I just spent the last three days in Budapest, Hungary where I met up with one of my friends, Bence, who worked with me at Camp Lohikan Summer Camp last summer. He lives in the north of Hungary and came down to Budapest for a couple days to hang out with me! We spent the first two days together wondering around the massive beautiful city. I never realized how big Budapest really is, but let me tell you....its giant. Apparently it is the biggest city in Eastern Europe. And Budapest really is Eastern Europe. I know that technically Prague was as well but it didn't really feel like it very much. Everyone still spoke English and things seemed to flow the same as they did in Western Europe but in Budapest I was finally there. This is really Eastern European. What is neat about the city is being able to tell how much of Austria really is in Hungary. Having come straight from Vienna it was obvious how much influence there was in the architecture. But what made Budapest neater then Vienna was the history that was there before the Austro-Hungary age. Before the Hapsburgs, who honestly im noticing controlled like all of freaking Europe, took over the area. On the first day that I got there Bence and I walked around the city and explored the area of Buda which was the side of the Danube River that the royalty lived on. (Opposed to Pest which was the side of the city that everyone else lived on). On Buda there is a huge hill that towers over the rather flat side of Pest and there is a massive Palace in a very Austro-Hungary style. The palace is almost a twin of the Hapsburg's summer palace in Vienna, from the outside...minus all of the gardens. Further along the hill is the palace which is really just a set of beautiful walls that you can walk along and see the city from. And behind the walls in another beautiful cathedral that also looks a lot like the cathedral in Vienna. (I am starting to see a pattern here). The next day we went to Margret Island which is a big island in the middle of the river and walked around the park. They have deer in their zoo! Which I thought was pretty awesome. We then went over to Heros Park and saw the monuments, another castle, and the different statues in the park. We had lunch there and finally went over the Jewish section and found a few run down synagogs and the Main Synagog which is a huge beautiful building that was turned into a memorial for the hundreds of thousands jews killed by the Arrow Cross during WWII. Thats right folks it wasn't just the Nazis. I had never even heard of this before then. It was a really moving memorial and trees are planted over the mass graves that people were buried in inside the synagog grounds. The synagog was part of the ghetto the Jews were forced to live in while they starved to death. On my last day Bence had already gone back to school and I decided to spend a day at the Natural baths. Yes I spent all day there pampering myself and enjoying the warm healing waters. It was really a nice day and I met some English guys that were also visiting. The next day I took a 13 hour train ride to Sarajevo, Bosnia! Oh yeah long ride, but they stamped my passport 4 times because i had to cross through Croatia! Anyways can't wait to tell you about Sarajevo!
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