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..


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.


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…


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


And of course the Parliament Building…


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


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


the church interior is beautiful..


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


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


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”…


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!


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.


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.

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