Thursday, April 12, 2007


Until 1873, Budapest was two cities - Buda and Pest (OK there was also Old Buda: Obuda), respectively on the west and eastern banks of the river Danube. Until today, I have spent all my time looking around central Pest, and so this morning, Bondi and I walked across Margaret's Bridge (past the island) to look over the best known part of Buda: the Castle Hill or Várhegy.

As we passed one of the Metro stations, I stopped to buy a week pass for each of us. It took a while to locate someone who spoke English, as their website information was incomplete, as was the information posted in the station. Communicating with a ticket-seller was problematic as he sat behind a partially mirrored glass that made it almost impossible to supplement conversation with gestures. I had no idea how much money to pay, and he kept pushing notes back to me under the glass, so I had to go and find an English/Hungarian speaker again. I bought a week-pass for myself (covering train, trams, buses etc) and a book of tickets for Bondi. (I found out today that he had sold me a day ticket rather than the week ticket requested, and now it's not worthwhile buying a week ticket with only 3 days left. So I've been travelling all the following day on an expired ticket, but not feeling too bad now as one of their ticket machines swallowed all my change when buying a new ticket).

As we mounted the steps to this area, I looked back over the Danube and was able to see the Parliament properly for the first time, the third largest in the world.

Another castle?

Pest: tres Parisienne.

Matthias Church in another weird merge

The Castle Hill has plenty to see (apart from views over the river): Matthias Church, the Palace, National Gallery and a handful of museums. There's a funicular that can be caught up and down, but it seems too short a height to bother with. I didn't go inside the Church as there was only one shady spot outside to tie Bondi up for a few minutes (very warm day) and I was told he would frighten all the people taking pictures of him. Anyway after visiting more than a few dozen of these places, I've learnt that Christian charity and church staff don't go hand in hand ( a particularly pointed remark to the painter at Chiswick church who said that he would kick Bondi in the head if he looked at him again).

Wherever I sat, I seemed to be next to couples from the Leeds area, in town to perform with the Leeds Philharmonic Society, doing Handel's Messiah.

Budapest has many reliefs/statues on the sides of buildings/walls

Bondi negotiates another drinking fountain; buskers NOT playing The Anniversary Song

Break dancing under the road; Raoul Wallenberg

The next cross street from where I'm staying is named for the remarkable Raoul Wallenberg.
Farewell Kurt Vonnegut.

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