Thursday turned out to be a quiet day for us as Noah went to school with the son of our new friends and Drew stayed home to study her geometry. I headed out in the morning to get a haircut, yes, it has been more than 2 months since getting a haircut and my hair was getting a bit out of control. Finding a place to get it cut was interesting in itself, but the real interesting part was telling the barber that I usually have them use a trimmer with a Number 2 trimmer. He starts trimming away with the electric razor and gets it to the length I’m used to and then he puts on a smaller adapter and starts trimming some more. I stop him and say why is it so short? It turns out that a Number 2 in the US is in inches and the Number 2 in Europe is in mm. So, my hair looks a bit more military than usual, but this cut should last me until I get home.
The rest of the day was spent picking up Noah from school, getting food for everyone and getting some rest. Today we let everyone sleep in and headed out of the apartment a bit after noon to go over to the big Dohany Synagogue just a couple of blocks from where we are staying. This Synagogue is the largest in Europe and the 2nd largest in the world. We bought tickets and started with the tour in the museum, which was very nice. There were four sections of the small museum, one dedicated to the Jewish holidays, one dedicated to the Torah, one dedicated to normal life in Budapest and the last section was dedicated to the Holocaust. On this portion of the tour we met a couple who currently live in Amsterdam but are from Denver. Deborah and Chris will also be traveling to Berlin the same dates that we will and we will try to connect while we are there and probably when we are in Amsterdam the following week.
After spending time in the museum we went into the synagogue to hear from another tour guide about the building itself. We heard about the synagogue being designed more like a cathedral than a synagogue, and that was evident in so many ways. The building was beautiful, not as beautiful as the synagogue in Florence, but extremely special. There was a huge pipe organ in the building as well as many other non-typical items for a synagogue. We were also walked around the property and shown some of the sculptures and monuments build for those who died during the Nazi regime. There is one more monument that we will visit tomorrow, which is the shoe exhibit on the Danube in front of the Parliament building.
After the museum visit it was time to find more food. It is crazy when you have two hungry teenagers with you all the time. Noah seems to be hungry all the time, except when he wakes up. I don’t get it, but there are a lot of things I don’t get these days! We tried to find one of the Jewish restaurants, but since it was 4 pm on Friday afternoon they were all closed for the Sabbath. We found a small place near our apartment that had fried cheese, something we had our first day here that Drew has been craving. We shared a few plates of fried cheese and the kids then wanted some soup from the Ramen Noodle shop right beneath our apartment building. Now, we have ordered soup from this one shop 4 different times in 5 days. Noah is addicted to the soup so we keep getting an order just about every day. Ilise and I like variety in our eating experiences, but the kids are pretty set on finding one place and eating there over and over again. How boring!
After eating we headed back to the apartment because we had scheduled a massage for both Ilise and I at the apartment. Our new friend Andrea had a referral to someone who does home visits. We welcomed another Andrea into the apartment and both Ilise and I enjoyed some relaxing time. This Andrea was a young and very eloquent professional. She is a college graduate that came to Budapest from the rural area of Hungary. She just got a job with Nestle full time and does massage in the evenings and on weekends. She was a full time masseuses at one of the local baths when she first moved here, but they work 12 hour days 6 days a week. Delivering massages like that must be exhausting. All in all, it was a really nice day. We did get some rain today, but hopefully tomorrow will be much more sunshine so we can see the last few tourist attractions before we head to Prague on Sunday.
To a life well lived!