London and Budapest   Leave a comment

Leah finished her Master’s in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and it was time to head to London for her graduation! We decided to make a trip of it, and stop by Budapest on our way to London.

Budapest has a long and storied history, with periods under Roman, Tatar, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian rule before being occupied by Germany and then the Soviet Union in World War II. The history lends Budapest a resilient spirit and broad culture. During our visit, we were able to see a wide variety of the sites. Sunday, we saw the Dohány Street Synagogue and St. Stephen’s Basilica before taking a cruise along the Danube River and ending the evening at one of the ruin bars, watering holes that sprung up in derelict buildings and evolved into bohemian landmarks.

Monday, we visited Buda Castle, the historical seat of the Hungarian Kings. From there, we explored the Hospital in the Rock, a sprawling hospital complex built into cave systems under the castle. The hospital was built just before World War II, and was most notably used in the siege of Budapest at the end of the war. It was subsequently developed as a nuclear and chemical warfare bunker before being decommissioned in the 1980s and converted into a museum in the 2000s. We ended the day with a visit to the Szechenyi baths, the largest medicinal bath in Europe built on a thermal artesian well. Tuesday, we saw the Great Market Hall and spent some time in the Rudas Baths, thermal baths built under the Ottoman Empire. Wednesday, checked out of our room and climbed up Gellért Hill to the Liberty Statue that celebrates the liberation of the city from Nazi occupation before heading off to London.

The London activities started with Leah’s long-awaited graduation ceremony on Thursday. For the rest of the week, I got to meet the friends she worked so hard with during her master’s. Friday, we saw Waitress, one of Leah’s favorite musicals, made extra special by Sarah Bareilles’s reprisal of the lead role. Saturday, we saw a matinée showing of Dear Evan Hansen before going for a dinner cruise on the Thames. Over our lovely meal floating through the middle of London’s beautiful river skyline, I proposed to Leah, and she enthusiastically accepted! Sunday, we flew back home, graduated and engaged.

Pictures from Sunday – Dohány Street Synagogue, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Danube River cruise, ruin bar:

Pictures from Monday – Buda Castle, Hospital in the Rock, Szechenyi baths:

Pictures from Tuesday and Wednesday – Great Market Hall, Rudas Baths, Gellért Hill, Liberty Statue:

Pictures from Thursday graduation ceremony:

Finally, a couple of pictures from the Saturday night dinner cruise and proposal:

Posted 23 Feb 2020 by John McManigle in Adventure, Travel

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