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Chilling out in Budapest

rain 18 °C

I had planned to take a day trip from Budapest, but since there is so much to do here, and I awoke to my first rainy morning in Europe, I decided to flag the excursion and continue exploring the city. My first idea was to take a guided tour of parliament, but when I got there, the tours were not running due to it being a public holiday. So, after breakfast and a coffee, I made my way back across the river to see if I could find a shopping mall. So far, I've only stepped out in front of traffic once, from looking the wrong way. Generally, I thought European drivers were very good, until I saw this one.


I took the underground to get to the mall, but when I got there (wouldn't you know it), it was closed for the public holiday. The metro here is so easy to use, so it was no great inconvenience, and before long I was back near my hotel. The ticket I bought for the Hop on Hop off bus was valid for two days, so I hopped on again and headed for Hero's Square. There's a small picturesque castle just behind the square, where a festival was being held today.


I wandered around the castle and the park, just enjoying the atmosphere and people watching. The rain had gone and it was warm and sunny. It's a great time to visit Budapest, as there seems to be a celebration happening in every park and square. And they have chips on a stick.


Back at Hero's Square, I spent a while looking at the statues of Hungary's former kings. Each one not only has his own statue, but also a scene depicting some great moment or action during his reign. It's worth visiting the Square, just to see these. Then I boarded the bus again, and as it was open top, it was lovely just to sit back and enjoy the drive though the streets. I stayed on until we reached the Castle district as I hadn't had a look around there yet. Many of the buildings around the castle are riddled with bullet holes from WWII, including the former War Headquarters.


The castle has big concrete balcony-type structures offering great views of Budapest. There's also a fabulous fountain, and lots of areas to walk around or to sit and enjoy the moment. I thought I'd have one last look at Fisherman's Bastion, but just as I started out, two things happened. First, the sky turned black and a thunderstorm came sweeping through. Then, the castle guards came marching by. Not counting convicts in overalls, there's something about a man in uniform. I missed my best photo opportunity because I was too busy eyeing up the good looking one at the front.


After that bit of excitement, and since it was still raining, it was time to head back to my hotel. Half way down the hill it started to absolutely bucket down. I took pity on two Swedish girls who were umbrella-less and invited them to share mine. So we huddled together in a very confined space, chatting about Eurovision and our travels, while the heavens opened around us.

Tomorrow I leave Budapest, and I think 3 days isn't really enough. It's not all pretty, there are plenty of people scavenging through rubbish bins, sleeping rough, and begging on the street. But it's an incredible place and it's little wonder people have been living here for 2000 years.

Posted by Gotmybindle 09:17 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest

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