Stop number one was the Great Market. A huge indoor building, reminiscent of a train station in size, housing hundreds of vendors. Besides paprika, Hungary is well known for their goose liver pâté and foie gras, staggering selections of cured sausage, including horse, pickled vegetables & cabbage, and Tokaji wine. All of this and other things, like communist era souvenirs, live fish, and kitchen wares, can be found in the market. It was the perfect place for this particular foodie and a great stop for stocking up on delicious souvenirs. The morning we visited the market was the last day it would be open for a few days because of the Christmas holiday, I was so glad not to miss it!
We hopped off the tram near the famous Chain Bridge and walked across. The are eight bridges connecting the two sides of the city but the Chain Bridge is the most photographed and well known. It is fantastic to look at day or night. And when you get across you are at the base of Castle Hill.
We continued our way from the castle to the hilltop neighborhood by St. Matthews church. Sadly it was already closed in preparation of Christmas Eve services but again, the views from the grounds with the fog laying along the river, was beautiful.
Carl Lutz Memorial, so interesting and quite moving, we were literally the only people on the streets. We hoped to go into the synagogue and also get a little closer to the beautiful Tree of Life memorial, but again it was locked up tight. We stopped in for hot drinks at the only open cafe, the before making our way back home to get ready for an extravagant Christmas Eve dinner. Even the famed Ruin Bar was already shut for the holidays.
A few days latter Dayne and I went back up to Castle Hill on our own and went to the National Gallery, housed in the castle. What a different collection of art this is! The Hungarians haven't had such an easy time of it over the years and as art does, that is reflected here. Many areas of the museum also feel very 70's, communist, with dingy white paint and fluorescent lights in areas. Fluorescent lights in a museum! An eye opener for sure.