No Rest in Budapest

Budapest Travel Blog

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Just a taste of the ornately restored Gresham Palace, the Four Seasons Hotel.

Beginning with the Celts in the 3rd century BC, Hungary has had a revolving door policy in effect for all invaders. The wish was that the door would hit at least some of them on the way out!


The ubiquitous Romans had done their time; roughed out the infrastructure, laid some roads, improved the baths. . . then, overspent and undermanned they went home. Leaving the place to Atilla who pulled in from the inhospitable Ural  Steppes and sent word home that there was animals aplenty, fertile flat land and fresh water for sustenance with currents for travel. Well, nothing succeeds quite like success and along with a good copywriter ��" his pitch enticed the seven tribes of Magyars to ‘come on down’.

From then until our time now, Hungary has been the bread basket of Europe.

Welcome to our lobby.
And, as Napoleon noted; an army moves on its stomachs ��" a thought not lost on the many who came through, filled their bellies and left their mark.


Over the early centuries, the building of Buda linked the broken ring of kings. Arpad to Bela to Mattius to Louis and on... Fortification walls shored the banks of the Danube. The castle took form up the embankment until its 15th century majestic dome capped the hilltops. Ornate Gothic cathedrals witnessed the unions that wedded  empires. Medieval town life prospered and became rich with music, art, literature and knowledge of many sciences. All of this is there today for us to experience. And perhaps to learn from. Consider the following:


1514 ��" 1526 Death and taxes:

 It was a beleaguered and grossly over taxed peasant class that, once armed by their oppressors to mount a crusade turned and thwarted the country’s internal defense tactics and thus ‘opened the door’ to the invading Ottoman Turks.

Peering through the stays of Adam Clark's Chain Bridge.
The Turks stayed for 160 years. Finally a prince of Savoy organized and exhorted local forces to throw them out.

Beginning 150 years of the Hapsburg’s changing of the guard.


High days of the Empire

Franz Joseph of Austria and Hungary wrested control from an uprising in the mid 1800’s and his empire endured until the world was again at war. Franz Joseph had cemented his control, after quelling the uprising, with the execution of 13 noblemen. The Hungarian aristocracy was decimated, no family spared. His power was unquestioned, but his populace was inconsolable.


It was his attempt to make amends that built the beauty of this Pest; the opera house, the ballet, the museums, the basilica and synagogue ��" each among the largest in the world.

Symbol of the Black Army guards the gate to Buda Palace.
Neo-renaissance of Italian and

French design, Baroque, art nouveau and art deco.


Float down the river, climb to the castle or stroll across Hero’s Square, you will not escape the faces of Hungary’s history. From every strong stone-carved face you will ‘hear’ their stories of triumph and despair, valor and treachery, sacrifice but never total surrender of their spirit.

Budapest’s multi-storied history lays open to all in architectural monuments, palatial homes, mineral spa bathing palaces and more.  All are richly decorated with sculptures, frescos, acres of gold leaf and the magnificent gsolnay tiles.


For three days, we photographed these sites, we walked until our feet could move no more and took our rest in any of the always nearby pastry shops.

Abstracted view of painted columns in St. Mattias Cathedral.
The most magnificent of all was the ornate Baroque New York Café.  It was hard to tell which was richer ��" the décor, the 30 foot high ceilings or the mountains of cream on our iced coffees.  It is a city that one must return to. 


A few words from Maureen about the hotel:


I’ve come to expect the beautiful facades of the Four Seasons and the open smiles of the greeting doormen.  But nothing prepared me for what lay behind the door ��" I nearly fell over.  While my aunt walked ahead I drifted behind to see the rot iron gates leading into the entranceway that caught my breath, first to sheer size.  Above me, were beautiful skylights, below was intricate tiling and all around were artful flower arrangements and gigantic sculptures.

From balcony of Royal Suite, the city of Buda is at your feet.
  Cathy was far ahead when I noticed the detailed glass chandelier hanging low above the front desk. 


We went up to our room and were greatly surprised to have one of the best views in the hotel, only exceeded by the royal suites (which we would have the chance to see later).  Right out our balcony lay the Danube, the Chain Bridge, the Buda Palace, St. Mattius and the rest of the Buda skyline.  Now, for Cathy to get the “right sunlight” (which often occurs around dawn, I have learned), I could stay in bed and see it all in my pajamas. 


Our last evening, which came too quickly, was spent in a cute café that Sherryn, the Director of Marketing, took us to for a Hungarian food experience.  The food was good (especially the lecso ��" must learn the recipe to make with Dad), but the company and fascinating stories made the evening unforgettable. 


gmeiner says:
Hi cathy&mo
Sounds fabulous can't wait for the next installment.Looking forward to your return. Love Gmeiner's
Posted on: Jul 21, 2008
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Just a taste of the ornately resto…
Just a taste of the ornately rest…
Welcome to our lobby.
Welcome to our lobby.
Peering through the stays of Adam …
Peering through the stays of Adam…
Symbol of the Black Army guards th…
Symbol of the Black Army guards t…
Abstracted view of painted columns…
Abstracted view of painted column…
From balcony of Royal Suite, the c…
From balcony of Royal Suite, the …
Main chamber, House of Lords, in t…
Main chamber, House of Lords, in …
Pedestrian Boulevard behind Four S…
Pedestrian Boulevard behind Four …
Chain Bridge at night, as seen fro…
Chain Bridge at night, as seen fr…
photo by: Chokk