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When we came to Budapest years ago, after its freedom from Communism, we saw a beautiful city just awakening from years of neglect. I called it a “faded glory” then. Now, it is completely renewed and simply glorious! We liked the city so much then that we wanted to return; now, we “love” the city and would easily return again.
It is impossible to overstate how wonderful a city Budapest has become. Apt adjectives are fashionable, stately, upbeat, cultural and approachable. The food scene is both traditional and hip. A wonderful blend. Tree-lined streets are filled with interesting stores and outdoor restaurants. Pocket parks are surrounded by beautiful buildings and contain fountains and monuments and flower plantings. Every turn could produce a photograph. The Danube flows through the city and its bridges are unique and attractive. The promenade along the river is stately and easily walkable. Here and there a beautiful church stands between the belle époque buildings. The transportation system is vast and easily navigable. As you can see, Budapest spoke to my heart.
We spent our last day walking Pest, having spent the day before in hilly Buda. We took our time, eating lunch at the famous Gebraud Bistro and Pastry. We sat outdoors under the trees surrounded by a beautiful park in the square and literally watched “the world go by.” We moseyed down Váci Utca, one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares of central Budapest, and ended up at the cavernous Central Market Hall with its orange, yellow and green tiled roof (featuring the same kind of tiles as the impressive Matthias Church). Located near the Liberty Bridge, the Central Market is a fun and interesting place, filled with hundreds of stalls on the bottom floor featuring food stuffs of all kinds, including the famous red paprika. Hungarian wares fill the second floor, and a full grocery store is in the basement. Hungarian food vendors are interspersed throughout. We could not pass by the poppyseed rolls without choosing one blended with cherries. A leisurely long walk back to our hotel on the Buda side brought us over the Chain Bridge. After a small shared meal of Hungarian goulash and cottage cheese curd dumplings (a dessert), we called it a day–our last day. Now it is to Rome and then home. With this, we close the blog for our European Adventures 2015. Thanks for following us on this blog. It has been a pleasure spending time with you. Joy in Jesus, WEG – Friday, October 1, 2015
Pumpkin has appeared on the menus as the autumn season begins here in Austria. Kathy is enjoying cream of pumpkin soup, and I am having pumpkin goulash. As we traveled to Melk to visit the Abbey, we saw field after field of orange pumpkins ready for the picking.
The Benedictine Abbey in Melk was founded over 900 years ago when Leopold II gave one of his castles to the Benedictine monks. Today, the Abbey is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Awesome is a good word to describe it. The yellow gold colored Abbey sits massively on a rock promontory. The displays are both educational and devotional at the same time. The theme of the Abbey is the Cross of Christ, and it is well integrated into every presentation. Artifacts from throughout the history of the Abbey are beautifully displayed as you wind your way to the Baroque masterpieces held within the grounds.
The first inkling of the beauty to come is in the grand marble dining room, done with both natural and faux marble painting. Massive and with a dramatic ceiling fresco, the dining room played host to many Austro-Hungarian personages. From the dining room, we are led out onto a courtyard balcony that overlooks the Austrian countryside with the Danube River flowing below. From there, the great library, one of the world’s finest, held our rapt attention. The main room holds 10,000 texts with the same ancient binding on each. The bookshelf woodwork with gold etchings is marvelous and intricate; the frescoed ceiling is stunning. The library contains over 750 printed works before 1500 with a total today of 100,000 volumes in all.
The treasure, however, is the Abbey Church. Considered the pinnacle of Baroque design, the room is aglow with gold. The beautiful frescoes and statuary harmonize into the total design, intended to portray heaven on earth. At first sight, we stood transfixed, not moving, such was the sight.
It was a “beautiful” day in Austria! WEG – Thursday, September 24, 2015