Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Exploring the Labyrinth and Shopping the Market

It was our last night in Budapest. There was so much more I wanted to see.

The boys were intrigued by the Labyrinth Tour under Buda Castle. From 6-7:30pm, the Labyrinth lights are turned off and self guided tours take place by flame-lit lantern. One guide book stated that it was scary and not recommended for kids under 14. Upon hearing that, the boys were determined to go.

It wasn’t scary, even though the boys jumped out at their Dad and me at every opportunity. It was a little hokey. From time to time there would be vignettes to discover, however there didn’t seem to be a theme to them, just a mishmash of everything from replica cave paintings to a room that highlighted a fountain spouting wine.

Word of warning: although the aroma of wine fills the cavern making it tempting to taste, don’t. Upon closer inspection, the wine looked pretty grotty and behind the fountain, in a darkened area I spotted a sign advising that it wasn’t suitable for human consumption.

The next morning our apartment hosts were kind enough to store our luggage until we caught an overnight train to Krakow.

We walked around the parliament buildings and down Andrassy Utca with its beautiful Opera House and expensive shops. We also checked out the Jewish Quarter.

Lastly we shopped for souvenirs. Budapest has five indoor markets, the largest being Central Market Hall. Opened in 1897, this beautiful building is a must see. There are three levels selling everything from food to souvenirs. I purchased Hungarian Paprika and a winter hat. Other recommended Hungarian souvenirs are caviar, dolls, glasses, table cloths, chess boards and Hungarian style clothing.

We walked back to retrieve our luggage by way of a pedestrian shopping street called Vaci Utca and then it was time to say thank you and goodbye to our wonderful hosts and continue our journey.

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