There are many beautiful cities in the world. There are many pleasant cities in the world. And there are some efficient ones. Budapest seems to combine all of these aspects – I recommend it.
Budapest. A city of two halves. Buda contains the castle and some beautiful churches. It’s relatively quiet and residential.
From the castle in Buda there is a panorama of Pest, seen here at night where the Houses of Parliament are illuminated. The gothic buildings are wonderfully ornate.
By the castle lies the Fisherman’s Bastion, a complex stone carving next to the Hilton Hotel. The area around is filled with street performers such as a man with an eagle:
A man playing a stringless violin with a wooden spoon:
When his nose is pressed it makes the sound of a klaxon. When his right ear is tweaked, it squeaks – and the left ear brays like a donkey.
The castle walls are hugely popular with groups posing:
People take selfies.
An artist sells his wares:
And some of us marvel at the scenery:
Round the back of the castle there are pleasant walks and an altogether smaller scale arrangement of properties:
One of the oldest buildings in the old town is the Mary Magdalene Tower. Built in a gothic style it was destroyed during the invasion of 1945. It is now open to the public and offers panoramic views across to the Buda Hills.
It’s quite a climb to the castle – and the queue for the funicular painfully long and slow. We took a ‘city bus’,effectively a hop on hop off minibus. This was 8 euro each that was well spent.The final destination was thus museum.
These are possibly the largest statues I’ve ever seen.
The residential and office area behind is home to embassies and other institutions. I love the door furniture: And window boxes.
Anywhere that is 25 degree Celsius at the end of October has my vote.
And so a concert in the Matthias Church was a pleasure as we queued in the warmth of the evening (external picture taken during day).
The string orchestra played so well in one of the most beautifully decorated churches I have ever seen, as shown above.
But Budapest is not all high culture:
We resisted the apparently strong temptation to visit this place….which was next door to our AirBnb, shown here:
Ours was the first apartment on the right in this pic. It had everything we needed – and also a landlord who strongly encouraged us to drink Palinka (40 percent alcohol) chased by beer on arrival. He provided us with the obligatory shoes we required for the thermal baths. No real pics of this other than the entrance hall of the one (of severa which exist) that we visited. It was to say the least a surreal experience , speaking as one who often avoids the jacuzzi at the local gym. So many people. Such warm water. Such a sulphurous smell.
Budapest food is good.
The specialties are : langos, a kind of deep fried pizza base with a topping of your choice: and chimney cake…. a strip of dough wrapped round a wooden former and cooked in front of gas burners.
The completed article, sugar drenched, can be seen on the far side of the artisan. Frequently they are then filled with ice cream.
We ate these (langos, far too full for chimney cake) on the island in the Danube which is also home to a circus, a thermal bath, a Japanese garden, some ruins, a small zoo, a running track, a theatre …. and some superb fountains which pulsate to pre-programmed music every hour:
Meanwhile the children are entertained with bubbles:
There are some sombre areas in Budapest, such as the memorial to the 3 500 people, of which 800 Jews, who were lined up and shot on the banks of the Danube during 1944-5. Sixty pairs of time appropriate shoes have been cast and arranged on the Pest bank of the river. Many Jewish people visited the evening we were there.
The town has wonderful public transport and good markets:
And excellent coffee:
Definitely a place to visit.