Our destination of travel this weekend was Budapest, Hungary. This city has definitely climbed its way to the top two places that I have been lucky enough to travel to on my trip this summer. However, the weather reached such high levels at times that it almost became unbearable to walk around the city. In fact all of Europe is struggling with this problem right now, deadly hot weather is setting records across Europe this week while a heat wave is baking the continent. Also, all time temperature records were reached back in Germany on Wednesday. While researching this heat wave I read that in 2003 Europe also had a really strong heat wave that in total killed around 30 thousand people. This is freaking me out. The current heat wave has already started wildfires in Spain. Another tough aspect of being in this heat in Europe is that I am so accustomed to air conditioning everywhere that I go. In the US, it is unheard of for buildings to not be air conditioned but in Europe it is much more rare to find air conditioning. Even when places have air conditioning here, it is never used to the extent that it is in America. Back home I usually always bring a jacket with me even in this heat because it is so cold indoors. I am also really started to miss drinking water being free, staying hydrated in Europe while traveling is expensive!
ANYWAYS, we spent a lot of time enjoying and laying by the Budapest thermal baths as a result of this heat. We started at the most famous bath in Budapest, Szechenyi bath. It is the biggest and most popular of all the thermal baths in Budapest, even more, it is one of the biggest natural hot spring spa baths in Europe. It was really cool swimming in a bath that has been there for over 100 years, however, I disliked the expensive prices and big crowds of people that came along with it. Although I am happy and grateful that I got to experience Szechenyi, I am also happy to not visit back.
Once again, one of my favorite parts of my trips was learning about the history that has taken place in the city that I am in. Budapest and Hungary has a really unique history from WW2 that I am disappointed to say I really did not know about prior to visiting. A few months ago I would never have associated Budapest as being a place that had extreme suffers during the holocaust, but that is very much not the case. We got to visit The Great Synagogue while in Budapest, which is the largest in all of Europe. Beautiful details surrounded every inch of the building, in addition, it also included an informational museum that we were able to walk through which taught me a lot that I did not know before. For example, between 1941 and 1945 the Nazis and their Hungarian accomplices murdered over half a million Hungarian Jews. I learned that every tenth victim of the holocaust and every third dealth in Auschwitz concentration camp were Hungarian Jews. This statistic amazed me, I hate that I did not even associate Hungry with this genocide when it was affected this much. Something else that I found interesting was the difference in the way things were phrased in a Jewish museum not located in Germany. The words that were used in the museum were felt significantly harsher, more emotional and more direct than in the German museums that I have visited. Budapest even has a wall dedicated to pictures of young children that were killed and the concentration camp that died in which was very chilling to see.
On Sunday night, we took a short touristy boat ride on the river water that separates buda and pest (I just found out that it’s really two cities that combined make the name Budapest). It was really beautiful seeing the city all lit up, we passed the giant brides that were lit up with a ton of lights along with castle hill but my favorite part was passing the parliament building. The views that the lit up parliament building created made participating in such a tourist trap worth it.
Looking to the future, I am sad that I am getting close to the end of my trip here in europe. However, it really helps that I can look forward to my family coming to visit me as soon as it is over. I am excited to take them around to all the places that I have gone to a well as travel to places that I have wanted to go.