One of the best parts about this past Christmas holiday was that my family came to visit us here in Budapest from December 25 to January 1. We had a wonderful time! Dan and I enjoyed showing our favorite places and sights of Budapest. We also had the opportunity to visit a few new places as well. One day we went to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the Rembrandt exhibit. I have been to a few small art shows before but nothing like this, nothing with the works of such a well known artist. Walking through the exhibit gave me a new appreciation for artwork. When you see photos of famous paintings, the detail cannot be captured. I was amazed by all of the artists' ability to capture the details of objects, clothing, food, and animals.
We also visited Heroes' Square, the Széchenyi Baths and Vajdahunyad Castle. We had coffee and cake in the Alexandra Bookstore Cafe. The hot chocolate there is so thick that it is like pudding! We also visited the most iconic buildings of Budapest: the Parliament, Buda Castle, Matyas Templom, and the Fisherman's Bastion.
Some of our other adventures included the Christmas Surprise Concert by the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Look for another blog post about this concert. We also had a special coffee and breakfast at the McDonald's in Nyugati Pályaudvar. They say it is the fanciest McDonald's in the world and it is very nice. Many McDonald's in Hungary have a separate McCafe section which serves fancy coffee, hot chocolate, and desserts.
One of the extra special parts of our holiday was a quick trip to Vienna. We were all excited to see another part of Europe. Vienna was filled with tourists but it was frigid cold the day we were there. Some of the neatest places we saw were St. Charles Church, St. Stephen's Cathedral, and the Hofburg Palace/Austrian National Library. Here are some photos in order:
As we drove back to Budapest, we stopped in this store called Auchan (pronounced almost like o-shawn). It was insanely big, maybe 2-3 times a Walmart Super Center. It was an experience we'll never forget. Most likely, Dan and I won't shop there again because we don't have a car. The purpose of shopping there would be to buy large quantities of groceries, something we can't take on public transit. Here is a picture from the main aisle.
The time with my family seemed to go so quickly. They were gone before we knew it! It was fun to be the locals who could lead the way and give the inside information. After only a few months, I feel like Budapest is my home. It will always hold a special place in my heart.