The Danube river flows beautifully down the center of this city of architectural delights in Hungry. Budapest was formed in 1873 through the joining of Buda, Pest and Old Buda. Buda and Pest were actually two cities each located on opposite sides of the river. Buda on the East side and Pest on the West. We arrived with a completely open mind and no prior impression of this place.
Free Walking Tour
Budapest has a great variety of Free Walking Tours meeting daily at the Vörösmarty Square fountain. The tour covers about two and half miles of walking to review cultural history, society, and architecture. Additional tours include the Communism and Jewish District walks.
How do you pronounce it?
Budapest has been included as one of the hard-to-pronounce names. Many tourists have trouble saying Budapest properly. If you’ve been pronouncing it phonetically you’ve been doing it wrong. The Hungarian capital is actually pronounced “Boodah-Pesht” with a emphasis on the SH at the end.
Touring the Hungarian Parliament building is rated the number one attraction in Budapest and it is truly fantastic both inside and out. Tours are offered in a multitude of languages. They are timed and complimented by a knowledgable guide that will lead you around to view the buildings highlights. The inside is adorned with gold plated ceilings, decorative arches, and long windowed halls. The impressive grand entrance staircase, and hexagonal room where the crown jewels are displayed are magnificent. The jewels are protected on all sides by armed guards. You are allowed to look but a fair distance must be maintained at all times from the guards.
Castle Hill is recognized as a World Heritage site. Within these limestone walls overlooking the Danube are Budapest’s most important medieval monuments and museums. The Royal Palace and the Old Town sit within the walled area, while below is a network of caves formed by thermal springs. Budapest is well-known for its thermal baths: Turkish, Modern, etc. We also had some fun dancing with kids through a watery art installation.
There are many transportation options for reaching the top of this hill. We walked across the Danube over the Chain Bridge. Once across you can choose to catch a ride on the funicular to the top or walk up the Royal Steps. We walked the Royal Steps and paused at the top of the funicular to take in the view of the Pest side of the river.
As part of renovations to the castle the Fisherman’s Bastion was added between 1895 and 1902. Despite the name it’s not part of the fortress and not even from the middle ages. The Bastion is a look-out terrace with seven turrets. Many people find a resemblance in the design of the Bastion to the design of Walt Disney’s famous Cinderella castle. The terraces of the bastion offer one of the best panoramic views of Budapest.
Danube River Cruise
Our big highlight was taking a delicious dinner cruise on the Danube where we observed fantastic uplighting of Budapest’s Parliament building and Buda’s castle quarter. The cruise was amplified by the gourmet cuisine, and live music as we floated under the multitude of bridges connecting Buda to Pest. We would do this again in a heartbeat.
Getting There From Romania
A 10 hour train ride from Sibiu Romania to Budapest, Hungry took us back into the Schengen zone. We arrived at the Budapest Keleti Train Station were we saw a surreal scene, our first glimpse of immigrants.
Many appeared comfortably camped out in tents while they eagerly awaited their next move. There were many men with a fair mix of women and children who had made it to Hungry. For most staying in Budapest was not the ultimate goal. The goal was Germany where the promise of jobs and a future awaited them. However, getting there was proving to be a bit difficult.
Where to Stay
In hungry we choose another AirBnB. Prior to our arrival we alerted the host of my ongoing unpleasant sickness. Our host was once again amazing. She called her own doctor to discuss the issue, reassuring me to give the antibiotics time to do their job, and recommending a special Cranberry tea. The host presented the tea to us on our arrival and wrote down all the instructions for a local clinic if we decided we needed another test. Luckily, I was just being impatient and everything ended clearing itself up with a few more days.
My fathers open heart surgery was successful but he still hadn’t been released from the hospital. His recovery was taking a bit longer than most and the best spot for this transition was for him to remain in the hospital. We were planning our return to the United States in the next few weeks where we would be able to help out on a full time basis.
Budapest was a beautiful city architecturally with a lot to offer tourists. We covered as much as we could on foot, but DEFINITELY would revisit this city to have another look at some of the parts we weren’t able to see. There is just too much to experience. Next time – we will focus on the foodie side of Budapest!