Everyone went on a bus tour of the city from 9-1 today. We visited the Citadel, which is the highest point in the city and you can see a large portion of both the Buda side as well as the Pest side (pronounced pesht). From there we visited other sections on both sides of the river including the Jewish section, Hero Square, and the castle district. (check out the slide show to the right for some pictures from the tour)
Once we were finished with the tour, we all split into groups to explore the many things the holiday had to offer. It seems food was the first priority of everyone. Along the Danube, street vendors had long lines at times for their warm food. Some ordered the traditional favorite goulash, which is much different from American versions. Others had a variety of sausages, meet, giant pretzels, and pastries.
Once our bellies were full, and we were a little warmer, we all struck out in different directions. Some viewed groups singing traditional Hungarian songs of 1848, others saw parades of period soldiers on horseback, and a speech given by a current candidate for political office. Many places had re-enactments of daily life activities or marching soldier-type demonstrations.
Between 6 and 7pm, everyone regrouped and headed out to dinner - also in groups. We plan to meet for breakfast in the morning to debrief from today and make sure everyone is ready for our first day of business visits. There will be a great deal of public transportation involved so I'm sure we'll have plenty of stories for tomorrow's blog. Until tomorrow.