Budapest Journals

Budapest: a Danube Gem

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A July 2001 trip to Budapest by Overlander

The Parliament Photo, Budapest, Hungary More Photos
Quote: A decade after the fall of Socialist Eastern Europe, Budapest is no longer the gray, dour capital it was when I first saw it in 1967. It's a lively, friendly, and exciting city, and should become one of Europe's most popular destinations once again.

Budapest: a Danube Gem

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Overview

The Parliament Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Prowl around the streets of Castle HillA stroll amongst the shops, the Fisherman's Bastion, and the Castle in Buda is always a winner. A Walk along the Danube at night An evening stroll along the banks of the Danube -- especially on the Pest side with its views of the castle -- is one of the Budapest's best activities. Have a steam bath Thanks to the Turks, Budapest has some of the most amazing baths anywhere. Try the one at the Hotel Gellert. Eat, eat, eat! You can't miss in this department. Hungarians definitely know their way around a kitchen.Quick Tips: No foreigners speak Hungarian, but unfort...Read More

Vörös Ördög Étterem (The Red Devil)

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Restaurant | "The Red Devil - Vörös Ördög Étterem"

Vörös Ördög Étterem (The Red Devil) Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
We found the Red Devil by accident after a rather tiring afternoon of sightseeing. Our feet were killing us when I happened to notice the an opening in a wall with a menu placed outside. Looking in, it looked a bit like a grape arbor: lots of greenery and wrought iron tables set up on flagstones. Since we eat much earlier than Hungarians, the place was almost deserted, but we were happily ushered to a table by an affable blonde waiter, and we had drinks within seconds of sitting down. Shortly thereafter, a strolling violinist was sarenading us with a selection of traditional Hungarian folk songs and old saws from various Lehar and Strauss operetti. Despite the slightly kitchy musit, the meal was...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 30, 2001

Vörös Ördög Étterem (The Red Devil)
Országház Utca 20 (on Castle Hill)
Budapest, Hungary
214-3798

Matthias Church (Matyas Templon)

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Attraction | "Matthias' Church a.k.a. The Church of Our Lady"

Matthias Church (Matyas Templon) Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Matthias Church has gone through several reincarnations since its founding in the 13th Century, when it began its life in Gothic style. It was later changed into a hall church in the 14th century, rebuilt by King Matthias Corvinus (hence the name) in 1470, only to be turned into a mosque by the Turks. It was heavily damaged during the siege of Budapest in 1686, fell into disrepair, and was remodeled yet again in Baroque style in the 18th century. What we see now is a kind of Gothic restoration based on stone pieces dug up on the site at the time by Frigyes Schulek, who was commissioned to do a massive overhaul of much of Castle Hill in the 19th Century. Heavily damaged during World War II, it w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 31, 2001

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

Hydrofoil between Vienna & Budapest

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Attraction | "Hydrofoil between Vienna & Budapest"

Hydrofoil  between Vienna & Budapest Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
This is by far and away the best way of making the trip between these two Danube capitals. The hydrofoil is quiet, smooth, and uncrowded unlike others I've been on, which were very, very noisy. You leave Vienna from a quay that is opposite the so-called "UNO-City", so it is quite convenient to the center of town. The terminal, which operates rather like one at an airport, is efficiently set up. Check-in is smooth, and Austrian passport control is simple and straight-forward. Checked bags are taken to the boat for you, so there is no baggage-schlepping necessary. The on-board staff is all Hungarian, though they do mostly speak German (I'm not sure about English; I think I ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 6, 2001

Hydrofoil between Vienna & Budapest
DDSG GmbH, Friedrichstrasse 7
Budapest, Hungary

Zoo

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Attraction | "Budapest Zoo"

Zoo Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
Although the Budapest Zoo doesn't rank amongst Europe's best, e.g., The London, The Berlin, or Hamburg's Hagenbeck, it offers lots of bang for your buck. Indeed, if you have a Budapest Card it's free. The animal shows are all free -- no extra charges -- and the paddle boats on the lake may as well be. The most memorable thing about it was the opportunity to pet some fairly exotic animals such as zebras and giraffes, something I've not seen elsewhere. A Couple Minor Gripes There are few grazing opportunities for humans at this zoo. The restaurant/cafeteria we found had a very limited menu, sullen staff, and no ice, which on a hot day makes a big difference. Also, th...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 9, 2001

Zoo
Varosliget, Allatkerti korut 6-12
Budapest, Hungary 1146
+36 1 343 6075

Hungarian Parliament Building

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Attraction | "The Hungarian Parliament Building"

Hungarian Parliament Building Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
The Hungarian Parliament is a wonderful neo-Gothic construction built in the late 1880s, and has much to thank the Palace of Westminster for in its underlying design inspiration. Nearly 500 feet long, it is a gigantic complex with some 18 courtyards, numerous grand staircases, and an absolutely stunning interior. Assuming the parliament is not in session, tours take place every morning except Monday and Tuesday. Tickets are very reasonable -- ca. HUF 500 -- and tours are conducted in numerous languages, with English and German ones being the most frequent. In some senses -- certainly to Hungarians -- the most impressive thing in the building is St. Stefan's Crown, the very ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 1, 2001

Hungarian Parliament Building
Kossuth Lajos Ter, 1-3 District V
Budapest, Hungary 1055
+36 1 441 4904

Budapest -- Then and Now

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Story/Tip

The Parliament Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
I first visited Budapest in 1968, back in the days of Janos Kadar’s Communist government. It was a gray and dour city, and it depressed me greatly. Its only saving grace at the time was the food, for it was about the only Eastern European city at the time where you could get really first-rate grub at ludicrously low prices. Indeed, one of the problems Western tourists had in those days was trying to find something to spend the US $10 on that one was required to change for each day one was in the country. Food and wine were by far the best options because there was so little else in the shops worth buying. Otherwise, you could buy handwork from women who sold it – somewhat furtively -- up o...Read More
Window and Statue Photo, Budapest, Hungary
Quote:
I have a penchant for photographing architectural and commercial details, things that few tourists bother to point a camera at. In Central Europe three things fascinate me above everything else: doors, windows, and what is known in German as "Ausleger", which are shop signs, often in wrought iron, which hang out over the street and contain a symbol for the product or service offered inside. These were thoroughly practical since until the 19th century the majority of people were illiterate. That they often turned them into works of art was subsidiary to their true purpose.