Thanksgiving in Germany isn't much of a holiday at all. With no giant turkeys in the supermarkets to remind us to cook and eat until we burst, we decided we'd use the long weekend to travel. But where to? Vienna? Prague? Paris? London?
We do have a wish list. But mostly, our method for travel planning involves poking at the Internet until magical anticipation begins to percolate in our brains, like fairy dust. (This can involve a rock-bottom flight bargain, or mouth-watering traditional cuisines, or simply a dazzling yarn about an unfamiliar place.)
Budapest started as a vague Eastern European idea, and quickly emerged as a fascinating destination with stately Castle Hill, bridges criss-crossing the Danube River, a postcard-worthy Parliament, goulash soup, Hungarian pancakes, and exquisite cakes. We booked our flights. We found a hotel on Castle Hill, near the main tourist sights, with a gorgeous across the river.
We thought we were all set.
What we didn't expect was the fog. Heavy, gloomy clouds settled over all over Europe. We flew through Paris, and it was a gray soup of a view. Budapest was no different.
The view from Castle Hill, high above the Danube, overlooking the "Pest" side of the city, was erased.
At times, all we could see was milky gray. At other times, we saw this:
You might be able to make out St. Stephen's Basilica on the left, poking out of the skyline.
Still, we had a marvelous time. More posts to come soon on two majestic churches, Buda Castle, the Hungarian "chimney cakes," goulash soup, lunch at Onyx Restaurant, The National Gallery (and The National Museum), an absolutely awesome concert at the Palace of the Arts, and a hotel that also encompasses part of a 13th-century church! Check back soon!