Budapest in winter is surprising, it is supposed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world but because of economic crisis is suffering inherent social problems such as London, Paris and Frankfurt. Cities worldwide need to address this situation, it is not a welcomed site for tourists to encounter and gives an insight into how the social services of these countries address this situation.
From the train station to my accomodation I was daunted by soup kitchens in squares and beggars in the underground pedestrian ways at every intersection. One will be for the blind next for the invalide. It is an eyeopener when economies falter. For all this Budapest is a busy and crowded city with an eclectic meringue style architecture which adorns nearby hills and river side. It is well serviced by public transport and an elaborate tram service trundles along the river front.
The xmas market is set in the main square and there is no expense spared in swiss styled little wooden chalets offering anything from Leather goods, hungarian hasburg hats, huge pots of steaming goulash it is different to other Western European Xmas markets but holds its own well. There are racks of barbequed meat, shasliks and huge cauldrons of boiling delights.
Hot goulash at a xmas market sounds strange but hits the spot.
It started to snow heavily in Budapest and in the early afternoon light the city glowed against the winter sky. By night the city was under a light blanket of white snow.
I would recommend visiting Budapest but dont be surprised by the homeless. Hungarians are a welcoming people and the language can be difficult but overall worth the visit.