Sunday, July 04, 2004

Budapest, Hungary—Day 155

Today we explored the Buda side of Budapest—starting the day out by having breakfast, then walking across the Chain Bridge over to Castle Hill. We took a trolley up to the top of the hill (which overlooks back onto Pest) and just so happened to be in the same trolley car as a few Swedish guys that we have seen three times now, twice on the train and once on the cable car. Feels like a small world when you keep running into the same travelers!

We spent the morning walking around the Castle grounds and saw the outside of Matthias Church (one of the most photographed buildings in Budapest) and then hiked up to Gellért Hill. The hike was sort of strenuous and we both managed to get badly sun burnt on the way up. After walking around the Citadel at the top, we took photographs of the Liberation Monument (which the Soviets built to remember their fallen soldiers during the “liberation” of Hungary (according to our guidebook)), then walked back down through a park, taking in St. Ivan’s Cave Church. All of these sights are beautiful and we felt pretty exhausted once we found some lunch to eat and were able to finally sit down.

After lunch we tried to visit the Parliament building and hopped on the subway, only to find ourselves on the other side of the Danube River from Parliament, realizing then that the subway stop for Parliament was closed. So we took the subway back under the river and ended up at St. Stephen’s Basilica, where we were yesterday. Since it was getting late and our chances of the Parliament being closed upon our arrival was increasing, we decided to head up to the top of the Basilica and see the view from up top. Fortunately there was an elevator for us to use for the ride to the top (a first—usually we have to hike up like 300 steps) and found the view from the top amazing. We took a bunch of pictures, headed back down and sat in a park for a while enjoying the sunny afternoon and some ice-cream before heading back to the hotel. After a shot while we were back out on the town again in search of dinner, which we finally got a really neat Thai place.

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.