25 July 2008

Pork Knuckles and Walking Over to Slovakia

Yesterday, me and my folks took the long-distance bus to Esztergom, Hungary. This is a town on the edge of the country, on the Danube Bend. This town is famous for the location of the Esztergom Basilica, which is the location of the archbishop of Hungary, the direct representative of the Holy See in the country.

The bus ride was about an hour long, and we had to go the bus station in Arpad Hid to take it. Once there, we bought tickets in the bus station, and my Hungarian phrasebook was put into use, when I requested three return tickets for Esztergom.

Once there, we walked a little bit in order to reach the citadel and the church. It was a short walk from the bus station, and we saw the towering structure immediately. Of course I took plenty of photos.

This is a shot of the exterior of the church.

The interior of the church was very much impressive, and so was the crypt. I have the say the church looked rather different from all the other churches I have visited so far; it looked like a UFO that landed on a hill.

This is a shot of the dome inside.

This on the other hand is a shot of the crypt.

After visiting the church, we were already hungry and so we went to this guidebook-recommended restaurant, whose specialty was pork knuckles. We each ordered something different, and it was really indeed recommendable. I noticed that Hungarian restaurants differ from other European restaurants in the sense that the servings are larger than usual. Aside from pork and lamb knuckles, I also ordered butcher's soup, which had some rather exotic cuts of meat in it.

After that, we decided to cross the Maria Valeria Bridge and cross over into Slovakia. The bridge links Hungary with Slovakia over the Danube River. It was rather fun crossing a national border by foot; I only did that once before when I entered the Vatican City from Italy. I don't know, because I come from an island nation, international border crossings for me somehow need to consist of air travel, so even the train ride to Vienna that I took last week was rather bizarre.

I took the following picture on top of the bridge, when we crossed over to Slovakia. This was Country No. 17 for me.

We spent an hour in Sturovo, Slovakia. However, unlike Esztergom, this wasn't a tourist town. There weren't things to see and do, so we headed back to Hungary after strolling the main square. I suppose the best thing I saw was the Holocaust Memorial in Sturovo, tucked in a quiet part of the square.

Anyway, that was yesterday, and it tired us out, after the long day. When I got back home, my feet were very glad that they got out of my shoes.


  1. Walking to Slovenia is pretty cool! I love crossing borders by foot, it's so much more relaxed and fun than flying and going through immigration etc. before catching a glimpse of the country.

    The church is beautiful.

  2. Zhu,

    It is cool, yes indeed! A weird experience, like you said. And you fell for the English confusion as well, since the Slovak name for the country of "Slovakia" is "Slovenska Republika" which is definitely similar to "Slovenia", but is actually a different country.

    And yes, the church is beautiful, in a rather non-conventional sense.

  3. Going up to Esztergom next week via Bus from Budapest. Two things, Did you climb the Dome in the Catherdral and if so was it worth it? Secondly what was the name of the Restuarant you ate at, I love a good Pork Knuckle!

  4. Tom,

    When we visited, the weather was overcast and rainy, so we didn't climb up the dome. Also, good thing I still have my Hungary guidebook with me, the restaurant we had lunch at was Csulok Csarda. It seems they are still around, and their website is found here: http://www.csulokcsarda.hu/