Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
November 5, 2004
Upon leaving the bridge, you will not fail to notice the imposing Gellért Hotel built in the Modernist Secession style. This massive hotel was built here to exploit the natural hot springs, and the earliest reference to the "healing waters" was in the early 1200s. In the Middle Ages there was a hospital here, and since the 1920s, the Gellért Hotel has boasted various forms of water therapy: saunas, steam baths, plunge pools, outdoor hot tubs, and an outdoor wave pool. It’s a grand building that is worth a peek, even if you don’t use the facilities.
Opposite is the Cave Church, modelled on the shrine at Lourdes and crammed with artifacts and "graven images." Like Lourdes, it feels totally over the top, but we recognised the importance the Catholic Church attributed to this site, as the beautiful granite altar had been given a papal blessing. Whilst we were there, however, it felt more like a tourist site than a holy place.
The guidebook suggested that there was a pleasant, gentle walk to the Liberation Monument. Pleasant it was, but it was an incredible strain on the back and leg muscles. Our two lads tore into the challenge with absolute enthusiasm, and when we finally made it to the top, they were enjoying their second drink on the steps of the monument. Trees limited our views on this route, but when the top of the 46-foot high monument came into view, we sensed that the walk had been worthwhile. The view around Budapest from this vantage point is absolutely superb, and the blue skies contributed to our enjoyment--a change from the day before when it had persistently rained from dawn to dusk.
Budapest is great to see sculptures and monuments, and the Russians erected the Liberation Monument in 1947 to celebrate their liberation of the city. A woman holding aloft a palm leaf stands on the central pedestal, towering above the city at the highest point. Well below her are two other sculptural compositions denoting a successful struggle with evil. It is interesting to note that this Russian liberation brought its own form of repression in the form of a communist, and after the "fall of communism," a figure of a Russian soldier was removed from the monument.
The walk back down, past the 1850s citadel, is an absolute treat with fantastic views through the trees and from the many observation terraces. We reckon our climb to the top of the Gellért Hill was well worth the effort.
From journal A family holiday in Budapest
August 7, 2002
From journal Budapest in 1 day