Hello, Budapest

We were in Budapest in September, hoping for sunny weather but getting a mixture of sun and clouds, as you will see in our photos.  Budapest is the capital and largest city in Hungary, with a population of about 1.7 million. The co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire until the empire was dissolved in 1918 at the end of WWI, the city is packed with beautiful architecture.  The Danube river flows through Budapest, separating the hilly Buda section on the left from the flat Pest section on the right..

IMG_0843

Although Pest is newer, that still does not mean new.  The ornate and impressive Parliament Building was completed in 1904, and is one of the largest parliament buildings in the world.

IMG_0842

One of Budapest’s best features is the night time illumination of the bridges and buildings, making it truly one of the best-lit cities in the world.  A river boat is the best way to see the sites, including the 19th century Chain Bridge…

IMG_0823

the Buda Palace which was completed in the mid 1700’s…

IMG_0822

And of course the Parliament Building…

IMG_0809

Heroes’ square is a large public gathering space featuring statues of important leaders in Hungary’s past.

IMG_0835

Back on the Buda side, the 13th century Matthias church sits on castle hill…

IMG_0837

the church interior is beautiful..

IMG_0836

And right outside is a statue of Stephen I of Hungary, with the Fisherman’s Bastion panoramic viewing terrace in the background.

IMG_0839

Back in the city, we stopped in the Central Market Hall.  These peppers are the basis for the famous Hungarian paprika.

IMG_0834_2

Ruin bars are a fairly recent phenomenon in Central and Eastern Europe.  Without permission and under the radar, an enterprising person will set up a bar in an abandoned building.  Often the business is eventually discovered and becomes semi-legitimate, paying rent, etc.  The outside of the buildings typically have “character”…

IMG_0846

But it is the eye-opening interiors of the ruin bars which have some of the most eclectic, garage-sale items you could ever imagine….fun!

IMG_0845

But who wants to hang out indoors on a rare beautiful day?  We took the metro to the Szechenyi thermal baths, one of several spa complexes around town that capitalize on the local geothermal hot springs, which have made Budapest a spa town since Roman times.  Pools of different temperatures are located throughout the ornate buildings.  We had a great time soaking and watching the locals and foreign tourists at the main outdoor pool, which was our favorite.

IMG_0794

And so our brief visit to Budapest comes to an end.  It is a friendly, up-and-coming city, and we are so glad we had a chance to discover its charms.  We are boarding a river cruise ship for a trip up the Danube – – we will share our river adventure discoveries in a future post.


One thought on “Hello, Budapest

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s