Budapest Diary 2016 – Travelogue by Lien Gangte

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Before I embarked on my maiden trip to the Hungarian capital city
Budapest, I asked some of my fellow instagramers for tips and ideas on
Budapest. Most of them suggested pretty much the same things to do and places to see.

As my flight landed, I was very excited to say the least. As many of
you know I have become a rather avid traveller venturing into new
destinations. One thing I was sure about Budapest was that, I knew I
would love it. As my taxi drove me into the city and along the river
Danube to my hotel, I could see that much of the city’s architectures
need some tlc. It’s glorious past was very evident and the present
Budapest doesn’t seems to keep the visage up to its intended standard.
The soviet influence was ever present. However I am not here to pass
my judgement on who influenced who. I am here to discover a new
country and a new city. One thing I would like to say though is that,
many countries have left their mark and shake the city it is today.
There were traces of the Romans, Turks, Austrians and Soviet. But the
city today is the centre of Hungarian culture, tradition and powers.

When I visit a new city or places, I usually get myself a guidebook or
a map at least. This time I wanted to do it slightly different. Having
been told that Budapest is considerably smaller to other cities I have
been to before like London, Paris, Hongkong and Athens to name a few.
I decided to take on Budapest by foot. So no guidebook, no map or no
mobile connection (I didn’t turn on my data roaming), I set out of my
hotel.

Day 1: I wanted to get the glimpse of what the city is like; I took a
rather long uphill hike to castle hill, the city’s most well known
landmark. After an hour climb, we arrived the centre of castle hill.
The architecture was just amazing, the history was just fascinating
and the viewpoints were just outstanding.
The royal Palace, Mathias Fountain, The Mathias Church and of course
the fishermen’s Bastion. I am an eternal admirer of all things Church
and especially old Churches.

The historic and 700 years old Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom) was
the scene of several coronations, including that of Charles IV in
1916, the last Habsburg king. I spent a good hour admiring the
interior of the church and how richly it has been adorned. It also
gives you a glimpse of the history of the church, which serves as a
symbol of the city’s rich past.

Then from one hill to the next one, I descended the castle hill like a
pro and made my way up to the next one, the Gellért Hill and the
Citadel. Halfway up the hill there was a rather beautiful view of
Elizabeth Bridge. Apart from the view of the city, the Statue of
Liberty is a worthy sight and the citadel.

For those curious minds, The Gellért hill received its name after St.
Gellért who came to Hungary as a missionary bishop upon the invitation
of King St. Stephen I. around 1000 a.d. There you are, a little
history lesson and a very short synopsis of what I did on the Buda
side of the city.

Just below the hill, I came down right at the gate of Liberty Bridge.
The bridge was closed to traffic but open to pedestrians. Some of the
adventurous ones including myself made it halfway to the top if the
bridge (Nearly illegal activity), which was an experience in itself.
It wasn’t for a better view at all. Just the thought of climbing the
some part of the bridge, which was not otherwise allowed, was every
bit enjoyable. Across the Bridge, right at the other end was the Great
market hall. It was pretty much sausages, paprika and Hungarian
handmade dolls. No, I am kidding. It was more and a must visit place
if you are ever in Budapest. Cafes, local fruits and vegetables, food,
people and yes the sausages, dolls and paprika.

The Pest side of the city is mainly known as the financial or business
side of Budapest city with shopping streets and countless restaurants
and cafes on every little corner all around. The Basilica, the
Budapest Opera house and the Parliament house were some of the sights
I stopped to visit and admire. The rest of the day was spent walking,
taking photos and admiring the vast architectural display of Budapest.
8 hours of so later, it was time to head back and find a place to dine
the local ways.
Thanks to tripadvisor, Kacsa Restaurant provided that perfect ambience
to finish of the day with great Hungarian wine and food.

Day 2 of Budapest by foot was very similar to day one but from a
slightly different angle. The city is so vibrant and colorful; every
bit of it is camera worthy and such a treat to the eyes. Apart from
the popular tourist spots, I also walked along some of the unknown
places where the locals are and it was an amazing experience.

Without going into too much details about what I see and what I did, I
like to make this final statement: I fell in love with Budapest and I
like to definitely come back again if it will have me!

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