Photo of the Week – National Day, Budapest

This week's photo is of the Chain Bridge in Budapest.

The flags were flying to celebrate National Day on 15 March. This day celebrates the 1848 Revolution. There was a lot of green, white and red on display as Hungarians proudly celebrated their nation.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

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Photo of the Week – Statue of Girl playing with her dog, Budapest

This week's photo is another one of those quirky statues that I love. It is of a girl playing with a dog.

This statue is located near the Erzsebet Bridge in Budapest. I do not know the significance of the statue as I could not find any information about it. This does stop me from liking the statue. In the sunlight it gave an impression of relaxation.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

Budapest – A Reflection

Budapest was a city that I always wanted to visit. I had originally planned to come in 2011 but ill health forced me to abandon the plan. So I was glad that I could visit this year.

I had arrived from Vienna. We all know that Vienna is a beautiful city with all its classical architecture. How would Budapest compare. When I arrived into the coach station my first impressions were not great. I took the metro and all I could see was the 70's style carriage and how dirty it looked. Once I left the Deak Ferenc ter station and saw the sunshine everything felt a lot better.

A grubby looking metro station

The city itself had a faded charm to it. There were a lot of old buildings that had seen better days yet you could imagine how beautiful they once looked. That said some of these old buildings have been put to use as ruin bars. The one I would recommend to visit is Szimpla Kert. It is described as the mother of the city ruin bars.

One of the faded buildings

Like of a Europe's capital cities the majority of the sites can be reached on foot. I enjoyed the free walking tour which was a god way of familiarising yourself with the sites. The metro while only consisting of three lines is also a good way of travelling within the city.

There were so many sites to see in Budapest. The highlights included Castle Hill, St.Stephen's Basilica, House of Terror and Heroes Square. However, there was so much that I missed as Memento Park or visiting one of the thermal baths and much more. At least it will give me the perfect excuse to come back.

I could not say that I starved while I was in Budapest. The local cuisine was both delicious and filling. My favourite food experience was enjoying the Langos in the Great Market Hall surrounded by the locals enjoying their lunch.

An example of the local cuisine

Finally, I would like to say how friendly the people were in Budapest apart from the staff at the coach station. Wherever I went people were always offering help and recommendations. It helped make my visit more enjoyable.

Overall, Budapest blew me away with its charm and beauty. If you want a good value city break then it is a place to go. I cannot wait to go back.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

Heroes Square (Hősök tere) – Budapest

Heroes Square is one of the most important squares in Budapest. It is home to the Millennium Memorial.

The Millenium Monument
The Millenium Memorial

It was dedicated “to the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence.” In 1989 nearly ¼ million people turned out in the square for the funeral for Imre Nagy.

Standing aside each colonnade there are two statues, each containing seven figures of Hungarian history.

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From the square you can venture into City Park which is a great place to have a picnic. You can also go and visit the Museum of Art and Palace of Art.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

House of Terror – Budapest

The House of Terror (Terror Haza) is one of those places you wish you did not have to visit. However, to get an understanding of Budapest in the twentieth century it is important that you go.

The museum is housed in the building that was used by both the Hungarian Cross Party (the Hungarian Nazis) and the secret police of the communists, the AVO and AVH. The irony being that the building itself is on one of the most beautiful streets in Budapest.

You know that you have reached the building when you see the platform on top. It has the word terror stamped into it along with the symbols of the Arrow Cross Party and the Communists.

As I waited to enter the building I noticed the photos on the side. I thought it was curious until I noticed the photo of Imre Nagy. It was then that I realised these people who had been tortured and executed in the building.

Once inside the building you take the elevator up to the second floor. The museum starts with the period around World War 2 and the Hungarian Cross Party. As you move through the rooms you see the fall of the Cross Party and the rise of the Communists.

Each room exhibits are well detailed with lots to see and read. There is also a A4 sheet that you can take that gives a detailed breakdown of what happened at the time. What I liked about the museum was the way it showed how everyday Hungarian life was affected especially during the rule of the Communists.

You make your way down from the second floor to the first floor. At the end of the first floor you wait for the elevator to take you down to the basement.

This is the slowest elevator ride you will ever take. As you go down a video is played to you. It is a former guard describing the process of taking a prisoner to execution. When the elevator stops you are in the basement. It contains the rooms of torture as well as the cells. Immediately I felt very cold. There is no other way to describe the floor but bleak. Inside each cell you can see photos of people who were held there.

Finally, you reach a small room. This contains the scaffold used for executing prisoners.

For a swift execution you needed to rely on the strength of the hangman. I could only think of the suffering as the prisoners were strangled.

You slowly make your way back up to the ground floor passing some old Soviet style statues.

The one memory I have from my visit to the House of Terror is the silence. Nobody felt like talking to each other. Sitting in a nearby coffee house I could only be thankful that I had gained an understanding of what happened in Hungary and that it should never be repeated. As Attila Jozsef is quoted in the leaflet “The past must be acknowledged.”

House of Terror, Andrassy utca 60, Budapest.

http://www.houseofterror.hu

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

Great Market Hall (Nagy Vasarcsarnok), Budapest

One of the places I would recommend you visit in Budapest is the Great Market Hall.

This is the best place to mix with the local population while they go about their daily business. Inside the market there are over 180 stalls. On the ground floor is where you find the food stalls. You are certainly going to be spoilt for choice as there is a vast array of stalls selling meat, cheese, bread, fruit and vegetables. There also plenty of stalls selling various varieties of the local paprika. I would recommend that you come here and purchase food to have a picnic later in the day.

Upstairs the stalls tend to sell clothes and other souvenirs. The highlight though are the various food stalls that the local population use. It is here that you can come eat cheap Hungarian cuisine such as Goulash and Langos. As you can see I could not resist having a Vanilla Langos. It was delicious and filling and was great value.

For those people wanting to sample life in Budapest then this is the place for you. The market is open from 6am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 6am to 2pm on Saturday.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

Parliament Building, Budapest

On my recent visit to Budapest one of the most impressive buildings was the Parliament building. This despite having the scaffold cover parts of it.

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It was opened in 1904 and is was apparently inspired by Westminster Palace in London. You can tour inside the building. It does cost 3000fl to enter and it is recommended that you get there for 9am to avoid the crowds.

Once inside you get to see relics such as the Holy Crown of Hungary in the Central Hall and statues of various Kings of Hungary.

It is important to remind yourself of the importance of the Parliament in Hungarian history. The 1956 uprising was led from here. There is a statue of Imre Nagy in Kossuth Square that looks directly at the Parliament. In 1989 the declaration of the new republic was made from the balcony.

The best views of Parliament come from the other side of the Danube where you can appreciate the magnificence of the building.

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Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Frici Papa Kifozdeje, Budapest

When I was in Budapest I was determined to go and eat some authentic Hungarian cuisine. The Wombats hostel recommended to try Frici Papa Kifozdeje.

It took about fifteen minutes to walk to the restaurant from the hostel. We were welcomed by a good atmosphere, there were plenty of people already there. This is always a good sign. None decided to have a starter and went straight for the main course. Two of the party chose to order Chicken breast paprikash. Another ordered Mushroomgulash. I decided to order Beefgulash with red wine and noodles. It tasted delicious and costing 479ft I thought it to be excellent value too.

My Excellent Meal
 

We shared a pudding. It was called Dumps with poppy seed. I could only describe it as a sweet dumplings literally covered in poppy seeds. Very sweet and I could taste poppy seeds for a couple of hours afterwards.

Overall, I enjoyed my visit to Frici Papa Kifozdeje. It is a good place to go and eat authentic cuisine at a good price. I will definitely visit again the next time I am in Budapest.

Frici Papa Kifozdeje, Kiraly utca 55, Budapest 1077, Hungary

http://www.fricipapa.hu

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve