Saturday, March 24

Budapest - Paris of the East

Hungarian ParliamentFinally, time to write a post about our recent trip to Budapest! It was our first visit to this beautiful city, and to Hungary. On the Friday evening flight out of Geneva we had the pleasure to sit next to a friendly Budapest local named Pal who gave us his list of must-sees. Budapest was also Shane's (Kieren's friend who visited us recently) home for eight months last year, and during his stay with us in February we heard great things about the place.

Jess on Heroes' SquareOur hotel was right on Heroes' Square, an important monument at the end of Andrassy Avenue, the Hungarian equivalent of Paris's Champs-Elysées. The M1 Millennium Underground, which leads from the city centre to Heroes' Square is a beautiful restoration of the oldest underground on the European continent (1896).

The highlights of Saturday were the Hungarian National Museum, the Legenda boat tour of the River Danube and Margaret Island, and a visit to the Hungarian House of Wines. After a morning of wandering through the Pest city streets, the boat tour was a welcome rest. Budapest is actually a merging of two cities: Buda on one side of the river and Pest on the other. The boat tour did a good job of explaining the history and coming together of the two. It was also a big hit with me because I won the raffle - a DVD and bottle of Hungarian wine!

Peter tasting wine in the Hungarian House ofAfter the tour we walked up across the famous Chain Bridge and across to the Buda Castle district. It was getting late so we went for a short walk around the castle and then sought out the warm cellars of the House of Wines. For about $25 we got a wine glass to keep and could try up to 50 different Hungarian wines (we got through about 15 before we'd had enough!). They were OK but not great - we guessed that's why we hadn't heard much about great Hungarian wines!

Andrassy AvenueSunday was a beautiful day and we started out by wandering down Andrassy Avenue, stopping off at the very interesting House of Terrors, former headquarters of the Arrow Cross Party (Hungarian Nazis), then the Communist-led Political Police and State Security Police. The house has been restored and the exhibition is a horrifying and engaging description of two very sad eras of occupation in Hungarian history.
House of Terror, Budapest
The rest of Sunday was spent wandering around the Castle district and soaking in some sun and Hungarian culture. The public transport system is brilliant and the Budapest Card made it easy to get around.

Budapest is a beautiful city and too big to see in a weekend - maybe we will have to return one day. See more photos on Flickr.

1 comment:

Batreg said...

Sounds like fun, it seems like you've become v.European - any Aussie wouldn't have tried a measly 15 wines when 50 were on offer. You have to go back, it's settled!!