Don't Miss This in Budapest!
Let's not beat around the bush: I'm excited to announce the start of a new series on the blog, "Don't Miss This!"
"Don't Miss This" is going to be our quick hit, have-to-do-this suggestion for the #1 thing to do, see, or try in the cities we've visited. Don't expect the Eiffel Tower to end up on our Paris review, or the Golden Gate Bridge for San Francisco. Each of these posts will review the slightly-less-than-famous attraction/restaurant/scene that really caught our eye, and spoke to our individual tastes and interests.
First up in the series, my entry on my recent trip to Budapest.
Don't Miss This: The Hospital in The Rock
One thing Mike and I share is a passion for history. In fact, Mike was a history major at Hofstra University (on the other hand, I was a business major, which also probably explains why I'm much more energized by the credit card and manufactured spend game than Mike is)! When we travel, we're known to visit historical museums and off-the-beaten path monuments and memorials that pay tribute to some of our favorite stories from the annals of history. Visiting Budapest, the capital of Hungary in the heart of Central Europe, was an opportunity to engage with a history I had yet to encounter, paying my first-ever visit to a state that fell behind the Iron Curtain.
I paid a solo visit to Budapest in March of 2016 (via an incredible fare on Air Canada, and you can find my full write-up on The Flight Deal), and didn't do much prep prior to visiting. A family friend who was born and raised there, along with some Facebook crowdsourcing, were the only research I had to go on, so much of the trip was dictated by whatever caught my eye in the moment. When I heard about the Hospital in The Rock, I made an immediate detour to visit.
Underneath Buda Castle (one of Budapest's main attractions) exists over 10KM of naturally occurring caves. During WW2, and the Hungarian Revolution, a section of these caves were converted into a medical hospital, intended to service approximately 60 patients. At times, the load became so excessive there were more like 200, 300, or even 600 patients.
There are no photos inside the hospital, but if there were I'd have a boatload (and you can browse the on-line galleries). The museum has over 100 wax figures, displayed to help give context and meaning to exactly what went on within the hospital, and what life was like for patients. You'll see a double-bed operating room (highly against protocol), patients lying three to a bed, and even some who were forced to rest on the floor of the caves. Also on display are heaps of medical artifacts from the time period.
The entrance to the museum is on the west side of of Buda Hill, and the entry cost is 4000 forints (approx. 14$USD).
Fun Fact: There is an old Morpheus anesthesia machine inside the operating room, and this very machine was used in the filming of Evita, which was shot in Budapest!