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Europe 2017 {Budapest ~ Day Seven & London Stop-over ~ Day Eight}

December 22nd was my second day in Budapest and the last day of my trip.  I had lots to do that day, which means picture overload...Sorry!

I woke up and the sun was shining!  This was my 4th day in Budapest (between my two trips), and this was the first time I had ever seen the sun.  I was excited and headed out to walk along the Danube toward Parliament.

Looking over toward Matthias Church and Fishermen's Bastion

Buda Castle and Chain Bridge

Shoes on the Danube Memorial
There are 50 pairs of shoes created from iron which mark the murder of over 3,500 people (many of them Jews) by the Arrow Cross party police (the Nazi puppet government).  Most of the murders took place in December 1944 and January 1945.  They rounded up people from the Budapest ghetto and had them stand on the bank of the river, take off their shoes, and they shot them so that their bodies would fall into the Danube and be carried away by the current.
Hungarian Parliament Building
Tisza Istvan was a Hungarian political scientist, politician, prime minister and member of Hungarian Academy of Sciences.  He was assassinated the day Hungary terminated its union with Austria.

Liberty Square has a statue of Ronald Reagan, who is respected by many for his role ending the Cold War, but the statue was put in place in 2011 as a political stunt to deflect attention from a scandal...
Like most of the countries that emerged from the Cold War, you will hardly find any monuments with the hammers-and-sickles in the streets, but this is the one exception in Budapest.  This is the Soviet War Memorial and commemorates Liberation Day, April 4, 1945, when the Soviets officially forced the Nazis from Hungary.
I don't find that people get out and about very early in Europe, so you can often have the streets almost to yourself, as you can see here with the walk to St. Stephen's...

One thing I had really regretted not having the time for on my last trip to Budapest is a trip out to Memento Park.  Unlike many of the Cold War countries, Hungary didn't destroy the Soviet monuments, but instead re-located them to a park on the outskirts of town.  Sadly, the sun was gone for the day, and it was COLD.

This is a Trabant.  It was the "people's car".  Produced in East Germany, it has a steel frame but otherwise is made of a hard plastic that is made from recycled cotton waste from the Soviet Union.  You had to order the car and I have forgotten the numbers, but you had to pay almost 100% upon ordering, and then you had to wait anywhere between 7-15 years for delivery!
After I got back to Budapest from Memento Park, I headed over to explore the Buda side.  Crossing the chain bridge without snow this time, but bundled up...

Buda Castle
The funicular up Castle Hill

I didn't have a desire to go to the castle (it's mostly museums), but I wanted to go to Matthias Church and Fishermen's Bastion.  They did not disappoint! 

The roof tiles on the church are so pretty

But the inside of the church is even prettier

The balcony there overlooking the nave was reserved for Emperor Franz Joseph and Sisi (remember the apartment I mentioned touring in Vienna?) when they visited Budapest...
Advent Candles 

Fishermen's Bastion was built for the millennial celebration in 1896.  There are seven domes for the original seven Magyar tribes.
Great views of Pest from the Fishermen's Bastion

Those roof-tiles!

After heading back down the castle hill, I walked back along the Chain Bridge

Looking back toward Gellért Hill
Back on the Pest side

Matthias church and Fishermen's Bastion in the distance
After a quick stop back at the hotel to raid my safe, I headed to Herend.  I had way over exchanged US Dollars for Hungarian Forint and decided to make a little splurge purchase.
This is what I really covet.  All Herend is hand painted and made in Hungary.  This gorgeous teapot is  the Queen Victoria pattern.  However, it also costs just over $1,000!  So yeah, I didn't get it.  And look at those teacups in the background...they are absolute perfection.  We will put this on the list of things I'll buy when I win the lottery.
Lots of eye candy!

Then I headed back toward Vörösmarty Square and walked around it's Christmas market again.  
I decided to opt for room service again, and spent the evening packing up.
On December 23rd, I woke up at 4:15 a.m. and headed to the airport.  I got to the airport and had to wait on people from the airline to open the check-in!  I flew from Budapest to Heathrow.  Changing planes in Heathrow is such a beat-down, but I had plans.  It may seem silly to note the airport part of this trip, but I had purposefully booked a flight with a layover in London so I could shop at some of my favorite London stores that have airport stores.  I was looking forward to this portion as much as the other parts.  Yes, it was painful for me to be at the airport and not going into London (what was I thinking?  Oh right, I needed to be home for Christmas).
Oh a few glorious moments in Cath Kidston and my Christmas was MADE!  Unfortunately, my flight got moved so I had an hour less than I thought I would when I originally booked flights, but it was enough to get some items I had wanted, and I got to eat what is legitimately one of my favorite meals.  I do love a Chicken & Salad pre-made British sandwich (not to be confused with chicken salad).
And after a very long day that started early (12/22- at 9:15 p.m. CST), I was home by about 7:30 p.m.  You know, just your average 22 hour travel day!

Thanks for following along on my journey.  I'm already day dreaming of my next adventure...


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