16 April 2013

our trip to budapest, hungary.

When Josh and I realized that we both had a week off for Easter Holiday we decided to travel somewhere.  We thought of France or Poland, but we kind of had Hungary in the back of our minds, too. Josh's Kline grandparents are well connected to the Hungarian Evangelical Fellowship (HEF) and a certain family (The Iványis) in Budapest.  We contacted the Iványis to tell them we were interested in coming to Budapest and wanted to meet them.  As it turns out, they wanted to meet us too and they wanted to host us!  They gave us an apartment to stay in, they invited us to their home, they helped us plan some tourist activities to do and they also showed us around a few of the ministries of the Hungarian Evangelical Fellowship.  Their hospitality was such a blessing and also quite inspiring.

We had just five full days in Budapest and it was a great mix of adventure and relaxation.  The weather was rainy and cold most of the time so most of our pictures are gray.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed ourselves and the beautiful city of Budapest.  By the way, did you know that Budapest used to be two cities? Buda is the hilly side of the river and Pest is the flat side.

Day 0: We arrived late Tuesday night, so not enough time to be considered day 1.  Gabor  Iványi took us to our apartment on Dankó street, where the John Wesley Seminary is located.  This is the seminary that Josh's grandparents help to start. We were amazed by the apartment- it was so cozy and the kitchen had fruit and food for us to eat!
Gabor Iványi at Dankó street.

Day 1:  We met Gabor for breakfast.  Gabor and his nephew Martin took us to one of the HEF schools, where Gabor's daughter, Julia, teaches.  We got to meet her class, talk to them a little bit and watch a talent show that included a lot of traditional gypsy dances and songs. In the afternoon we took a sightseeing cruise along the Danube River.  It was rainy, but we still had a good time learning about Budapest and seeing the stunning architecture.
1. The Parliament building // 2 & 3 Enjoying the boat tour

Day 2:  Tímea, a HEF social worker and friend of the Iványis,  gave us a tour of the Oltalom homeless shelters.  The HEF is really doing a lot in this city.  Tímea also took us to a cafe, where we had amazing pecan pastries! Later Josh and I went on our to explore downtown Budapest.  We walked around the Market Hall, a big building with produce, pastries, food and souvenirs.  We ended up buying a couple Hungarian pillow cases and a Lángos, which is like a fried pizza dough with sour cream and cheese.  Apparently lángos are special hungarian food.  Delicious, but quite rich.  We also walked around the Buda side a lot.

1. Me outside the Market Hall    //  2. Inside the Market Hall // 3. The citadel on the Buda side

Day 3: Our first activity was to see the grand Jewish synagogues in Budapest, but it was rainy and cold.  This turned out to be a major bummer because the inside of the synagogue was closed, allowing us to only take an outside tour.  It was cold.  The outside of the synagogue was stunning and we learned a little bit in the museum, but we were really disappointed not to see the inside.  We spent the afternoon relaxing at a thermal bath house.  My favorite thermal pool was outside.  After walking outside in the rain, it was incredibly refreshing to be outside in a warm bath with light, cool rain overhead. It was also fun to take a quick dip in the super cold bath after being in the sauna or a hot bath. In the evening we went to the Iványis' house for a meal after we participated in the tail end of a church service for Good Friday.  We really enjoyed getting to know members of the Iványi family.  One of them, Gaspar, is a classical guitarist and put on an impromptu show for us, which was quite impressive.
Day 4:  Josh played in soccer tournament with the Oltalom in the morning and we explored the city more in the afternoon and evening. We ate lunch at a Greek Restaurant, which was SO good.  I had the best salad of my life there; it had pears, cheese, mint, lettuce and sesame crackers. We also went up to the Buda Castle for an Easter festival that included shops, food, music and dancing. I really liked seeing the traditional Hungarian dancers.  Also, Budapest has a bunch of bridges that connect the two sides of the town.  We stayed out until after dark, so we got to see the bridges all lit up.
1.  Looking down on the Chain Bridge//  2. Chain Bridge at night//  3. Buda Castle up close
Day 5: Easter Sunday!  We went to the Iványis church for a service.  Our friend Istvan translated parts of the service into English for us.  That was so helpful.  Towards the end of the service the congregation gathered in a circle to take communion and to sing the last verse of the hymn.  We ate lunch at the Iványis home and hung out there until Istvan and his wife Ildikó came to take us out to a cafe.  We had a really good time talking and getting to know them better, as well as their cute son Áron!  After packing up our belongings at home, we met up again with Istvan and Ildikó for dinner at The Hummus Bar.  It was really cool to meet so many of the Iványis and other friends connected to HEF and to the Kline family. Josh and I felt so welcomed by everyone we met in Budapest.  We definitely recommend going to Budapest (especially if you're a part of the Kline family because you'll get to meet some pretty great people!).
Buda Castle at night


  1. Sounds like a wonderful trip!
    I love it when I check blogger and see that yours has been updated! It is so much fun to see beautiful pictures and hear about your awesome adventures!!


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