K and I are trying to make the most of our time living abroad and do our best to travel whenever we have an excuse (frequently a bank holiday). We had never been to Hungary before, and I wasn't really sure what to expect in Budapest. This city has dealt with Ottoman occupation, when Christians fled and the Turks turned Budapest into a Muslim town; German occupation during WWII, in which the city's Jews were systematically murdered, and the resulting Soviet occupation to get rid of the Germans. It has survived US/UK air raids and has had its bridges destroyed by the Germans. I'd heard that Budapest was beautiful but was still worried that it would look too post-Soviet... ugly square buildings with way-too-small windows.
I was really surprised by how picturesque the city is! The buildings are ornate, and parts of the city look a lot like Paris (with the exception of Parliament, which was designed to look like that of London).
One of the more interesting buildings was the Great Synagogue. It is the largest synagogue in Europe, and its history was clearly shaped by WWII.
Inside of the synagogue
Mass grave next to synagogue. Jewish tradition does not allow cemeteries next to houses of prayer. An exception was made here due to tragic events.
Holocaust Memorial resembles a weeping willow. The tree has 600,000 leaves, which bear the names of the Hungarian Jews who died during the Holocaust.
The city is very walkable, now a plus in my book. We stayed in Pest, on the east side of the Danube, and crossed the Chain Bridge to visit Buda. The only form of transportation we took once in Budapest was the funicular that brought us from the base of Buda up the hill to Buda Castle. Trips like this really validate my decision to have WLS. I am so much more active and able to do what I want. I would have hated all of the walking last year and would have done everything in my power to take taxis, find excuses not to go to the sights that required climbing, walking. etc. Now K asks me if I want to grab a taxi, and I always prefer to walk. What a change!
While the food in Budapest was much better than I had expected, it was way too heavy. With the exception of local river fish (pike perch and trout), these people eat meat. Think steak, duck, goose, foie gras, and pork (all eaten with potato of course). I ate fish for lunch, but some of our dinner restaurants didn't even offer fish. I had filet mignon with foie gras and croquettes on the first night, fried pork on the second (the menu didn't say it was fried, promise) and a grilled sirloin on the last night. After three nights of meat, all I want is a piece of cod and some nice veggies. Vegetables are almost unheard of, unless one considers a few slices of carrot to be sufficient in the veg department. I do wonder how the residents', um, how do I say, internal plumbing withstands life without vegetables.
On the weight front, I am down to 258.4... only .6 up from last week's low.
Happy short week:)