8.28.2013

::Budapest, Hungary (Part II)

Day Two in Budapest: We started our morning bright and early with some kawa and breakfast at a cute little place called Non Loso Cafe conveniently located next to St. Stephen's Basilica, where we wanted to start our day.
We started at St. Stephen's Basilica because we knew we wanted to walk up to the top while it was cooler (the high was 100 degrees Fahrenheit when we were visiting) and we also knew we wanted to beat the tourist buses. We arrived right as the doors opened and were two of about five people walking around the top. I highly recommend paying the nominal fee to venture to the top of this building. Up close, the interior is just as beautiful as the view.
The staircase up to the top.
The inside of the dome. 
Following our tour of the basilica, we found our way back to the ground and checked out the exterior of the famous Opera house. 
Next, we were off to Vaci Utca (a main street) to explore the shops. 
You can find anything on Vaci Utca - from The Hard Rock Cafe to a Michigan State Spartan (my favorite team)! 
We purchased a few bottles of Hungarian wine to take home before we started the longer than expected walk to Parliament. Due to construction, I wouldn't call this a very scenic walk but next year (2014) we hear it will be a lovely park. 
Advice: tourists can buy tickets online for Parliament tours in advance and avoid the super long queues. (I mean, not just any line but 'wrap around the building' lines.) 

As you may have noticed, my husband and I don't typically pay for tours in large groups. However, to see the inside of the Hungarian Parliament, we were required to join a group. Tour duration was about 45 minutes, plus we got to see the crown jewels (but no photos allowed)! Know that the building is heavily guarded and visitors must enter through a metal detector as well as have their baggage screened - similar to that of an airport. We really enjoyed this tour and I would recommend it to anyone visititing. 
This is just such a grand building. As with most buildings in Europe, the interior is just as grand. I mean, who doesn't love a red carpet entrance?
We were not allowed to take photos of the Hungarian crown jewels. We were, however, allowed to take photos of some doors in the next room over - so here is a zoomed in view of the crown. 
And that concludes our tour of Parliament, as well as Part II of Budapest on the blog. 

(Make sure to read Part I of our trip to Budapest before you checkout the third and final post about our trip!)

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