We had three nights in Budapest so we were going to take it a bit easy rather than our usual of trying to cram everything into one day. We had booked into a walking tour so headed to the to rendezvous point only to find about 3 different companies all claiming to be the free walking tour company we booked with. Slightly annoying but we stayed with the one which were less scammy than the other only to realize there would have been about 30 people in the group. We were well and truly over it by this stage so left and went on a Tim’s free walking tour. Which has the added bonus of it actually being free.
The day was glorious and Budapest really is a beautiful place. The river Danube flows right through the middle and I didn’t know this but the city on one side of the river is called Buda and the other side Pest, hence the name. Amazing the things you learn. Our first stop on the tour was the Basilica of St Stephen. An immense church were you can climb to the top and be treated to wonderful views of the city, which we were very impressed with.
Next up was the Parliament building which really took my breath away. The detail on the building was amazing and it’s just so big. It’s actually difficult to get the whole of the building in the one shot. Built right in the river you also get a view onto the other side of the river at the Palace.
We then walked along the Danube and came across brass castings of shoes lined up on the edge of the bank. We figured it was a memorial of some sort and found out that it was a tribute to all the people who lost their lives (mostly Jewish) in WW2 by the Arrow Cross militiamen. They were herded to the river, ordered to strip, face the river and were shot in the back and were washed away by the river.
We crossed the Danube via the Chain bridge and on the other side we headed up the hill and went and had a look at the Palace. Again the views onto the other side Pest were stunning. The castle had a more medieval feel to it than the rest of the city.
We then wandered to Matthias church which is up there in the top churches I have seen. The patterned roof was so different and the detail of the spires stunning. You walk around the back and your eyes are accused by the ugly rose gold modern monstrosity which is the Hilton. How they managed to get planning permission for that so close to the church masterpiece astounds me.
We headed back home via the Christmas markets. I love Christmas in Europe as it is so completely different to what I am used to. The cold temperatures and snow, mulled wine, real Christmas trees and feel of the cities really makes you feel like it’s a winter wonderland. We ventured back out after the sun had set to get a glimpse of the super moon. Our first glimpse was shrouded in cloud but we persevered and were treated to a beautiful view over a church. Next was dinner and we had found out that the restaurant literally next door to our accomodation was good so we headed there and were treated to a really fantastic meal and even had our cheap Hungarian wine decanted for us by the wonderful waiter. Tim ordered the pork knuckle as he had been salivating over them in the Christmas markets and when it came out it could have fed both of us easily. Budapest day 1 has been pretty fantastic! S
The Basilica of St Stephen. It’s often difficult to appreciate just how huge these buildings are especially are.
The view down the spiral staircase from the top of the Church.
All around the city are sculptures and monuments just adding to the beauty.
The Parliament building. Beautifully intricate.
Harrowing, thinking about all the atrocities.
The Danube flowing through Budapest. Everywhere we walk the place just looks better and better.
Matthias Church, once again amazingly intricate and the roof just looks unreal.
A couple of shots of the Parliament.
The Royal Palace was pretty spectacular but possibly even better at night.
Buying the mulled wine to keep us warm and feeling festive!
Huge! Great food but the highlight was drinking some pretty good Hungarian wine.