When mentally listing what cities and countries we will return to, Budapest definitely makes the cut. This city has something to suit every traveler, from high brow to low, and at every price point. The backpackers have ruin pubs and kebabs, culture seekers have classical music (except in September) and excellent cafes, and everyone gets to enjoy the beautiful Danube, ornate buildings, rich history, and friendly people.
As usual, getting this shot involved negotiating all the people taking selfies in front of the sign. If you don’t have a picture, were you ever really there?
Budapest is actually the towns of Buda and Pest, separated by the Danube. This view is from the top of Buda, which has the oldest parts of town. In the center is the famous Lion Bridge.
The stunning Hungarian Parliament building.
I think Communist architecture is synonymous with 70s modernism. I love how this shot is a blast from the past, especially with the bright yellow tram.
As above, this is part of a downtown park that was formerly named for Stalin. I wish we had more spaces like this in North America. Today there is a a beer garden, skate park, and sculpture installations in addition to the traditional layout and marble fountains.
With directions from Rick Steves, we finally found the Paris Court. An opulent arcade built in 1913, only a few stores are still open today. The building is too expensive to update but too beautiful to tear down.
The other MTV – Magyar Televizio. This is one of the things that was better during Communism featuring broadcasts of operas, classic concerts, and other cultural content. The building was recently bought by a Canadian hotel so perhaps this will be a Fairmont.
To complete our Communist education, we visited the House of Terror. Housed in the former headquarters for the secret police of both the Nazi and Communist governments, there are still jails in the cellar. There is some controversy about the information displayed. Regardless, it is worth a look. I appreciated that the museum recognized the many men that died fighting communism, depicted above.
And in Rick’s words, “The chilling finale: walls of “victimizers” — local members and supporters of the Arrow Cross and ÁVO, many of whom are still living, and who were never brought to justice.”
We were lucky that there was an Egon Schiele exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts. It was incredible to see the talent and precision of his line work up close. The exhibition was wonderfully curated with work from the same era, giving me a more complete picture of his influences.
Ruin pubs take over decaying buildings and add creative decor and plenty of drinks.
“Taking the waters” is the must do activity in Budapest. It’s not cheap but a must do. Get your money’s worth by staying all day! The guide book describes a complicated procedure to get in but it is easy and efficient and people will help out if you’re looking lost. There are numerous indoor and outdoor pools to enjoy as well as a beer garden. The atmosphere is so relaxing, especially on a hot summer day. It really felt like we were at the beach.