There is as much interesting stuff to see on the Buda side of the city as there is on Pest. Yesterday we caught the metro across to Deli Pu, the last stop on the red line. The Deli train station is also there, and it’s a short but steep wall up to Castle Hill. Getting on the metro was a bit tricky – most of the smaller stations don’t have ticket sellers any more, just a machine. The first 2 we tried would not accept coins, only card payments, and of the 4 machines at the 3rd station we tried, only 2 accepted coins. We made sure we bought enough tickets to do us for the rest of the day.
Castle Hill is (of course!) on a hill overlooking The Danube and Pest. Impressive city walls, lots of museums, a few churches and HEAPS of touristy stuff and tourists. It was good, but after seeing the old towns in Zadar, Trogir and Dubrovnik, where real people actually live their lives, Castle Hill seemed a bit … um …. 2-dimensional, like a theatre stage with nothing behind it. The really ‘off’ moment for me was finding the Jamie’s Italian restaurant. Um, what’s a chain restaurant that doesn’t even serve regional food doing THERE? (apologies to any Jamie fans among our readers). I know, I know, it’s for the tourists.
The Royal Palace complex is also within the city walls, with more museums, the National Gallery which is currently featuring a Modigliani exhibition, statues and more great views of the river and Pest. We walked down to the river and towards the Liberty Bridge to get the metro back across the river, stopping at a cafe for lunch – the daily special for me (mushroom soup and crumbed chicken livers with rice & peas), crepes with strawberry jam and a milkshake for Greg.
Then 2 line changes on the metro to get to City Park, which is east of the city and our apartment. Originally royal hunting grounds, the park is a huge green space which was the main location for the city’s millennial celebrations in 1896. The Budapest Zoo, Municipal Great Circus, museums, the city’s largest thermal baths, an amusement park, monuments, cafes, restaurants and the list goes on. Just at the entrance to the park is Heroes’ Square with an empty coffin representing the unknown insurgents of the 1956 Uprising, with the Archangel Gabriel on top of a 36-metre high pillar, holding the Hungarian crown and a cross, and the very impressive Military Monument with 14 statues of rulers and statesmen.
We walked back to the apartment along Andrassy Utica, with its beautiful mansions and townhouses, past theatres and the Terror House which pays tribute to the victims of the Nazi and Soviet regimes. We didn’t go in, I’m still scarred by our visit to the Apartheid Museum in Jo’burg last year.
Here’s a song, suggested by Margaret