“Mum, this is like the only country we’ve been to that you don’t understand anything!” That’s how we started and boy, they were right. Kefefej is the only Hungarian word I know and it was not helpful – “toothbrush” if you didn’t figure it out yet. Well, the kids couldn’t really distinguish between Hungary and hungry so I was a bit ahead but not much. Hungary is one of those Eastern European countries where the language and culture are a bit different – language much closer to Finnish and Estonian and culture a bit more Turkish. Food though – lovely and goulash / paprika driven so my kind of tea! Look at that bread!
We only had 2 days here so made the most of it. The castle, the Parliament, a boat trip, public transport, tons of goulash, Tokay wine, military museum, funicular…. we loved it. I even managed to get us lost in an effort to find the most Hungarian restaurant ever – and heard about it for days. Here are some of our most memorable moments:
- The simplest yet very powerful monument Shoes on the Danube. In 1944, the Hungarians took a few of their Jewish neighbors, stood them against the Danube, had them take off their shoes and shot them dead – their bodies fell to the river and the shoes were left. This monument captures it beautifully and is so incredibly simple, yet makes you somber and think. The boys were mesmerized by it and it created a lot of conversations on fascism and World War II which you can’t escape in Europe. I was stunned how much of WWII history I went through and they are not going through as living in the countries that actually lived through it on their territory is so much more real – it touches everyday life more than I ever realized.
- The Bus/boat trip – have you been on a bus tour that will dive into the river and turn into a boat? Well, we have! Clearly, I was a bit suspicious and thinking that the liability laws in Hungary are probably so much weaker so grateful all 3 kids are strong swimmers, in case of emergency. And hey, Danube is full of boats, someone will notice us sinking. It was actually kind of fun – we saw a lot of the city from the river, from the ground and even took a nap!
- the apartment – boy we lucked out. Gorgeous view of Danube, amazing host and super close to trams/metros – our favorite so far !
Our language skills didn’t progress but we ate a lot, walked a lot and got the basics of the history…. but missed the baths which we so need to come back for – one more reason to return!