12.10.2015 - 23.10.2015 10 °C
Well Budapest certainly lived up to its reputation, what a beautiful city.
Unfortunately, for Tania and the boys they nursed colds throughout our stay here; the weather being a lot colder and wetter than what we have been used to, so the first few days were spent in the apartment catching up on schoolwork and getting healthy again! We got out and about again soon though and finally got to see the city, which was noticeably more lively than Bratislava (no surprise) and we saw heaps of the riverboats/cruises that head down the Danube! Beautiful boats.
We made the most of the Hop-on-Hop-off bus system again (it worked so well in Prague!), and checked out The Citadel, the Royal Palace (where the Austrian-Hungarian empire was based, along with Prague) and Castle Hill, and the absolutely gorgeous buildings at the hot spring baths on Gellert Hill (Budapest is famous for it’s hotsprings, famous for having medicinal qualities, and there’s even beautiful Turkish baths left from when the Turkish occupied Budapest).
The Citadel holds a lot of history, unfortunately, once again, mostly related to war. The Battle of Budapest was one of the biggest battles of World War II between the Russian and German forces. This also meant that all of the beautiful bridges that had joined Buda and Pest (actually two different cities until recently, which we didn’t know) where blown up by the retreating German forces. These have since been rebuilt, but apparently it took a long time to do so (some buildings haven’t been fixed, we could still see bullet holes in the walls of a building near our first apartment). Lucky they weren't recent!
Despite the brilliant history and buildings we were shown on the hop-on-hop-off bus, we got the most excited when we saw the building used in the opening scenes of the Underworld movie starring Kate Beckinsale. Very Cool!
Hero’s Square was a huge memorial to the Magyars, the original settlers of Budapest in the 10th century. The Hungarians are very proud of this, they still call themselves Magyars, after over 1000 years.
We visited Vajdahhunyad Castle, a bit of an eclectic mix of buildings that isn’t really a castle but was actually built for an exhibition in the 1800s and was so popular that they left it there. We actually liked it more than the Royal palace, it had a lot of character and was in a beautiful park setting.
Lastly, we had to at least pretend we were on one of the fancy river cruise ships by taking a night cruise down the Danube on our last night! The Palace and Parliament buildings were even more beautiful at night.
We really enjoyed Budapest, we found some great traditional restaurants with great beer, did lots of walking around (yet again, the boys are getting used to it) and learned even more fantastic history. Our brains are bulging with historical facts now!
On to Berlin……….