One advantage of living in Europe is that whenever you feel like visiting a foreign city for a few days, you can. (Provided all is calm at Eyjafjallajökull.)
People always speak highly of Budapest. After spending 4 days there, I understand why.
It didn’t matter that it was raining 75 % of the time during our stay. In fact, I was delighted: no hayfever.
With one small umbrella for protection, we walked the lovely streets of the Hungarian capital, taking in the sights and soaking up the history and culture.
The city has a shabby-genteel air. Many of the buildings are in a state of disrepair, their facades elegantly crumbling.
The metro, as well as providing public transportation, also functions as a time machine. The vintage trains and the retro stations will take you back to a distant era, particularly on the orange line.
There are quite a few homeless people out on the streets, minding their own business, not bothering the tourists.
These things add to the city’s considerable charm. There’s no feeling that everything is an elaborate front.
The Hungarian people were extremely nice. They even prepared a shop window display for me in Kiràly utca, a street with lovely Art Nouveau details.
The Hungarians’ facility with the English language was more than adequate and the locals were ever helpful, volunteering general advice and street directions.
The irony is that it would be hard to get lost in Budapest. Street names and numbers have been scrupulously marked out and free tourist maps are available all over the city.
- walking around the city
- the variety of architectural styles
- the Castle District
- guided tour of Parliament
- the cafes and restaurants
- the House of Terror Museum (which tells the story of Hungary’s totalitarian dictatorships)
- St Stephen’s Basilica
- organ concert at St Stephen’s Basilica (Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor was especially good)
- Chain Bridge
- our hotel (the modestly priced, centrally located, clean and comfy Star Inn)
- Szèchenyi Spa Baths
For the best exchange rates, change your money at the hole in the wall near the synagogue.
From a woman’s viewpoint, Budapest’s public toilets are much better than Italy’s.