After breakfast we started our walk towards St Stephens' Basilica and I spotted My little Melbourne Coffee Bar at Madách Imre út 3,(Madach square). I don't drink coffee but was curious about the name, so we crossed the street to investigate.
The name came about when the owners visited relatives in Melbourne (Australia), enjoyed the city's coffee culture and opened up their tiny shop in Budapest serving good coffee, croissants, juices, salads and sandwiches. They specialize in the classic espresso so my husband and son in law ordered 2 espressos and the coffee got the seal of approval.
|Cafe vian (top right) and My Little Melbourne Cafe (bottom left)|
It is Hungary's third largest church building and one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest at 96mt (315ft), the other being the Hungarian Parliament building. Current regulations prohibit any construction over 96 metres in Budapest, so they are likely to remain the tallest buildings.
The Basilica took 54 years to be built due to the collapse of the dome in 1868 which required a demolition and complete rebuild of that part of the building. It was finally completed in 1905 and is 55mt wide (180ft) and 87,4mt long (287ft) and has the shape of a cross. On the south tower is Hungary's biggest bell with 9 tonnes.
It really is a very impressive building - lots of gold details, statues, painted ceilings, beautiful dome...
|St Stephen's Basilica|
After the visit we started walking towards the Hungarian Parliament, and along the way we found beautiful buildings and a lot of public art.
A giant bronze statue of former American President Ronald Reagan was a surprise find and we posed with him. It acknowledges his efforts to end the Cold war and was unveiled in 2011, and located at Szabadság square near the American Embassy.
|Beautiful architecture and lots of statues - President Ronald Reagan (bottom left) and I pose together.|
The critics say the monument of Archangel Gabriel being attacked by what appears to be the German imperial eagle (on their coat of arms) appears to absolve the Hungarian state from their role in sending 450 thousand Jews to their deaths during the occupation when Hungary was an allied of Nazi Germany during the first 5 years of the war.
Nonetheless, a lot of people have deposited personal photos, letters, flowers, etc., which makes the monument a bit more personal. Just in front there is a square water jet fountain, which seems to be a lot of fun for the kids that try to jump in and out avoiding the water.
I spotted a photo of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat in France who saved thousands of Jews by giving them visas out of the country - the Portuguese Schindler.
|The War Memorial - a photo of Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese diplomat (top right), and personal mementos by the monument|
Between Liberty Square and Parliament there was a bronze arched bridge with a statue in the middle - Imre Nagy, an Hungarian politician and Prime Minister who opposed communism during the 1956 Uprising.
|Bronze arched bridge with Prime Minister Imre Nagy|
|Bronze arched bridge with Imre Nagy (top left), various statues around Parliament and Museum of Ethnography across from the Parliament building (bottom left), changing of the Guard|
And on to the impressive Hungarian Parliament - the largest and tallest building in Budapest, located on Lajos Kossuth Square, with the main facade facing the banks of the Danube river, although the official main entrance is on the square behind. Inside and around the building there are over 200 statues!
|Hungarian Parliament building|
|The impressive Parliament building, some of the statues around the parliament building and views of the river|
Just 300 metres from Parliament and along the Danube is another memorial to the war which was created in 2005 - Shoes on the Danube bank - 60 pairs of iron shoes to honour the 3500 people (800 of them Jews) who were killed by the fascist Arrow Cross militia in Budapest in Dec 1944-Jan 45. The victims were ordered to take off their shoes and shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were washed away.
|Shoes on the Danube bank|
And we walk a few hundred metres more and are at the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, joining Buda and Pest. The cast iron bridge was the first permanent bridge over the Danube and opened in 1849. In January 1945 it was blown up when the Germans retreated during the Siege of Budapest and only the towers remained. It was then rebuilt in 1949.
|The Chain Bridge|
|Views of both sides of the Danube from the bridge - Pest on the top where the Parliament building is and Buda at the bottom, where the Castle and other older monuments are.|
After crossing the bridge we went to the Buda Castle Hill funicular to find out how to go up the hill to visit the castle and other monuments. It was now about 1pm and we wanted to go up the hill and find a place to have lunch before visiting all we had to on that side of the city.
But this will have to remain for the next week's post.
This google map shows our walk from the Avantegarde apartments to the Cafe Vian, Basilica, Reagan's statue, Parliament, Shoes on the Danube and Chain Bridge - which was close to a 5km (3,10mile) walk.