave building in Budapest!
Good ‘ole European public transportation =)
These crepes. Ughhh, these crepes. I mean, just look at them. Nom. Nom. Nom.
I mean, obviously we were fans of these crepes that were bigger than our heads.
Some of us loved them more than others 😉
This, however, we did not love.
One thing I did not expect to see was a big music scene in Hungary. I mean Alanis Morissette and Iron Maiden aside, they were catching acts like Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers, and The Kooks way before the states. Oh, and let’s not forget Justice. Ever.
This longggg escalator was lined top to bottom with concert posters. Pretty dope.
Now you might ask what’s going on here. Jon, being the gentleman that he is, decided to take one for the team so that he could get a good shot of the next pic.
This is the Budapest Museum of Terror. And boy does it live up to its name.
Leave it to the Europeans to shove a statue wherever they can fit one.
Quick history lesson. When I first went to Budapest, I had no idea that it had such a storied history in terms of its dictator regimes. I had long thought of places like Austria, Poland, and Germany as home to the majority of the international atrocities. But as we learned on the tour, the Hungarians suffered handsomely at the hands of the German Nazis. In a three month period during WWII, nearly half a million Hungarian Jews were sent to the concentration camps in Auschwitz. And then if that weren’t bad enough, after the war, the Soviets came in and drove out the Germans, placing the country under Communist rule for the next 44 years. That’s what these two symbols in the Terror Museum stand for.
We actually toured inside the terror museum, and it was horrific. The museum itself is a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building.
As are most buildings that house torture chambers and terror cells, this one is pretty bone chilling.
This building was actually the headquarters of both the Fascist Nazi party when they were in power and the Communist party when they took over. The museum itself goes underground into a very intricate tunnel network of chambers, which is where most of the terrorism and torture took place.
We weren’t actually in Budapest that long, so I don’t have too many more pics to share. Rather than end on that heavy note though, I will leave you with this cool shot of the Hungarian architecture. I have a few more Hungary stories to share, but I think all fellow adventurers should add Hungary to your list and see it for yourself.