I have been in Budapest for two weeks, and mainly I have worked on finding ways to get around the city. Growing up in Ohio, I was not exposed to public transportation, so trying to figure out the public transit here as been a learning experience. Budapest is equipped with trams, buses, railways, and metros which makes the city easy to navigate.
As I practice navigating the city I have also seen many beautiful sites! I am sure I will say this thousands of times, but Budapest is truly one of the most beautiful cities! Budapest consists of a unique blend of modern and classic architecture. Because Budapest has been under the control of the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, Austria, and the Soviet Union, all of these countries and cultures have left an interesting mark on the landscape. For instance, during the invasion of the Turks many bath houses have been built throughout the city. Today Budapest is known for their array of baths and spas. Yesterday, I was able to soaked up the warm water in the Szecheny bath, a popular outdoor bath. The baths are an awesome way to wind down after a day of class, and hang out with some friends.
Another thing I have enjoyed in the city is the plethora of churches. Growing up Roman Catholic, I have a tradition of lighting a candle at each church I visit as a prayer to bless my travels as well as my wonderful family and friends that have allowed me to make the travels possible. While in Budapest I have been able to visit three beautiful churches. Each one provided a safe haven for me to reflect on all my blessings. My goal for the trip is to be able to visit all the Catholic Churches in Budapest. So far I have a good start!
Because it was raining during the weekend I stuck to mostly indoor adventures. The main things I visited were the House of Terror and the Parliament building. The House of Terror is a museum that displays what Hungary was like under communist rule after WWII. After WWII Hungary was placed under Soviet Union control. The Soviet Union were extremely cruel to the Hungarian people and killed anyone that tried to defy their rule. I found this museum to be extremely thought-provoking and emotional. It blows my mind that the violence inflected on the Hungarian people was not only so recent but also so wide-scale. For almost 50 years the Hungarian people lived in fear, and it wasn’t until 1990 that they were able to gain independence. By visiting the Parliamentary building the next day, it made me realize how far Hungary has come and how hard they have fought for their independence. I am excited to continue to learn more about Hungarian history!
This weekend I am looking forward for my program to actually start. As stated previously, I am currently enrolled in an independent language school. The language school has been a great way to learn Hungarian and begin to learn more about Hungarian culture. My actual program begins on February 2nd and this weekend will be the program’s orientation. Be on the look out for updates about the official start of my program!