I arrived in Budapest on a cold October morning. After getting settled-in at the flat I had booked, I headed for the Hop on Hop off to scope out the city. This is a city with history, character and contrasts. This could be noted at the tour bus’ starting point. Beautiful architecture that had seen better days.
We made our way to the castle, and the Fisherman’s Bastion is all that it was described to be. This is a beautiful building. The castle also provides some wonderful views of the Blue (well steely gray) Danube. Later the Parliament Building was another terrific sight, with the national banners prominent and adding to the colour.
I was fortunate to have a bright, clear couple of days to explore. It was on the chilly side in the mornings, and with apologies to Jethro Tull, October does not make for Hot Nights in Budapest. But with a jacket, even the evenings and early mornings were comfortable enough.
On the foodie front, I had some wonderful paprika rich casseroles, and a really earthy mushroom dish. A small cafe near the Margaret Bridge provided me with a slightly bitter latte, but some excellent cream cake.
There is, as on many of my European journeys, the dark side of the legacy of the Holocaust, and of the Communist era. The Dohány Street Synagogue and the “Tree of Life” memorial are monuments to the former, but not as stark as the “Shoes Memorial” along the bank of the Danube marking the murder of the city’s Jewry.
This is a city to take your time in. As I was making my way back to my accommodation, I almost literally ran into an “Austro-Hungarian Policeman” near 6 Oktober Street. Such is the wonder of this city.