Budapest Journals

Budapest: Beyond Western Europe

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A May 2001 trip to Budapest by wildhoney269

Hidden Garden Photo, Budapest, Hungary More Photos
Quote: Whether you're yearning to sit in an outdoor cafe along the Vaci utca, longing to experience the baths of the Gellert Hotel or craving real deal goulash laced with paprika, Budapest is a superb getaway destination and arguably one of Europe's finest capitals.

Budapest: Beyond Western Europe

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Overview

Baths at Hotel Gellert Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
First time visitors to Budapest are usually overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the city. Divided in two by the Danube, the numerous vantage points from hilly Buda and Óbuda offer spectacular views of a flat, busy, sprawling Pest on the river's eastern bank. We cruised into town acquiring our first view from the Danube and left from the magnificent train station. Our stay in between was filled with romance of this mostly nineteenth-century-vintage capital. We spent a day and a half here, dipping our toes into Budapest’s rare culture. We spent an afternoon strolling down the Vaci utca, the main pedestrian mall, visiting antique galleries and shops featuring the colorful folk-style tableware native...Read More

Mercure Budapest Nemzeti 3m

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Hotel | "Mercure Hotel Nemzeti"

Mercure Budapest Nemzeti 3m Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Mercure Hotel Nemzeti was built in the art-nouveau style in the end of the 19th century and is located in the centre of the Pest side, very close to the shopping area, offices and historical monuments. The old fashioned hotel has been recently renovated and it is well equipped. There are elevators, but if you can, you should walk up the stairs to one of the 76 rooms assigned to you. The inside of the building is absolutely magnificent. The wide staircase ascends to each floor decorated in bright colors with seating areas of chairs and couches made from rich fabrics. The hotel is shaped in a square with an open courtyard. Request one of the higher floors for a cheerful view of the robin’s egg blue cour...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 14, 2003

Mercure Budapest Nemzeti 3m
JOZSEF KOERUT 4
Budapest, Hungary 1088
36-36-4772000

Café Gerbeaud

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Restaurant

Café Gerbeaud Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Stop in at Café Gerbeaud in the heart of Budapest to experience one of the most traditional coffee houses in Europe. The legendary Gerbeaud was established in 1858. Walk inside to sample the coffee culture of the city’s ‘golden era’ in an elegant setting of magnificent chandeliers, marble tables, and highly polished wood. Shiny counters display mouth-watering pastries, including all kinds of famous cream cakes, extravagant baked goods and exquisite ice-creams. We visited Café Gerbeaud after an afternoon of wandering through the shops on Vaci utca. Café Gerbeaud is at the end of this pedestrian mall where in warm seasons a large outdoor patio awaits the weary shopper. Sit down and examine the men...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 14, 2003

Café Gerbeaud
V. Vörösmarty tér 7
Budapest, Hungary
429 9000

Gellert Baths

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Attraction | "Baths at Hotel Gellert"

Gellert Baths Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
We were in awe of Hotel Gellert which is one of the finest Art Nouveau buildings in Budapest. Pink marble pillars, floral motifs on the walls and bronze decorations surrounded us. As we waited in line at the counter, we anticipated lounging in medicinal natural springs, the strange earthly elements legends are made out of. When it was our turn, we had a bit of trouble figuring out what to do. A board is posted near the counter which contained a list of services, but it is in Hungarian. We could not read it and did not know what to ask for. The person at the counter did not speak English and could not help us. We think we got the basic package, had some exchange about needing towels and a locker, and s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 14, 2003

Gellert Baths
Kelenhegyi ut, 4-6
Budapest, Hungary 1118
+36 1 466 6616

Castle Hill Funiculaire

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Attraction | "Wandering Around Castle Hill"

Castle Hill Funiculaire Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Although pedestrians can take the steps to get up Castle Hill, it is more fun to ride the Budavari Siklo (cable car). Just next to the upper terminal of the Sikló is the magnificent Turul Statue. This mythical Hungarian eagle, cast in bronze with wings outstretched, is said to have sired Álmos the father of Árpad, who led the Magyar conquest of the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century. Walk down the flight of stairs next to the Royal Palace and view the equestrian statue of Eugene of Savoy, commander of the army that liberated Hungary from Turkish rule in 1686. The Royal Palace itself dominates the southern skyline of the Ca...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 14, 2003

Castle Hill Funiculaire
Clark Adam tér
Budapest, Hungary

Royal Palace (Buda Castle)

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Attraction | "History of the Royal Palace"

Royal Palace (Buda Castle) Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The first royal residence is said to have been constructed by Bela IV on Castle Hill after the Mongol Invasion of 1241. New sections were added throughout the years by the Angevin Kings. Under the reign of Sigismund of Luxembourg (1387-1437) a much larger Gothic Palace was established. It wasn’t until the reign of King Matthias (1451-1490) that the palace had its golden era and became known as one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe. Nobleman, scholars and Renaissance artists would journey here from all over Europe to see one of the most extravagant, beautiful and important Renaissance buildings of the time. They were also encouraged by the prospect of receiving lavish treatment and hospitality fr...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 14, 2003

Royal Palace (Buda Castle)
Castle Hill
Budapest, Hungary 1014

Hungarian National Gallery

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Attraction | "Hungarian National Gallery(Magyar Nemzeti Galeria)"

Quote:
The Hungarian National Gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galeria) resides in wings B, C and D of the Royal Palace on Castle Hill. When we entered the museum, we assumed we would see more artwork from the "masters" that we had seen in other European art museums. We had a refreshing surprise to find that the style of the artwork is completely different than anything we had seen before. In fact, all the artwork in the Hungarian National Gallery’s six permanent exhibits was produced by only Hungarians. We were most impressed with the late gothic altars of the 15th and 16th Century which is part of the Gothic and Renaissance exhibit. In high contrast to the various Christian relics found in European galleries...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 14, 2003

Hungarian National Gallery
Budavári Palota, Szent György tér 2., Wings A, B, C, D
Budapest, Hungary 1014
(+36 1) 201 9082

Matthias Church (Matyas Templon)

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Attraction | "Matthias Church (Mátyás Templom)"

Matthias Church (Matyas Templon) Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Next to the Royal Palace, the Castle District's most popular tourist area is Trinity Square (Szentháromság tér). In the heart of this square is the magnificent Matthias Church (Mátyás Templom). Officially named as the Church of Our Lady, it referred to as Matthias church because the south tower bears the coat of arms with the raven of Matthias (Good King Matyas). We popped our head in as a last minute thought and were completely awestruck. This is one of the most unique churches we have ever seen. In the thirteenth century Buda’s first parish church stood here. In the fourteenth century it was rebuilt as a Gothic hall church, but it was never finished and the north tower was not built. In Turk...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 14, 2003

Matthias Church (Matyas Templon)
Szentharomsag Ter 2 Castle Hill, District I
Budapest, Hungary 1014
36 1 355 5657

Hungarian Folk Dancing

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Attraction

Hungarian Folk Dancing Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Two bona fide ways to experience a culture are to taste their dishes and dance their dances. If you can’t dance, at least watch one. We visited the Budai Vigado for a performance of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble. The ensemble is the oldest in the country and includes 40 dancers, a 20-member Gypsy orchestra, and a folk orchestra. The rich and colorful repertoire includes singing, live music and folk dances from throughout Hungarian history. The performance opens with Regoles, a poem by Janos Arany which is sung to the tunes of a Mongolian heroic song. The dancing starts soon after with Heroic Times, the performance of a court feast. Dancers march and spin in a cotillion followed by a hedge...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 14, 2003

Hungarian Folk Dancing
Budai Vigado
Budapest, Hungary

Hidden Gardens

Story/Tip

Hidden Garden Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Budapest's residential streets are truly enchanting. Walk down the streets and pass majestic buildings faced with intricate architecture from centuries past next to buildings in disrepair speckled with bullet holes and graffiti. You will find a quaint surprise when opening the door to peak inside the courtyard of a building. Most of the apartment buildings have an open-air courtyard in the center (imagine a building shaped like a square donut) where flower gardens and fruit trees flourish, house pets lay in pickled the sun, and jars of vegetables line the window ledges. Imagine residents sitting on common balconies gossiping and watching the children play in the yard. The main entrance doors to many a...Read More