Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Budapest III - Afternoon in Buda - Day 14

The city of Budapest, is divided by the Danube River, and continuing from our morning tour of Peste , we crossed the 19th century Chain Bridge and found ourselves in the beautiful old town of Buda.

We were wondering if we were going to catch the funicular up to the Castle, it's just a 3 min ride but we thought it was expensive at about $8 each person (return). In the meantime someone approached us offering mini-bus rides for half the price and we took the offer. 
He also accepted Euros in payment which was a bonus as I had withdrawn Euros just before flying out of Lisbon, not aware that Hungary hadn't adopted the Euro even though they are in the European Union.
The bus could carry 8 people, we were 7 and they already had a couple sitting on the bus, so we just squeezed in. There were 4 or 5 stops where we could be dropped and we chose to go to the last one - the Buda Castle and make our way back to Fisherman's Bastion.
We later learned that nearby there is a staircase that leads up to the top - for those who like to exercise and have good knees 😏

At the Funicular
At the Clark Adam Square is a statue of an "O" which symbolizes the starting point of all major roads leaving Budapest.

The O statue, the Chain bridge, our mini-bus and Buda Castle on the hill

                                  Fisherman's Bastion from below, when we were going up the hill by mini-bus
We were dropped near Buda Castle where there is an ancient brick wall from where we could see excavated medieval ruins. 

Ancient ruins near the Buda Castle

Through the cobblestone streets and just a few metres away in St. George Square was Sandor Palace, the official residence of the Hungarian President as well as his office.
The Palace was completed in 1806, commissioned by Count Vincent Sándor, a philosopher and aristocrat.
During the World War II, the Allied aircraft bombed Sándor Palace, and the building was left in ruins, and remained so until the demise of the Communist regime in 1989, when a team of restoration workers started restoring the palace to its former glory.

As we were looking at the views of Pest on the other side of the river we heard some drums and looked around to see the changing of the Guard at the palace. The guards turned their rifles, saluted and marched to the sound of the drums. The previous guards on duty then marched into the palace.

Views of the Danube River and the Pest side of the side
Changing of the guard at the Sandor Palace
Next we crossed the square towards the Buda Castle complex, a former residence of Hungarian Kings and governors.
Entry is through a beautiful iron gate and on the corner of the fence is a giant bird - a turul - which represents power, strength and nobility. Down the staircase is a landscaped area, a  few statues, and stunning views over the river to the Pest side.
The Castle also suffered extensive damage in WWII and was rebuilt in the baroque style. It's now home to the Hungarian National Gallery, National Archives, History Museum and the Szechenyi Library.

Statue of the Fishing children from 1912, Statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy from 1900

At the end of the building is a viewpoint with a 4mt high statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, facing the river. In the distance you can see the Liberty statue on Gellert Hill.
We reached the end and returned to have something to eat at a coffee shop outside the Museum, just behind the statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy and some other strange statue.
At the cafe with the statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy in front of us. A crow pulled a plastic from a bin and searches for food
The statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, and at the far end the Liberty statue on Gellert Hill
After our snack/lunch we started walking towards Fisherman's Bastion, via the cobbled streets of this beautiful residential area. Some beautiful houses caught my attention, and being a fan of beautiful doors and windows I also snapped a few photos of those. We were told some houses in this area date back from the 14th and 15th centuries, most of those being private houses. Only residents and workers are allowed to bring their cars in, otherwise only public transport is available, which makes sense to preserve this area's charm. Again lots of statues commemorating warriors and governors.

Holly Trinity Column built in 1713 (middle) near Matthias Church, Presidential palace (bottom left) and other statues in the area
Matthias Church is a Roman Catholic church in front of Fisherman's Bastion and it's a very striking church rebuilt in the 14th century in the same spot of a church destroyed by the Mongols. Also badly damaged during World War II it was renovated between 1950 and 1970. I loved the diamond  pattern coloured roof tiles, the tower and lavish embellishments. Different from many European churches.

Matthia's Church
St Stephen's statue,  patron saint of Budapest from 1906. Matthia's church - the patterned diamond shaped tiles on the roof, beautiful doors and windows. Did you notice the black crow with a gold ball on its beak?

And we finally arrived at the most visited attraction in Budapest!
It's called Fisherman's Bastion or Halaszbastya (in Hungarian), built between 1895 and 1902 to celebrate the 1000th birthday of the Hungarian state. It looks like a fairytale castle and was mainly designed to be used as a viewing terrace and not a fortification castle.
Also damaged during the war, it was restored by the son of the original architect. During the 1980's it underwent extensive renovations to clean up the walls damaged by fumes and restore the crumbling statues.

The fairytale palace - Fisherman's Bastion
Here you can sit on the stone benches in the arcades, climb the turrets and admire the amazing views for free. In one of the turrets I climbed there was a small bar, and I also noticed a restaurant with outdoor tables -  it would be the ideal place to be to admire the evening lights. 

Sadly we had to get going as we had dinner reservations on the other side of the river ...
We walked to where our mini-bus had made one of its stops and after a few minutes a mini-bus stopped. He looked at our tickets and said they were from another company. We waited another 15 minutes and with no bus coming my daughter decided to look on her mobile for an alternative way to get back to our hotel on the Pest side of the city.

On our way to get the bus - more statues, old map, postal box, artistic man hole cover

Karina found a bus that would suit us and we walked a couple of streets down, took the Granit lift next to the ancient city walls, and then walked down a lot of steps until we arrived at the stop by the park. The bus came along just a couple of minutes later. 
My daughter went in and requested 7 tickets and handed the driver a note. The driver said he didn't have change and motioned for us to come in. I wonder if he actually understood that there were 7 of us!!
The bus was already full and we stood for the 10 to 15 minute ride home. On the way I saw a few murals, but I was standing and hanging on to a pole so no chance of taking photos 😏.

But I found another 5 or 6 murals on the way to our dinner later on!! I was always stopping to take photos and everybody calling me to catch up to them 😉

Old walls of Buda city, stairs in the middle of residential houses leading to a park

After a quick shower and change of clothes we met up with the family in the lobby and walked to our first destination of the night - the 360 degree Rooftop Bar at Andrássy út 39.
Located at the top of an office building, we took the lift to the top and walked around looking for a spot to sit. The night was cool and we would have loved to be able to sit inside one of the igloos, but had to settle for a table that became vacant and gathered some stools so we could all sit.
The drinks were expensive of course, you  have to pay for the view and the novelty, but we were on holidays...

The 360 Rooftop bar with igloos, a statue on the way there
After our drink, we walked a little bit further to have dinner at the Drop - gluten free Restaurant at Hajós u. 27.  
Thomas' (future son in law) Mom is celiac so she worries a lot about eating out, so Thomas had found this 100% gluten free restaurant and she could have a relaxing time and enjoy the night. The food was good, prices not too bad, although I was surprised only two families were there.
And it was past 11 o'clock when we finished our dinner and walked home.

The Drop - gluten free Restaurant - the main dishes and dessert

Oh my, we did so much and walked so much that day- calculating from google maps we walked over 12 km/7.46 miles!
No wonder I felt quite fit but the time I returned home from our holidays, all that walking...

And here are the maps of the Buda and the Pest routes we walked that day.

On the Buda side 

On the Peste side

Hope I haven't bored you too much with all we did, just a day and a half to go before we return home.


  1. Posso dizer-te que através das tuas fotos conheci muito mais de Buda do que na visita que fiz !
    E tudo descreves maravilhosamente, Sami !
    Muito obrigado por tudo.

    Um beijo amigo.

    1. Obrigada Joao, ainda bem que gostou de conhecer um pouco mais de Buda. Um beijo.

  2. The architecture there is amazing!

    1. They have beautiful monuments, thanks William.

  3. Some great and detailed research. Thanks for a terrific read. We are the same, fitter when we return from holidays.

    1. Thanks Andrew. All that walking that I don't do when I'm home...

  4. Tenho mesmo que ir visitar esse local fantástico.

    1. Vale a pena, uma cidade bonita e segura.

  5. The architecture is incredible. The statues are amazing, and that castle is a fairy tale come true. Too bad war had to damage and destroy so many beautiful places in this duel city. I read every word you wrote and perused every photo, and I am probably more overwhelmed than you!

    1. Thank you Elizabeth, so glad you enjoyed my post and photos. I took over 800 photos in 4 days, so difficult to choose...

  6. Um belo passeio minha amiga por uma cidade cheia de história e monumentos.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

    1. Obrigada Francisco, Boa semana para si também.

  7. You walked so much indeed but saw a lot of the city!

    1. It was a short visit so we had to do a lot and stretch our days.

  8. Interesting fact with the "O" and the castle is impressive.
    The bird sure is massive, wow!
    Very beautiful house with the "tile-style"!
    I like crows a lot, such clever birds.
    The Fisherman's Bastion really looks a bit like Disney land, funny.

    Oh, yips, I know that feeling of catching up when taking pics of murals, LOL...
    The igloos look tempting indeed.
    Bored, Sami! ;-) Who doesn´t love to travel just sitting in front of the pc?

    1. Thanks Iris, the crow looked a bit different from the ones here, but they are clever birds. Those igloos looked so comfy with sofas and pillows...

  9. Not boring at all Sami it's fascinating to see places I know I'll never get too. I love the detail in your travel posts. What a lot of amazing sculptures here and architecture, it must hit you every time you arrive home how young Australia is by comparison ✨

    1. That's true Grace, I enjoy the modernity of Australia, but at the same time I love the beautiful old monuments and the history that we don't have in Australia.

  10. Budapeste is beautiful and it’s great that you could see so much even if you had limited amount of time. Nice posts!

    1. Thanks Sara, we certainly made the best of our short visit.

  11. Dearest Sami,
    At present, husband Pieter with his heart condition would never be able to walk that much... So traveling with two generations can become tricky and than the language barrier and different mini-bus companies can at times surprise you.
    But you all got a pretty good sight of the things you wanted to see and some great photos as well.
    Thanks for sharing them here!

    1. Thanks Mariette. The two generations wasn't a problem for us anyway, the difficulty was really the language barrier with Thomas's parents. Our French is very basic and their English is basic too, so we relied on our daughter and partner to translate for us. Makes for a difficult conversation, but we tried our best and had a good time.
      Thanks Mariette, hope your husband is stable.

    2. We've lived through that too... language barriers are wearing you out if you have to translate for all around. Yes, Pieter is rather stable and I pray that God grants him some more time next to me! Thanks for asking dear Sami. 💗

  12. So much to see.
    I did like the Churches, amazing buildings.

    All the best Jan


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