Icy, rather than blue, Danube

Trip Start Dec 22, 2011
1
8
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Trip End Jul 04, 2012


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Flag of Hungary  ,
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Straight out, Budapest has been our favourite big city thus far.

We were lucky to stay in a great apartment right near the Chain Bridge, so everything was striking (ie walking) distance for us. Granted it was cold, especially when the sun hid away, but what a glorious city.

Of our 3 days, we were fortunate enough to have a perfect, blue sky day on the day we'd planned to really hit the pavement. Walking from Pest over to Buda, climbing up for the most beautiful views, we had a brilliant morning.The afternoon was also a highlight as we joined a walking tour exploring the city's communist past. Thanks to one of the best guides we've come across, we barely even felt the cold. No, that's a lie.

The impressive Parliament called us in the next morning for a quick 45 minute tour. We followed it up with another walking tour, this time of the Jewish old town and ending in an awesome ruin bar. Not as good as the Communist tour but still a good way to spend a couple of hours.

So Budapest impressions... The city has a beautiful facade, all the more impressive given what bleak streetscapes the communist bloc generally established. The reconstruction of the city after bombings has been really well done. It's amazing to see photos of what a state the city was in after WWII, especially the Chain Bridge.

Our tour leader for the Communist walking tour reminded us that life is pretty bleak still for much of the Hungarian population, especially outside of the capital. As in many parts of Europe, unemployment is rising while benefits are diminishing, so life can be pretty tough. But if one had money, what a spectacular place to live!

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