Fisherman's Bastion. Photogenic or what? Not to mention the city views from this vantage point....
Getting to Budapest was a
breeze, and part of the by-now familiar tale - budget flight out of
Manchester airport, and enough research done to allow me to reach the
hotel at the shoestring end of the budget scale - my sentiments
entirely! The city itself, though, was a different picture, and
although you still get a good run for your money in the Hungarian
capital city, its wealth of tourist attractions and architectural
masterpieces suggested to me that you were in the thick of a tourist
spot where you'd easily expect to part with more substantial sums of
money in order to enjoy the experience. The hotel Gellert is a
long-established Budapest institution, and staying there in late August
meant full use of its' extensive spa facilities, both indoor and
outdoor, and wandering around the city, with a pre-planned route in
mind made me feel strangely appeased and simultaneously liberated.
Parliament Building - the iconic image of Budapest
There really are too many individual attractions to reel off in one
blog entry, but highlights included the eerie labyrinth in the Castle
area of Varhegy, the charms of Heroes Square, and adjoining city park,
and the spooky and sinister city museum, the House of Terror, which
should more aptly come with an 'enter at your peril' tag. Here, there
and everywhere were fusions of modern and traditional styles, and
clearly, part of the city is edging towards the future, whereas the
remaining portion of Budapest retains its traditional edge. In true
'never miss a trick' tourist style, I randomly came across the
restaurant with what's billed as having the world's largest menu
selection, and to prove its status, I spent the next 25 minutes poring
over the thick multi-paged menu before settling on the lunch choice.
T-E-R-R-O-R!! A chilling but symbolic reminder of what went on in darker times
The city's take on the modern shopping mall culture might act as a
repellent to those who think that places of that ilk are more like a
blot on the urban landscape, but I am as much of a curious consumer as
any other traveller who shops around in search of bargains and
authentic items to bring home, and I rated its' range of shopping
options highly. All in all, another majestic European capital city had
been explored, and as I prepared to leave town at Budapest airport, the
Hungarian chapter in this ongoing stream of travel experiences had gone
down just as well with me as a glass of chilled Hungarian beer after a
40-minute summer-day cycle ride around the city's very own oasis of
calm, Margaret Island.
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