Saturday, October 18, 2008

Budapest, the second time around

This week has been so slow for me. I have been weighed down by a cold, and still am (yet I worked all week), and my wireless internet at home has been acting up!

So I am really looking forward to this weekend where I can unwind. Do nothing, blog, and maybe go out for a long relaxing nature walk.

Back to blogging programming – I wanted to share a few fotos I took in Budapest recently when I was there for a quick visit a few weeks ago.

A random foto of a horse carriage with tourists in the Buda Castle District and on the right is a building with clearly Turkish influence, remnants of the Ottoman occupation in Hungary.

I had the opportunity to visit the Buda side, which I wasn’t able to during my last visit early this year. Buda is very pretty, green, hush, aristocratic, and boasts a brilliant cultural Hungarian heritage. It has splendid nature parks and houses many magnificent old structures such as the Buda Castle for example in the popular Castle District where many visitors come to visit. Moreover, the whole place will bring you back in time.

My favorite bridge in Budapest, the Chain Bridge with lions guarding it, and is probably the most beautiful of all bridges in Hungary.

I caught a glimpse of the Fisherman’s Bastion, and from a distance, the interesting structure really caught my eye, she intrigued me as she has this oriental twist wrapped around her. You see, I have this weakness for striking architectures. It was very tempting to get out of the bus, wander around, and stay for a while, but too bad, time was not on my hands this time. Sigh.

St. Stephen (Istvan) Basicilica taken from a corner street in Andrassy Avenue. On the right is typically Budapest, many building entrances have these grand Art Nouveau style sculptures.

The striking Hungarian Parliament - with some Turkish influence in its design, taken from the Buda side of the Danube embankment.

Hungary was under the Ottoman occupation for a long time, thus many of the old buildings still standing in the city have this Turkish flair in them. It is an East meets West confluence of design and architecture which is really impressive.

If I had another day in Budapest, I would definitely spend it in the Castle District and make sure I get to visit the Fisherman’s Bastion!

From the Citadella built by the Austrians, one can enjoy the beautiful panorama of Budapest day and night. On the foto is Buda on the left and Pest on the right.

Buda is also hilly and one can have great views of the whole city, especially up in Citadella in Gellert Hill. From there a fabulous panorama of Buda and Pest, the Elizabeth and Liberty Bridges, and the great Danube River straddling across several countries in Europe. I must say that this is the best vantage point of the city that offers the best views. I managed to get out here and spend some time enjoying the sights.

More Art Nouveau style in the streets of Budapest - this is a door in the center of Pest. On the right I think is the Andrassy Avenue leading to Hosok Tere, the Heroes Square, now a world heritage of UNESCO.

More fotos of Budapest can be found here - Budapest, Hungary

Vaci Utca, the shopping and fashion district of Budapest. It is always busy here.

Another place I discovered is Vaci – the shopping and fashion district of Budapest. The cab driver gave me another chic place to shop – the name of the street escapes me but we briefly passed by this place and I was quite taken by the area I have to admit, posh and exclusive, unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time. I cannot have both, so I asked the driver to send me to Vaci Utca instead.

I didn’t really get to shop which was fine. I was more interested in people watching while having a dry Martini in my hand.

Here are more fotos of Vaci, and from the cafe where I sat. It was 22C when I was there.

That evening, I strolled out of Vaci towards the Danube embankment filled with outdoor cafes and restaurants. I was really attracted to this part of the city, maybe because twilight was beckoning. I could see candles being lit on top of well-dressed tables, they flicker against the light night. The street musicians are out and playing, and the lively atmosphere of people chatting and laughing while having their fill fills the air. Well, in this part of Europe, it seems Hungarians eat dinner pretty early, just like the Dutch.

The lighted Buda Castle from the Pest side of the Danube embankment.

Across the Danube embankment I could see the spectacularly-lit Buda Castle, also a UNESCO world heritage. She is so beautiful, noble and imperial – what a great backdrop to have and enjoy whilst having a long dinner with great company or even just by myself – I wouldn’t mind really.

Alas, it was almost 9PM on my watch and it was time for me to go back to Herifegy and take the plane to Athens, Greece.

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