Budapest sightseeing: taking it from the top.
Budapest Travel Blog› entry 185 of 251 › view all entries
August 6th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
It took us some time to figure out how to get up there from the subway stop. Sometimes the guidebooks omit the most obvious information! On the way, I think we walked along pretty Arpad Toth Promenade, which was something on my To Do List for the day. It was nice to get that checked off, even if I didn’t quite realize where we were at the time.
We finally made our way up the hill and through the fortified wall. We were on the north end of Castle Hill, and started at the Military History Museum.
Maybe we went through backwards or something, but this museum was just a confusing mess to me. It didn’t help that the exhibits were almost all in Hungarian, so we were just looking at random photos and relics with no idea what they were. There was one section in English that covered Hungary’s 1957 revolution, which was very interesting and also sad. The whole free world was rooting for little Hungary as they tried to take back their country from communist rule.
From here, we walked south, going through Vienna Gate square and looking at the ruins of 12th century Church of Mary Magdalene, which was pretty much destroyed by air raids in WWII. The steeple and a huge window frame are all that’s left standing, so some imagination is required here.
Things were quiet on Castle Hill up until we got to busy Fisherman’s Bastion. This area was bustling, with tour buses and large groups pouring into the peaked towers and upper walkway.
The main event on Castle Hill is, you guessed it, the castle. The hill has actually been the site of many castle/palaces dating from the 13th century, and some of the old foundations have been exposed for viewing.
We were hungry and needed a break from sightseeing at this point, so we looked around the area for good options. There weren’t any. Everything was overpriced and obviously catered to tourists … fixed price goulash menus and doughy-looking undercooked pizza… yuck.
From here, we made a quick tour of Matthias Church, which is back up at Fisherman’s Bastion. The thing is so shrouded in scaffolding that we thought it was closed for construction, but then saw the entrance while we were walking by and went inside (the entrance fee was covered on our Budapest Card...sweet). This 13th century church has a 15th century steeple. The whole thing was actually converted to a mosque when the Turks took over, then it was converted back to a church in the 17th century when they were driven out.
On our way home we happened upon a vegetarian restaurant called Eden. I was excited about this (broccoli?!), so we returned later in the evening for dinner. There was not one green food item in the place! Eden, my ass. It was all rice, potatoes, and seitan- or tofu-based foods. It was set up cafeteria style, and the bins were mostly empty of their brown and tan offerings since they were about to close for the day. NOT appetizing... it made school lunch look good in comparison. So we left and headed back to our neighborhood for an attempt at another vegetarian restaurant we had seen there… But it had closed at 8pm! At this point we were very sick of hunting for food.
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