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Budapest - Day 2 - A walk on the Buda Side

HUNGARY | Thursday, 9 August 2012 | Views [695]

Statue of St.Stephen

Statue of St.Stephen

I didn't have to get up too early today as much of the day was going to be "taken care of". The Budapest Card comes with 2 free walking tours, one for the Pest and the other for Buda. Pest I already saw yesterday, so today, I wanted to see Buda, the hilly side of the city on the western bank of Danube.

The meeting point of the tour is Szent Haromsag, just opposite Matthais Church, in the heart of the Buda Castle district. Officially called the Church of Our Lady, the church is popularly named after King Matthias. Built in the Gothic style, I thought the most interesting part is the roof, made of colourful ceramics tiles.

A short walk to Fishermen's Bastion. In medieval times, the fish market was nearby and the bastion was built to commemorate the fishermen who protected this part of the city. Judging from the number of tourists, it's also a favourite lookout point. Surrounding the entire Castle Hill area are fortifications, but not like anything I've seen before. The walls of the fortifications looked more decorative than practical with bastions andramparts looked almost whimsical:

A statue of St.Stephen crowns the top of the hill as well as views across the Danube and could see where I walked yesterday on the Pest side:

The Hungarians are quite proud of their hard fought independence and throughout the walking tour, there are statues of various freedom fighters who fought against Ottomans, Austrians and Soviets. Statues adorns square, big and small, and we get the lowdown on the various heroes, all the walk up to the castle area. Then it's a bit of a trek to the castle grounds which were great to walk around and the with great collection of beautiful architectural. When the walking group got up courtyard area, there's a bunch of Indian children all seated on the ground, with a rather serious lady speaking to the children. Whatever was said, it sounded rather stern:

Especially nice in the caste area are the statues and waterfall statue of the hunters the best:

Here's a building that was shot at during the overthrow of the communists. The Hungarians obviously enjoyed it so much, they decided to keep the building in it's bullet riddled pristine condition:

The walking tour continues on to theatre area and starts to go seriously downhill from now. People start asking the tour guide about his day job as a teacher and the discussion goes one for 15 minutes about low pay and poor working conditions. Erm, don't we get that in the UK, America? etc etc. A bit more walking and we finally end up at an art gallery, which I strongly suspected to involve commission.

With the walking tour over, I headed back to the Castle Hill area for the Budapest History Museum. My expectations were pretty high considering rich history of culture in Hungary. The museum was pretty disappointing with only the top floor exhibiting the pre-ottoman period worth the effort. Part of this was down to the ongoing renovations of the museum which meant that many of the exhibitions were closed off, and partly because of the lack of English except on the top floor.

So not having spent as much time as expected in the museum or the Castle Hill area (in retrospect, I could have visited Matthias Church), I just wandered around Budapest for a couple of hours until it was time for the Opera/Concert (performance by Miklós Teleki), back at St.Stephens Basilica. I did discover quite a few "musical" fountains that flowed synchronised with music and the many individuals who thought it funny to dance and walk around the flow:

O, the concert wasn't too bad either! The acoustics in the basilica are amazing giving the organ and arias nice crisp and booming sounds. The setting with the basilica all lit up, just adds to the occasion. The full program was pretty tourist friendly too:

<add program here>

Tags: buda castle, budapest, concert, hungary, walking tour

 

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