As part of our Ruby Wedding Anniversary celebrations, we decided to take advantage of some cheap flights at a reasonable time of day on Ryan Air and go to Budapest for a short three day break.
So we decided to fit into these three days:
- a free walking tour starting in Pest and finishing in Buda;
- the National Gallery;
- the Central Market Hall;
- a tour of Parliament building;
- Tosca at the Opera House;
- St Stephen’s Church;
- Museum of Fine Arts;
- The Jewish Quarter and the Orthodox Synagogue;
plus if we could, a trip up and down Tram Line 2 (known for its great views of Buda); a Ruined Cafe and whatever else we could find the energy to do.
And so 12.45 on a hot Monday afternoon finds us checking into the Cafe Gerloczy which describes itself as a cafe with rooms. Its Tripadvisor ratings are almost universally encouraging which is why we chose it. It is also jut inside the Pest pedestrian area which whilst not totally free of vehicles, certainly has less.
The Cafe is hidden behind these trees and there is a large seating area in front where one can eat outside - cakes are a speciality as are strange teas
and beer is served in large and even larger sizes.
Our attic bedroom was delightful
and unusual in design in that everything seemed to have been fitted around the roof trusses. The hotel gets very good Trip Advisor reviews.
Free Walking Tour
The Free Walking Tour is free in that there is no fee to join it but you are expected to tip the guide at the end of the walk. It starts at the Lion Fountain in Vorosmarty Square which marks the site of an old well which served the city
and ends some
three hours later in Buda near the Mathias Church. We enjoyed the walk but felt that there were too many lost opportunities to point out things / buildings / history which we walked past. Never-the-less, we got a good view of the general architecture of Budapest, most of which was impressive. So, in no particular order:
the Philanthia Florist’s Shop - an Art Nouveau delight in the main pedestrian area. This blog here has more information about the shop and also a link to their (not yet working) website.
This building is close to St Stephen’s Basilica and is currently a bank
But on the corner of the building is a mosaic which is thought to date from when the building was a pharmacy. Designed by Lotz Karoly in 1905 and called Gyógyítás (Healing), it shows a guardian angel spreading his arms over a mother and her child to heal them. He has painting all over Budapest and a list of his works can be found here.
This building, Cafe Gerbeud, is a famous coffee / tea shop
this is the art nouveau style Vigado Concert Hall (we have a weakness for art nouveau buildings),
this is the Hungarian Academy of Sciences,
and this is a street view on the Pest Side with a combination of famous churches and other buildings above.
I include this building because it is quite horrible in these surroundings but it was said to be a good example of Soviet Brutalist Design and totally useless as a building - cold in winter, too hot in summer. There are quite a number of this style of building scattered around the city and where they are constructed shows the disregard the Soviet Authorities had for the beauty of the city.
We were delighted with the city, it is easy to walk around, the public transport system is superb, we felt safe and there was a lot to see.