I’m kind of having one of those “pinch me” kind of days. I’m just feeling so grateful today to be in Budapest. And that the sun is shining. And that there’s a light breeze. Life is good when the weather is perfect, isn’t it? I LOVE Budapest! Love it. It’s an incredible city. It reminds me a lot of Prague actually, just not as overrun with people. And the term “cheap like borscht” must have originated here, because man, is it ever! My hotel is right downtown, close to a metro station and it cost 78 euro for 3 nights, breakfast included. AND I got a bottle of wine when I checked in. Nice! OK, so the bed’s a little soft and the plumbing makes some strange noises but it’s clean and cute and suits me just fine.
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I decided to check out Saint Stephen’s Basilica first thing. This is actually a fairly new church. Construction started in the mid 1800’s and it was completed in 1905. Inside the church is something called “the sacred right hand’s chapel” where you can see the mummified remains of Saint Stephan’s forearm. Not exactly sure of “the whys” of that but they must have their reasons.
There are a lot of statues in this town. I liked this portly fellow!
Chain Bridge. It was built in the middle of the 19th century and is guarded by lions on both the Buda and the Pest sides. Legend has it that the sculptor of the lions killed himself because he forgot to give them tongues. There seem to be a lot of tragic artist stories like this in Europe, but most of them aren’t true. Apparently the lions DO have tongues, they’re just really small.
The Danube River. The water is definitely moving on this river at a pretty good clip!
The view of Buda Castle from the bottom of the funicular.
There are some fabulous views of the city from up here, especially on a clear day like today. King Bela IV built the palace in the 13th century after the invasion of the Mongolians. Originally it was built in the Gothic style but due to wars over the years it has been torn down and rebuilt and expanded many times. The castle’s glory days were during the reign of King Mattias until the end of the 15th century when it was destroyed during the Turkish occupation. The Habsburgers built a new one and it was then destroyed in the middle of the 19th century. It was rebuilt again double the size of the original and was once again almost completely destroyed in 1945. It has since been refurbished and that’s why it has such a mod podge of styles.
Gorgeous view of the Chain Bridge.
This man was selling shepherds flutes that he hand makes himself, so had to buy one, of course! Can I play the flute? No. But I did play the recorder in grades 1 through 3. How hard can it be? He played so beautifully, I think it put a spell over me…
There are a lot of embroidered goods for sale here.
This is Mattias Church. It’s just a short walk from Buda Castle and is a unique and beautiful church. It was built in 1015 and was named after King Matyas. It has an incredible tiled roof that makes it look different from so many of the churches I’ve seen so far. During the Turkish occupation in the middle of the 16th century it was used as a mosque. The murals were whitewashed and the wall ornaments were covered up with bricks. In 1686 the so-called “Maria Miracle” occurred during the siege of Buda one of the churches walls collapsed due to a cannon shot and a Madonna statue that had been covered with bricks reappeared before the praying Muslims and that same day they were defeated.
This is a statue of Saint Stephen that is in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion which is right beside Mattias Church. The Fisherman’s Bastion is essentially a continuation of the wall that surrounds the castle area. Apparently it’s called the Fisherman’s Bastion because A.) There was a fish market close by or B.) That a large number of fishermen protected this area of the wall. Who knows? I like scenario number two better myself.
A great orchestra playing Hungarian big band music.
An interesting sculpture back in city center.
Budapest’s Central Market. This place is huge! Here you can buy fresh produce, meats, cheese, souvenirs and Hungarian crafts. It’s pretty incredible, but seemed to be dominated by salami and paprika…
“Pick” seems to be the salami brand of choice…
One of the freakiest dolls I’ve ever seen! Lose the moustache kid!
One of the many souvenirs for sale…
Paprika! That’s pepper to you and me!
I think this is St. Anne’s church across the river from the Parliament buildings.
This is where I went to see some traditional Hungarian Folk dancing and singing tonight. It was by far one of the best cultural experiences I’ve had so far, and so entertaining! See the 40 Things tab for more on that…