This is my second go-round with Budapest. My first visit was marred by an awful, moldy, mildew infested accommodation that was far from the city center. Combine that with kicking the trip off with a visit to the Holocaust Museum where I learned that Hungary was responsible for one-tenth of the victims sent to the concentration camps. That kind of put the kibosh on my last junket to Budapest.
This foray began with a lunatic 60-year-old woman bus driver covered in tats with a lesbian coif throwing the passengers all over the bus with her erratic driving. After being flung all over the place, we came upon some traffic and she swerved the bus onto the tram tracks. I fled the bus at the next stop and walked the final half mile to the Wombat Hostel.
At least the hostel was well located, the room large, and my bed was a single bunk sans the head knocking top bunk. The Wi-Fi is marginal and it only took six hours for some prick to steal one of my Coke Zeros out of the fridge. I guess I’ll have to find a nice cafe if I want to get any work done.
I hoofed it to the hostel, dumped my gear, and set out to get a feel for Budapest. Future weather reports looked a bit grim so I made sure to get some pictures just in case.
CAMERA AT THE READY, I’M OFF IN SEARCH OF QUALITY IMAGES
The first thing I noticed is that Budapest has a far greater concentration of modern buildings throughout its city center. This leads me to believe that it suffered more ample bombing during WWII resulting in an excess of contemporary architecture. Budapest doesn’t hold a candle to Prague and for people weighing the two for a future visit the choice is clear. Prague is the winner by a mile with its plethora of classic architecture.
Still, there are things of note here and it is probably a European city not to be missed, but only after you have visited Paris, Bordeaux, Rome, Florence, Vienna, Salzburg, Ljubljana, Prague, Amsterdam, etc.
BUDA IMPERIAL PALACE
SZÉCHENYI CHAIN BRIDGE – The reason for the name will become obvious shortly. Facing Buda and about to leave Pest, you can see Buda Imperial Palace on the left. This marvelous suspension bridge was completed in 1849.
The Nazis blew up the Chain Bridge in 1945 and Buda Imperial Palace is severely damaged in the background. Due to financial hardship restoration was delayed until 1949 and was reopened on its 100th. anniversary.
LOOKING BACK TOWARD PEST AND THE CITY CENTER
A double-decker tourist ferry plies the waters of the Danube on its way toward the Chain Bridge. Just yesterday a similar boat capsized opposite the Parliament Building after being clipped by a much larger ship sending dozens of Korean passengers overboard into the swift current. At least seven were confirmed dead and 21 others remain missing. The ship carrying 35 people sank within seven seconds and it is unlikely that any additional survivors will be found.
ARRIVING AT THE BUDA SIDE
FUNICULAR TO BUDA CASTLE
ON MY WAY BACK TO THE CITY CENTER
PEST – HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT BUILDING ON THE LEFT
ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONS – 2019
ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONS – 2019
ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONS – LINK – 2019
LOVELOCK – These goddamn things are spreading faster than herpes, and these folks even included a website name!
ENJOYING A SUNNY DAY BY THE BROWN DANUBE – I’ve seen sewers with bluer water.
BACK ON THE PEST SIDE OF THE RIVER
SAINT STEPHEN’S BASILICA
THE STRUDEL HOUSE
TEN VARIETIES OF STRUDEL
ORDER FOR ANOTHER TABLE
My sour cherry strudel followed a savory venison stew.
MEMORIAL TO THE VICTIMS OF THE GERMAN INVASION
MUSIC FESTIVAL – Replete with food, beer, and wine carts. This is a big production for which the locals turned out in force. Unfortunately, I filled up on venison stew and strudel prior to arriving on the scene.
CHAMPAGNE CART – This cart had some fine French champagne by the bottle or glass.
IGGY POP – Coming to Budapest July 24th – Hmmm, I could find another European city where he’s playing and catch him there. Ah, the life of a homeless vagabond. Going wherever I want, whenever I please.
WOMBAT RECEPTION – A most helpful and courteous staff.
This Wombat is far quieter and more civilized than its Viennese counterpart. Here you can find places to get away from it all in this hostel, which has been a great relief. As I had mentioned the WiFi is spotty, but it is still possible to get things done short of uploading photos which can be accomplished at the Turkish Restaurant right next door. Their food is inexpensive, delicious, and they are open until 4 am. The halls leading to the hostel’s rooms are adorned with notable Hungarians. Here are a few for your edification.
JÓZSEF PULITZER – Founder of the Pulitzer Prize
MICHAEL CURTIZ – Director of Casablanca
HARRY HOUDINI – Illusionist, Stunt Performer, and Escape Artist
BELA LUGOSI – ACTOR – Best known for his role as Dracula.
A long alleyway with multiple restaurants cuts through a city block.
SZIMPLA KERTMOZI – Szimpla Kermozi means ruin pub in Hungarian and with a capacity of 600, it often has 50,000 patrons pass through in a given evening. It is Budapest’s most famous ruin pub.
Comprised of many nooks and crannies, one can find everything including live music, wine bar, sheesh den, and rough-hewn tchotchkes as far as the eye can see.
This space has been used for community events like movie screenings, live music, an art gallery, the Kazinczy Living Library, the Szimpla Farmers’ Market, and the Szimpla Bringa bicycle flea market.
HUNGARIAN VIOLINIST – This man was a virtuoso with an infectious smile and three backup strings that played with such energy that everyone in the room was transfixed by the performance. It was the best part of my visit to the city of Budapest.
MULTI-LEVEL VISUAL MADNESS
KRAFT BEER BAR
A FEW DAYS LATER I RETURNED TO THE CHAIN BRIDGE AND MADE MY WAY ACROSS ONCE AGAIN
MATTHIAS CHURCH – See steeple atop the hill.
HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT BUILDING ON THE OTHER SIDE
PATH TO THE BUDA IMPERIAL CASTLE
FISHERMAN’S BASTION TOWER
HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT BUILDING – As seen from the Fisherman’s Bastion.
GREAT MARKET HALL – Sprawling food market stalls on the main floor, crappy souvenirs and ready to eat meals on the upper level.
GELLÉRT THERMAL BATHS