A bit about Budapest, including where to go and what to eat.
We arrived early and are happy to be able to check in at our AirBnB appartment. We were forced to change our schedule due to an additional stop in Zagreb we did not know that our bus would take. So, from the gas station at the border, we took a taxi, then a train back to Ljubljana and then luckily we got 4 available seats at 23 pm to Budapest.
Great location and size of the apartment, we had a nice ample room with a double bed and the living room with a sofa bed, the kitchen with all main appliances.
Vörösmarty was our meeting point at 230pm. We then started the free 2,5 h guided tour of the city.
The history of the city begins with a celtic settlement, then on the 9th c. Hungarians arrived and in the 13th c. the mongols ransacked the area, at some point the habsburgs ruled this area and later on it separated and had portions controlled by Ottoman Turks.
The Danube promenade.
View of the Danube river
First statue after communism in the city.
TIP: Public transportation, buy a 24 h pass, never go online on a non validated ticket, do not cross the street outside the zebra lines, there are big fines.
Budapest united in
Buda is the more rich side, more space and trees and less flat. Pest is “plain” is twice as big as Buda side. This is the side for business.
In Pest a flood destroyed the city. Church of Saint Stephen and the parliament are the only buildings taller than 30m. otherwise they are regulated.
Third stop and then to Saint Stephen’s basilica
Hungarians came and wanted to convert people to Roman Catholicism. 25% Christian, many could not practice their religion during communism.
The basilica is named after the first king of Hungary, Stephen. It is considered Neo-classical in its style.
Venetian gothic building, inspired by visits to other cultures
The city was bombarded during 106 days, so a large number of grenades has been found. 2500 have been found until now.
Kubrick, Bayer, and other mathematicians. Many Nobel prize winners.
Next stop: we cross Chain bridge, bridge longest standing in the city
Gran Budapest hotel (movie must-watch)
We head up to the top to a fantastic lookout point
Our guide tell us how important it is to always have a passport, due to random controls.
The royal palace houses museums and history.
The government decided to preserve this area. Excavations have found thirteen leyers.
A view of Buda
Mathias church, was then turned to ottoman style and then back to Christianity
We start at 10 am by visiting the opera which is located next to our big and comfy appartment, located in the Jewish area.
We find out that it is closed, but that they offer guided tours at 2, 3 and 4 pm.
From there we continue by foot to the basilica of Saint Stephen.
Then we paid 500 florints to climb the stairs up to the tower and enjoy the amazing vistas
Here in the background the parliament and father back fishermans wharf bastion.
From there we took the metro to the central market hall to enjoy a colorful and traditional scene. Lots of fresh produce, souvenirs and even some stands with traditional food.
Two small traditional marzipan chocolates and the local spirit “palinka”
A traditional dish, deep fried dough “langos”
From there we walked to the Jewish synagogue
We sat in front at Sock’s coffee to enjoy two traditional desserts
Up: Flódni, a Jewish Hungarian dessert
“Esterházy torte” gluten free.
We then go to Väräsmaty, 15:30 we take the Communist tour by the same company running the free walking tours we took the day before.
At the end of WWII Hungary was in ruins and was during it aligned with the nazis.
The idea that those not supporting communism were enemies, that there were spies placed all over, and enemies made them sent to forced labour, and other bad things.
Everything was nationalized, bankers, entrepreneurs, all generating employment and wealth were declared enemies of the system, forced to work to death or emprisoned! Products were scarce and people had just once a year fresh vegetables and fruits. As an anecdote we were told that some families travelled to Vienna to get bananas and other “special” products.
1948 worked in the UK, described the system perfectly. Orwell – wrote a book,
Stalin killed 20′ million of his fellows and after his death criticism made path to change.
Communism went bankrupt and The first free elections in Hungary took place in 1990.
Hungarians at some point had a red and a green passport, the red to be used only to travel to communist countries.
If someone would fled the country and had no relatives, they would never come back.
Next stop, freedom or lack of it during communism.
Even if you could choose not to leave your religion, your family would be punished in some obvious or not so obvious way. B
After the war the city needed cheap solutions to fill spaces. Inspired by Danish Lego, they made this buildings meant to be for temporal use.
They had this small room/apartments or had a room per family with shared bathroom and kitchen. People were afraid to be reported by spies (which could be anyone) and chose if possible the smaller private apartments.
MONEY – ECONOMY
There was a central economy, so the stock exchange building had no purpose and banks also stopped working.
MTV – the media television, used for freedom, the government chose what you could watch and to create a concept of freedom of choice. As an example they talk about ads to sell shoes, but the truth was there was only one store.
Last standing monument from the Soviet Union
And a visit to the statue to Ronald Reagan, facing the U.S. Embassy.
Prime minister who was willing to die for standing by his ideals, now buried at heroes square. The bridge symbolizes going from communism to democracy.
The parliament, main square for protests.
Students broke into the media and broadcasted “People unite, join us in the revolution” they though looked at the Nordic countries as the ideal, socialism with democracy and less regulations and brainwashing/propaganda.
Next stop: green bar
The “monopoly” in communism, “how to become a loyal farmer”.
The maps did not include the U.S. And other places, there was another map at the end, marked as the rest of the world. Why should people want to travel there.
Badges meant a lot, even more than money. Buying a car took years. But with badges and connections you can get them.
The Liszt Ferenc square
Last stop is at Frici papa, to get two traditional soups. The service was not the best, but the food was quite good and it was a nice restaurant recommended by a local.
Músleves daragaluskaval – dumpling soup
Gyümölcsleves – fruit soup
Töltött of pork
We really enjoyed the wide range of options available in this city when it comes to eating, drinking and just having a nice time outdoors.
Csirkepaprikas – Chichen and paprika
Szimpla ruin bar was our last stop of the day, being the best option when it comes to visiting a ruin bar in the city.
The bar is located near the great synagote and is open until late at night., 3 am. It is packed with expats and touists and is a great way to see how cool this concept is.
Blog title by: Pablo Dueñas
As you can see Budapest has a lot to offer its visitors. There is a lot of history, great food and sightseeing ready for you to enjoy!
Thank you for reading.
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