A Chaotic Visit to Budapest

Travel is not always fun, in fact sometimes it can be quite unfortunate.  It’s easy to focus on the good because, thankfully, mostly travel is awesome. Most people when travelling dream of nirvana, paradise, leisure. After all these years of travelling I can certainly affirm that most of our journeys have been trouble free and I have felt both thrilled and entertained. But sadly this statement of mine was about change on a recent trip to Budapest. Only having a day to explore the city I had booked tickets on an early train from Vienna. 30 minutes before arriving into Budapest we suddenly heard an announcement ”Dear passengers, there has been a bomb found in the main train station and all trains being directed to nearby outskirts stations”. It suddenly felt like hell had broken loose!!!! People were speaking in Hungarian and when you went to ask anything they snapped and spoke no English. Finally we got down in some godforsaken station, luckily we finally found somebody who spoke a little English and with the help of our iphones we finally located the main train station where we were supposed to get to. Finally after a series of bus and train journeys we reached the city center where half of the day was already gone and we were already half dead. None the less the show must go on… and therefore we started with our sightseeing. On a different note it was just some silly person who had left their bag unattended in the station spoiling our day 😦 😦

In the first few glances Budapest looked like a cosmopolitan city of unexpected elegance which was both charming and rewarding. Spreading across the banks of the Danube River, the city is really a combination of two towns into one city. The west side is stately Buda, with its Castle Hill and remnants of Hungary’s days of grandeur. On the eastern side across the river is Pest, with prickly-spired buildings and the commercial town center.

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The iconic Parliament Building in Budapest

Although a modern European city we felt that the city had been influenced by many different countries and periods in history. The Romans, Magyars, Turks, Austrians, and Soviets have all left their mark on Budapest, helping shape it into the city that it is today. Since we had only 6 hours left, we started our sightseeing with the Buda Castle on Castle hill. Castle Hill has so much to see but the main highlights are the Royal Palace, Matthias Fountain, Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion. From Fisherman’s Bastion you’ll be able to see sprawling views of the city.

Buda Castle was home to Hungarian kings since 1265. Currently the oldest part of the castle, which is still remaining was built in the 14th century and has been a World Heritage Site since 1987. One way to reach the Buda Castle from the Chain Bridge is to take the Funicular Railway cable car. Alternatively you can enjoy views of the city while going up the tram or also opt for a Hop on Hop off tour (which we did).

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Buda Castle
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Walking around you can see beautiful architecture
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Courtyard of the Castle

Next we walked towards the Matthias Church. It was built as Roman Catholic Church in the 13th century but fell in the hands of Turks and was converted into a mosque. Finally towards the end of the 19th Century a major reconstruction took place and the building regained much of its former splendour. For me I enjoyed the Fisherman’s Bastion the most. Though it looked a bit a like a giant sand castle the unique neo gothic style structure is something which can’t be found anywhere else in the city. Its round turrets and spiral columns made me imagine of Disney stories (I know I have wild imagination 🙂 ). As per the story goes it was created on the spot where a guild of fishermen defended the city from invasion during the Middle Ages. From here we got magnificent views of the Danube, Margaret Island, Pest to the east and the Gellért Hill.

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Matthias Church

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The first view of Fisherman’s Bastion

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Wish the place was not so crowded….

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We then descended and crossed over to the Pest side of the city. When walking along the Danube river promenade, the view of the Chain Bridge in Budapest is remarkable, from both sides of the river. The Chain Bridge is the first permanent stone bridge that connects Buda and Pest and actually is an important landmark of the Hungarian capital. Opened in 1849, it’s historically important as the oldest bridge joining Buda to Pest, and the twisted chain cables holding up this suspension bridge are rather unusual. However it’s the views on both sides that make it significant.

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Chain Bridge over the Danube River
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A closer look

Next we walked towards the Hungarian Parliament Building. Although we didn’t get the time to go insideLthe view from outside was simply magnificent. The Parliament Building is a superb example of the Neo Gothic architecture although it displays Renaissance and Baroque characters too and is just over 100 years old. It is the third largest parliament building in the world and the same height as St Stephen’s Basilica. The Parliament building tour is a very popular activity and time slots do fill up fast so it is very important to plan and reserve in advance.

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The beautiful parliament building

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Having taken some nice shots we walked towards St Stephen’s Basilica, a Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest, Hungary. It is the largest church in Budapest and can hold up to 8500 people. Although in architectural terms it is a cathedral it was given the tile of ‘basilica minor’ in 1931.

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St Stephen’s Basilica (we didn’t go inside

We then started walking on the Andrássy Avenue.  Andrássy Avenue is an iconic boulevard dating back to 1872 and is often compared to Champs-Élysées in Paris. It is lined with luxury boutiques and old mansions (many of which have seen better days). Hungary’s opera house is located along this avenue, as is the House of Terror museum. And finally at the end of Andrassy Avenue was the Heroes Square. It was created in 1896 to mark the 1,000th anniversary of the Magyar conquest and foundation of the Hungarian state. Heroes Square is dominated by the Millennium Monument. Its centrepiece is a column topped by Archangel Gabriel holding the Hungarian Holy Crown. Behind that are two curved colonnades featuring statues of important people in Hungarian history.

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The Heroes Square

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There are a few things we missed out on our trip that I would like to see if we visited Budapest again. It was on my list to see the Shoes on the Danube memorial, the Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park and also the Széchenyi Spa. If things had gone according to the plan may be we would have managed a bit more but hey!!! It’s sometimes more fun if things go out of plan. Nonetheless we found Budapest, to be a city of both nuance and paradox, which has survived its turbulent history beautifully. The city has lots to offer and if you are going there make sure you spend at least 2 to 3 days.

Have you been to Budapest, share your views with us below…

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Matt says:

    Hi, Great blog, brings back so many memories. It seems that you have managed to get to all the main spots. When I visited I went into the House of Terror museum that you mentions, that is a very interesting place and to be located on the actual site it’s quite harrowing. Great pics as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. roshniray says:

      Thanks Matt. Although we didn’t get to go inside the House of Terror saw it from outside while walking 🙂

      Like

  2. Neni says:

    That´s an interesting post. I´m going on a roadtrip through Hungary next year and I cannot wait.
    And let me say I love your blog layout!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. roshniray says:

      Thanks Neni 🙂 Road trip through Hungary sounds very exciting.

      Like

  3. Mr Paul says:

    your pictures are outstanding!! Budapest is defiantly on my list of places to visit in 2017, great blog keep up the great content, if you get a chance take a look at mine https://mrpaulblog.com/2016/08/24/jet-lag/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. roshniray says:

    Thanks Paul. Found your jet lag post very interesting.

    Like

  5. lydia@lifeuntraveled says:

    I’m an architecture-lover and I could see myself walking around for hours photographing all these beautiful buildings and structures. The bomb threat must’ve been a scary experience but fortunately it was a false alarm and no one was hurt. :\

    Liked by 1 person

    1. roshniray says:

      I know even though quite annoying but thank god it was a false alert 🙂

      Like

  6. MARINA says:

    This article brings me so nice memories… I was in Budapest about a couple of weeks ago, and although didn’t like it as much as I expected, It was still so much fun and crazy loads of things to visit!
    I did also visited Heroes Square when walking towards Szechenyi Bath and climbed up St Stephen’s Basilica after getting my gelato rosa 🙂
    Did you had the chance to have a bath in any of its city spas??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. roshniray says:

      Thanks Marina. To be honest even we didn’t like Budapest as much as we expected although we could have done much more if we had time. 🙂

      Like

  7. Bipasha says:

    I visited most of these places in the evening, very different but just as nice to see them in the daylight 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. roshniray says:

      I know on my part I would have loved to see these places at night 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bipasha says:

        Until you visit again, you can find some pics on my blog 😉

        Like

  8. Julie Cao says:

    The parliament building is my favorite. To me it is fairytale like and you captured it from an very nice angle. I would love to stand in front of it in person to admire its beauty and grandeur. The bomb accident sucks tho, but glad you explored much of the Budapest as you could, and hope you will make it back in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. roshniray says:

      Thanks Julie 🙂 Captured loads of images of the parliament building as it is my favorite too 🙂 I was so sad because we lost lots of time due to the bomb accident but at least we covered most of sights.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. nisha says:

    What a lovely set of photos! Hungary has been on my list for a long time now 😦 Dunno when its time will come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. roshniray says:

      Thanks Nisha for your lovely comment 🙂 Make sure you spend at least 2 days when you visit Budapest.

      Like

  10. Thanks so much for sharing and celebrating, in words and images, one of my favorite places in the whole world! All the best to you in travels and life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. roshniray says:

      Thanks Frank 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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