It is hard to believe that today was our last day in Budapest.  Despite a good nights sleep last night, Michal and I were exhausted today (must be our old age is catching up with us – we are not 24 anymore!).  We headed back over to Pest and started our day with a walk around the neighborhood known as Lipótváros (“Leopold Town”).  Our original plan had been to tour the Parliament building, but by the time we got there the lines were insanely long.

Instead we continued to walk around and admire the many monuments in that area.  We then toured in the inside of St. Istvan’s Basilica before winding up at the Grand Market.  The Grand Market is huge!  It was the perfect place to continue my culinary tour of Hungary.  The colors of fruits, meats, pastries and bright souvenirs illuminated the airy old building.  I love stumbling upon markets like these when we travel.

After coming home for a long nap this afternoon, Michal and I ventured out this evening for a stroll to Margaret Island which lies between Buda and Pest.  The island reminded me of a Central Park like atmosphere.  Endless green space, jogging trails, lots of runners, people playing sports, people lazing on the grass, etc.  One of the main attractions was a beautiful fountain where the flow of the water is synchronized to music.

My favorite part of today was walking in Budapest after dark.  The whole city is illuminated by soft lights.  We started out on the Pest side gazing at Buda.  Along the Daunbe river bank in Pest, is a holocaust monument.  This touching monument consists of 50 pairs of bronze shoes lined up along the river.  The shoes symbolize the Jewish people who were shot in this area by the Arrow Cross party.  Their lifeless bodies fell into the river.  This monument forces you to stop, think and reflect on the history that happened in the very spot that you are standing in.

We ended the evening strolling across the chain bridge and admiring the Pest side from Buda.  It still amazes me how much I have seen and done in the last sixteen days.  Several times tonight I found myself saying to Michal, “We are in Budapest.  This is our life.”  At this point in time, it is difficult for me to imagine returning home in less than a month.  There is so much to see in this world and I have only seen a tiny portion of it.  Travel enriches my soul and makes me feel like I am accomplishing something in my life. Being in a place for a few days is not enough time to appreciate the culture and fully experience a city/place/country for everything it is worth.  It will be interesting to see where life takes me in the future.

As for now, it is just about bedtime.  In the morning, Michal and I are off to another city in another country.   As I said in yesterday’s post, this next destination was not planned until 48 hours ago.  Any ideas on where we may be headed?  Here is a hint (or two):  Whether or not this country is part of Eastern Europe varies depending on whom you ask (United Nations or the CIA) and the city we are going to has no skyscrapers.  Where do you think we’ll be tomorrow afternoon?