Since we were spending two weeks in Budapest, we decided to do a few day trips to discover Hungary outside of an urban center. Our friend Nora strongly recommended us two destinations, and that’s what we did. With Budapest well developed public transport system we were able to easily make those trips.
We left Budapest in the sunny morning of a beautiful day in order to get to Gödöllõ. This place was the favorite residence of the beautiful Empress Sissi. German from birth, she became Empress of Austria and then Queen of Hungary. It is said that Sissi loved Hungary and it’s language and that the Magyar people loved her in return. As a wedding gift, she received the Gödöllõ castle which is the largest castle of Hungary. The Baroque days took place during our visit of the Castle. There were free activities for children such as theatres, games of skills, crafts, etc. We took advantage of this excursion to visit the interior of the Castle and learn more about the kingship of Hungary including Queen Marie-Thérèse and afterwards Queen Elisabeth (Sissi). It’s the first castle that we have visited that had French signs, it was great for Hugo that reads a lot faster in French than in English.
The history of the Castle also includes the of the end of the monarchy, the period of the second world war, the occupation by by the Red Army and finally the revitalization of the castle to make it a museum. It’s a national gem and we decided to buy it to make it our summer cabin 😉 The gardens are beautiful and we always like to include a long walk outside after being inside a castle or museum for a long period of time. The boys need to go crazy and run a bit to let go some of that extra energy and these gardens were a great playground for them. When we found a pedestal, the boys had a lot of fun creating monuments to their effigy.
Our second day trips took place in Szentendre also accessible by train from Budapest. It was also on a sunny day that we headed to Szentendre in order to visit the Hungarian open air museum. We had to walk a few kilometres to get to the Museum. As we were not sure how to get to the Museum, we first followed a group of kids from a day camp. We were certain that they were going to the Museum too, but no they did not… oops We had the chance to walk in a picturesque area of Szentendre with shops that our mothers would have adored to visit. After realizing that we weren’t going in the right direction, we had to turn back and thanks to a map on a sign and directions from a nice lady we got there alive. We learned later that there was a bus close to the train station that makes the trip to the Museum and we made sure to take it to return back to the train station at the end of the day. We must learn from our mistakes, right?
We had a few hours to visit the ethnographic museum which consists in about 400 buildings dating from the 18th and 19th century from everywhere in the country that have been moved there to create the exhibition. We could observed the traditional architecture of the different regions of Hungary. We were able to contemplate the reconstructed interior of rural houses, workshop, trades (dyeing, shoemaker, store keeper), churches, mills, etc. We had read somewhere to plan about two hours to visit it all, but four hours would be more accurate according to us especially with children. Unfortunately, we had to skip several houses at the end of the day, because the site was going to close. The boys enjoyed themselves and during the visit there’re places created specifically for them in which they can have fun recreating the life of the time or simply having fun in a play structure. Their favorite building was strangely the school that was not so different from the schools they had already seen in other museums of Ethnography in Canada.
Therefore this blog concludes our stay in Hungary. This country has a lot to offer, and the next time we come to Hungary, we would love to visit something outside of Budapest, such as Lake Balaton or Eger.