There are so many places to explore in Budapest and I love it! Every Wednesday, we get to go on trips around Budapest and Hungary as part of our program. It is really helpful to learn more about the history of the city.
For one of our trips, we visited the List Academy to see a music/dance performance, which was incredible. There was a cellist and a violinist and several dancers. I found it interesting that the two musicians were showcased in the center of the stage for most of the performance. I am used to the musicians either being in a pit at the bottom of the stage, or located on the side of the stage. These musicians were involved in the performance. The costumes of the dancers were color coated, which made it very aesthetically pleasing to watch.
After the performance, we were surprised by how the audience reacted. Everyone would clap along in a rhythm, which apparently indicates that they enjoyed the show. The performers keep bowing until the crowd stops clapping, which confused us. It was really funny to be in the middle of this rhythmic crowd clapping when we weren’t sure what was going on.
The Parliament Building is one of my absolute favorite buildings in Budapest. It is one of the tallest buildings, along with St. Stephen’s Basilica. The outside of the building is stunning, and the inside did not disappoint. We took a tour of the building for another one of our field trips.
The Main Hall was absolutely beautiful. As you walk up the stairs, the windows out-looking the Danube are gorgeous as well. The building also includes the Assembly Hall for the House of Magnates. You could see the machines that they vote with.
The Central Hall also holds the Holy Crown, the crown passed down to Hungarian royalty earlier in history. We were unable to take pictures in this room, but we could see that the cross on the crown itself is bent. Our tour guide explained that this because the crown has been through a lot (stolen, buried, trapped in a locked box). This room also included several sculptures of important figures in Hungarian history.
The Great Market Hall (located right near my University) is a really cool place to visit! There are several stands with fresh produce, meats, juices, chocolate, and, of course, paprika everywhere. Our Hungarian professor took us here after class one day and let us each try a Turo Rudi, which is a type of Hungarian chocolate bar. It is basically curd (fresh cheese) coated in chocolate, which I realize sounds disgusting, but they are actually very good. We were all hesitant to try them but really enjoyed it! However, she also had us try sour cabbage, which was disgusting. It is really healthy for you, but wow it tastes strong. We agreed that it would probably taste better on a sandwich or something, but by itself it tasted extremely salty (because fermented) and unpleasant. We even tried it in a pureed juice form (yuck). To make up for it, we tried some yummy sausage, meats, and chocolate after.
On the second floor of the Great Market Hall, there are also stands where you can buy some delicious Hungarian food. I really enjoyed langos, which is fried dough with various toppings (usually sour cream and cheese). You can get all different types of toppings, many with meats and tzatziki sauce. There are also dessert ones with nutella and fruit. You can also find goulash (beef soup) and stuffed cabbage which are other Hungarian traditional dishes. It is also a great place to shop for souvenirs, including embroidered shirts which are very famous in Hungary.
I’ll be posting about more field trips, food, holidays, and my trip to Vienna shortly!