Friday, June 19, 2020

Re-visiting Budapest



Will we travel again? I sometimes wonder how far in the future that will be. In the meantime, let's re-visit Budapest, Hungary, as it was last August. We arrived on our floating hotel to our last stop on the river cruise. I can't recommend Avalon Waterways enough. Small groups, great guides, wonderful accommodations and delicious food. So lovely.

Budapest is part of the former Soviet Block as evidenced by some of the buildings and the history there. 


From our ship we walked a couple of miles to our Air BnB - a new, very clean apartment in a modern high rise. Our view looked towards the river and overlooked brick one or two-story factories from the turn of the 19th century. Most were abandoned; a few still in use. A lot of building was going on - we counted 18 cranes from our windows. 

Each morning of our stay we walked a couple of blocks to catch Tram #2, touted as one of the most scenic tram rides in Europe. It follows the Pest side of the Danube River and gave great views of the Buda architecture on the other side of the river. 


We took several walking tours of this beautiful city. Much of the city was turned to rubble during World War II and was rebuilt during the Soviet era. Our guides told us that many of the buildings look like authentic rebuilds on the outside, but the insides are bare white walls. 

The market was a fun place to wander through. We picked up paprika (smoked, hot, and sweet), and I've enjoyed using it this year.


On very hot day we took a tram (not #2) to City Park. At one end of the park is Millenium Square, built in 1896 to commemorate 1000 years of Hungarian history. The statues ringing the square feature famous kings and chieftains. On top of the central column stands a statue of the Archangel Gabriel holding St. Stephen's crown. 

The square is massive and was used during the Soviet era to hold great choreographed marches and later, demonstrations.


After several days of walking miles and miles, we took a Spa Day at the Gellert Baths. Built in 1918 these thermal baths comprise a complex of outdoor and indoor pools of various temperatures. The architecture is stunning with tiles and mosaics throughout. We ate lunch at the restaurant on the patio and spent most of the day trying out the pools.

 
The Hospital in the Rock was another interesting, but sobering sight. On the Buda side of the river, the land rises steeply. In the rock is a 10 kilometre cave system that was developed into a hospital during the second World War, and then again during the 1956 Revolution. Later, it became a nuclear bunker. The tour opened our eyes to some of the harsh realities of medicine during war. 


One warm evening we wandered along the Danube towards the Parliament building. Opened in 1902, the building is the largest in Hungary. It is magnificent, especially as dusk falls and lights twinkle on. 

Budapest is a friendly city, with many parks and green spaces interspersed with grand boulevards and immense buildings. It's not likely we'll return there, but I'm very glad we have seen this beautiful city. 

20 comments:

  1. Fascinating post Lorrie. I too have been revisiting via my blog some of our holidays taken in Paris and London and enjoying the tours and walks we did all from the comfort of home!! I doubt if we will ever make longer distance trips again but I do hope we might once again visit Paris and Limoges via train one day. Other mosre distant places can be revisited in our memories whilst we take our city breaks in the UK instead.

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  2. Budapest is a beautiful city! We stayed across the river from the Parliament Buildings and the lights were magical. I don't know when I will take another long trip. I love to look at travel photos and to remember how fortunate I have been. It might be armchair travel for a while.

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  3. A place that I have never been so it was a delight to see the city through your eyes. We had planned several trips but have cancelled them or had the cancelled who knows when travel will be possible and indeed safe again.

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  4. Beautiful! Those old European countries have so much character to them. And are so very walkable. We enjoyed our time last year in Tblisi, Georgia and Sofia, Bulgaria. Had plans to go to Albania this year but that's definitely not going to happen. :(

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  5. I enjoyed your little tour of Budapest. I've watched Rick Steve's travelogues of so many areas/countries including, of course, Budapest.
    Places we'll never see in this lifetime.

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  6. Looks like an amazing and beautiful city to visit. I'm wondering about when it will feel good to travel again. We will see if British Airways gives us vouchers for our already purchased flights and for how far out those vouchers will be good for. I'm hoping they give us 2 years but we don't even know if they'll give us vouchers at all. Time will tell. I have no desire to travel that far in the current climate of things... Happy Father's day to your hubby!

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  7. The Parliament building is spectacular.

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  8. In these tricky times isn’t it great to have photos to look back on. Love the colourful roof of the churches. B x

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  9. Dear Lorrie,
    I have the travel bug. Thank you for sharing your trip to Budapest. Would love to see more of your travels.

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  10. Budapest looks amazing.
    Lovely to see your photographs and read about your trip too.

    All the best Jan

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  11. My Hungarian side of the family would love this post. I have never been to Buda or Pest How beautiful it is!

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  12. I enjoyed my armchair travel with you tonight! I remember your trip there last summer, and enjoyed your pictures then. Such a beautiful city, and how wonderful that you got to see so many different parts of the culture. I can't imagine how difficult it was to see some of the hospital procedures during the war. So many things to be thankful for today! Many blessings :)

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  13. Will we ever travel again? Good question! Thanks for taking us along on a tour of Budapest today. Lovely city!

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  14. It's wonderful that you have your memories of this beautiful city. It does seem that visits may not be happening any time soon. I remember seeing pictures my son sent from there a few years ago. He was working on a television show being filmed there and spent his time off exploring and meeting locals, some who he still is in touch with. In fact, one friend from there who had moved to Spain to work had invited my son and his family to his wedding that was supposed to be this summer. It was to have been my granddaughters first trip to Europe, one of many cancelled trips for many people. Who would ever have thought?

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  15. Budapest looks like such an interesting city! I loved all the detail in your photographs. Lorrie, Travel adds so much to our lives and I hope we can return to traveling again sooner than later. I hope and pray for an end to this virus!

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  16. Having the paprika would be so special as a reminder of your trip each time you use it. What a special trip. I love reminiscing these days of past travels, since there is no travel this year. We will take three days at the beach, but that is it. Hoping we all can travel again in a year or two.

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  17. Thanks for the armchair travel! It's fun to reminisce about previous trips since corona has suspended non-essential travels.

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  18. I may have told you already, but my two youngest sons took art classes in Budapest, and they loved the city. I don't know if I'll ever get there, but I know that I'd love it. I'm sure that you and Tim are thankful that you went when you did.

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  19. "Stunning" is a good word to describe these views and photos. I was expecting to see really beautiful buildings and yet the Parliament house amazed me.
    Thank you for the interesting post. (I have never visited Hungary.)

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  20. Hi Lorrie,

    I wonder the same thing about traveling. Sigh. I enjoyed this post and your pictures, especially the first one. I've always thought Budapest would be an exotic place to visit. Such an interesting city with very old history. What type of food did they serve? Did you enjoy it?

    Thanks for sharing with us and have a good week!

    Hugs to you,

    Denise

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