Friday, October 2, 2009

Beautiful Budapest

Several months ago, I found a great deal on airfare and the Hilton was offering 50% off on weekends in September, so I quickly booked a weekend getaway to Budapest. It was one of those ‘impulse buys’ that I am so good at! Although, in the US, my ‘impulse buy’ of a sweater or a pair of shoes often results in buyer’s remorse and a trip back to the store to return the item.

For the record, Budapest was simply spectacular and I would NEVER have buyer’s remorse.

We stayed at the Hilton-Castle Hill, which is located on the Buda side. I read some horror stories about taxis in Budapest, so I decided to arrange for ground transportation through Airport Minibuz service. Apparently, taxis aren't regulated, so they can charge whatever they want...even though they have a 'meter' running. The shuttle service was great on the way TO the hotel. It was a complete nightmare on the return.

We decided to divide our time in Budapest by spending one full day on the Pest side and one full day on the Buda side.

We strolled through some of the quaint streets and various stairs down to the Chain Bridge, which crosses the Danube River, and then walked over to the Pest side. We debated whether or not to take the subway or walk, but decided it was a nice day for a walk and made our way to Heroes Square and City Park.

We seem to be on Church/Cathedral/Museum overload, so we bypassed them on this trip. I hope it wasn't too big of a mistake!

We took the subway (yellow "millenium" line) back to the main square and then found a great little outdoor cafe to sit and have a few drinks. A little history....The Budapest subway is the second oldest subway in the world and it so simple and easy to use. Trust me, it's not as high tech as some systems, but the simplicity lends to the old-time feel. The yellow line was built between 1894-1896 and was recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Rather than climb up the hill back to the Buda side, we walked across the Chain Bridge and then took the funicular up to Buda Castle and then walked around the Castle Hill area.


Our hotel was on the Buda side and in the Castle Hill district, so exploring was right out our (front) door. We walked over to the Buda Castle (Royal Castle), through the gardens, Fisherman's Bastion, Matthias Church

We thought about giong to Gellert Baths or another of the communal bathing houses that are popular in Budapest. However, shared warm water kind of freaks us both out, so we passed.

A few pictures until I get the slideshow posted.

See, we were there!

Chuck and a local beer (with the Royal Castle over his shoulder)
Fisherman's Bastion

The subway, with one of the trains approaching

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