Scenes from Budapest

Fall Break is upon us bringing the first of Prague’s snowfalls. Rumored that snow wouldn’t begin to fall until around January, by which time we would be long gone, everyone was overjoyed when woken up to a dusting of snow on the rust-colored roofs. Then we went outside into the city and remembered just how cold it is when it snows. My yooper blood got used to it as the day went on, with the help of a moccaccino at mamacoffee.

It’s break!

On Monday, I leave bright and early at 6:30 am for a trip to Budapest. I absolutely loved it when we were there two weeks ago for our Field Study and I decided it’d be the perfect place to return for an extended Fall Break. The prices mirror Prague prices – I’d stay in the range of $1-2 beers and inexpensive dining options, which is very important with a limited budget after spending 6.5 Euros for a drink in Vienna. Really, I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to afford Paris, Copenhagen, etc… But more importantly, I LOVED Budapest and can’t wait to get back. Budapest’s tourism industry is underdeveloped compared with Prague or any Western European destination, making it highly desirable to me. There are relatively few congested main sights with obnoxious tourist crowds and greedy, overpriced, inauthentic consumer operations built up to accommodate them, hence making the historical sight utterly detestable to be at (I’m looking at you, Charles Bridge!). Budapest is a city for its residents, not for its tourists. Hungarians are friendlier than Czechs. The city has the modern bustle-y feel of Chicago with a complex deep history full of perseverance and resilience despite its almost constant occupation through its history.

I will stay there for 6 days. I am meeting up with three Prague friends who are getting there on Tuesday and we will spend the week at the traditional European spas indulging and relaxing, partying at the quirky ruins bars (a Budapest phenomenon – huge bars filled with random, odd objects, mismatched furniture, and colorful lighting), visiting castles, monuments, and museums, eating delicious Hungarian cuisine (goulash and paprika, anyone?), wandering the market halls, and admiring the raging, wide, and wild Danube with several majestic bridges arching over it to banks of rocky, green hills.

Without further ado, please enjoy some pictures from my first trip to Budapest!

St. Stephan’s Basilica
East side of the city (Pest side), the castle district
East side of the city (Buda side), the castle district
The Central Market Hall
Bridge over the wide Danube
The West side of the city – Pest
Pest and Buda
Géllert Hill and the Liberation Monument
Those specks are hundreds of circling birds in the silent, clear night
The city in the evening sunlight

 

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