Another lovely Budapest morning started with breakfast in the beautiful New York Cafe. We totally forgot to take a photo at the entrance so here it is with those incredible arches and clocks.
After breakfast, we took the train metro to Batthyány tér where we change to a local train to Szentendre known for its art galleries and museums. The local train to Szentendre is not included with the 72-hours travel card but we can pay a small supplement (less than $2 if I remember correctly) for the ticket by showing our 72-hours travel card to the agent at the ticket counter in Batthyány tér train station. I told her that we are going to Szentendre (it is hard to pronounce) and returning the same day and she gave us the return tickets as well. It was pretty easy and in no time, we hopped in the local train directly to Szentendre in 40 minutes.
Arrived at the Szentendre train station, it was a long walk toward the center but it is clearly marked. When we first started seeing colorful pastel houses that were when I know we are approaching the historical center. This pink museum looked very cute.
Outside a cafe was this piano….too bad I don’t know how to play it.
The prominent building in Szentendre I must say is the Annunciation Church, right in the middle of the center. I have seen streets with hanging umbrellas but this was the first time I have seen hanging lamp covers! Those colorful and beautifully patterned lamp covers really stand out against the blue sky. Doesn’t this look dreamy?
A panorama of this lovely square with the Annunciation Church on the right. We got there at around 9 am so it was almost no crowds, even the visitor center wasn’t open until 10 am.
We walked down those cobblestones streets without a map and explored the town at our own pace. Szentendre is quite small that there is no way you can get lost if you stay within the cute streets.
There are interesting souvenir shops in Szentendre that are worth a visit, much more authentic and cheaper than the souvenir shops in Budapest center. Glass within a grass anyone?
A lavender themed gelato shop decorated fully in lavender color.
The Merchants’ Cross or Plague Cross, you can read about the history and its legend here: https://iranyszentendre.hu/en/chase-away-the-plague-festival/
The Centrum Ice Cream shop is popular but I wasn’t in the mood for ice cream. The scaffold right next to it totally ruined the photo.
More souvenir shops:
Ahhh, a mini umbrella street with colorful umbrellas.
End of the street led to the Danube Promenade.
Pay close attention to the wall, do you see the human face?
This was one of the shops we went in and saw the beautiful glass ladies with an umbrella. I haven’t seen anything like this before so it made a unique souvenir from Budapest.
After scratching our heads with many choices, we picked out this one as I think the ice/frozen color with golden details made it extra elegant.
This is the name of the shop where I got it from and it was very reasonably priced at 7500 HUF (~$26).
By that time, the town was filled with tour groups and all the shops have been opened.
We passed by a very green restaurant so I snapped a photo:
Once we walked to the side street, it was still peaceful.
Back to the main square with the hanging lamp covers.
It wasn’t too bad with the crowds.
We walked out to the Danube Promenade for photos. Note that you can also take a ferry back to Budapest but when we were there the water level was so low that no boats were operating at that time.
Szentendre is very small that we finished with checking out the shops and souvenir shopping in 2 hours. We are not museum people so we were done right at lunchtime. We decided to take the train back to Budapest for lunch and check out more post offices for Jason’s stamp collection. For lunch, we went to Thai BT and it took a tram ride and some walk to get there. We followed the direction from Google Maps and got off the tram station at this place that I don’t even remember the name of.
We walked across this bridge to get to the Pest side.
Arrived at Thai BT, the restaurant is decorated with Thai statues and paintings. I ordered the Tom Yum soup and it was just okay.
My beef stir-fried flat noodle was tasty, much better than the salty Hungarian cuisine I thought.
The pineapple fried rice looked good but the taste was just average without the “wok” taste.
Decors inside the restaurant:
Our Thai lunch cost 8,140 HUF (~$28).
Next, we took the metro to Vajdahunyad Castle, it is right near the famous Széchenyi thermal bath that you properly see when searched for Budapest images. We walked in the entrance and got a glimpse of the thermal bath from the window….it was packed! I am not a fan of crowds and bath so no thanks!
The exterior architecture looked more appealing to me.
After some photos, we continued with our walk toward Vajdahunyad Castle. We got there in the afternoon and it was the wrong timing for photos, as you can see here the castle looked washed out and no reflection. Best timing would be early in the morning I read.
The entrance to the castle…although the name is a castle, it is now the Hungarian Agricultural Museum (you know we are not museum people).
Right after we passed the gate, we got tricked by the poster to “take a selfie” with the panoramic view up from the tower. We paid a small fee (I forgot the amount but it was like less than $2) and the view was disappointing!!! This was the view, mostly blocked by trees and really not much to see!
It looked better when you get down and free sigh!
The church looked more interesting architecturally.
We didn’t stick around much and headed back to Budapest to check out other interesting buildings like the Dohány Street Synagogue; it is the 2nd largest in the world.
There was a long queue for the ticket (4000 HUF) and strict dress code. We are not interested in religion nor museum so we didn’t go in. Next, we headed to the Shoes on the Danube Bank where we walk pass the Parliament building again from the metro station. I couldn’t help it but took another photo with it.
Shoes on the Danube Bank – a memorial of the Jews who were killed by the Arrow Cross militiamen in WWII. The Jews were ordered to take off their shoes on the edge of the river and were shot so that their bodies will fall into the river and carried away.
After the sightseeing across the city, we headed to Vietnamese Restaurant.
We tried out the Pho in Budapest and it was similar to the ones we had in Prague where the noodle was a flat rice noodle with shredded beef. The lemongrass broth was tasty and very different than the ones we had in Boston. So far of all the places I had Pho, I think the Pho in Boston is the best LOL…of course with the exception of Vietnam that we haven’t been to yet.
Two Phos and two smoothies cost 6,000 HUF (~$21), pretty good deal! Right near the resturant is this courtyard with food trucks that’s worth a stop to check it out.
After dinner, we went back to our cozy apartment to rest for our early morning flight leaving Budapest the next day at 7:00 AM! Budapest, in my opinion, is beautiful and perfect for night photography in terms of the architectures lit up at night, easy access, and very safe with my camera gears. Compared to Prague, I prefer Prague more though because of its charming old town that Budapest is lack of. Budapest felt like London and Paris with huge grand buildings scattered across the city so depending on what interests you have, there’s plenty of things to do and see. I would recommend both as they are close together for easy and cheap transportation and variety of both the old and new world charms.