A Tale of two Cities
When I was younger, my second older sister used to call me a pest. Rightfully so, I was, most young siblings are. Especially the ones’ who eat their sisters’ flavored lipsticks, cut the hair off their fashion model dolls and burn their legs.
I’ve matured a lot since then but have found a new affinity for the word pest. With this new accord comes a new pronunciation… Pescht, as in Budapest… Think Joe Pesci and swap the “i” for “t”
Many years ago Budapest was two cities. It wasn’t until 1873 that it became one. The city itself is split by the Danube; a river that runs close to 3,000 kilometers long, through 8 countries and 4 capital cities.
Buda, home of the Castle District, is the prominent more affluent side. It’s a very hilly and picturesque area. Many of the locals I met say that if you live here you’ve arrived in life. You’re doing big things. You’ll see a lot of retired or older folks living here. Pest on the other hand is more city-like. It’s young, hip and full of action. It’s the difference between living in Long Island and Manhattan. The Pest side is more affordable but it’s by no means dull or rundown. It’s where you want to be.
If ever you wanted to visit a European country but thought it would be too expensive, please come here. I can’t speak to flight costs because I came here by train from Vienna. However, once you get here your wallet will breathe a sigh of relief… I went to the opera for $9, and that wasn’t even the cheapest seat; a two-day pass for unlimited yacht tours cost me $9; and I rented a beautiful, spacious apartment smack dab in the center of Pest for a week for less than $200.
Getting around was super-easy, in part because of my great location. There was no need for public transport at all. You can pretty much walk everywhere, and with the help of my new Ulmon app that’s exactly what I did. This app is a must for any traveller. You can download maps and wiki guides of any country. The coolest thing about it, is it has GPS and works without a wi-fi connection.
… For now, see Budapest through my eyes. Welcome to the beautiful side of life…
One of my favorite places here was the Liberty bridge. On my first night I went for a walk and noticed people just sitting on the bridge cables. It was a great view and a great place to sit and have a glass of wine :-) Below are pics of some of the many bridges I came across here. One of which, the Chain Bridge, is said to have been opened in 1849 with the purpose of hastening the merge with Buda and Pest.
When I told people I was visiting Hungary the majority asked why. This wasn’t in a negative way, it was more so curiosity. They had never really heard of Hungary as being one of “the” destinations to go. As it happens my arrival here was quite by accident. I was originally supposed to go to Turkey to meet some friends, but somehow while I was booking I confused the two. I always associated Turkey with food. Perhaps while I was booking I was thinking of eating and my fingers led the way on my computer. It wasn’t until three weeks later that I realized what I had done. Of the many “oops” moments I’ve had on this tour this was the best one yet.
From my pictures thus far you can see that Europe is very big on statues, sculptures and such. Budapest is no different, here though I came across some very fun statues as well. You’ll see from the first one below that this guy had more than a few word associations with food. It’s one of the first three statues that you are supposed to rub for good luck whenever you come across them.
Take a close look at this next statue… is it a boy or a girl??
Correct! It’s a boy… and a girl?! Huh? Yes, it’s both. The artist was commissioned to do this sculpture in the likeness of a little girl princess. However, he did not have a female subject to pose for the model. So he used his son.
The third statue is that of a horse with the rider on it. The statue is the greenish blackish color except for one part that is shiny bronze. Unfortunately there was construction around the statue and I was unable to get a clear shot. On this statue you are to rub that one shiny part for luck. What is it you ask? The horses balls! Lol.
Since I couldn’t get a shot of that I swapped it out for another statue you can rub. It’s actually a fountain. The artist was commissioned by the government to make this fountain in whatever likeness he felt. The artist had a very low opinion of the government. Pardon my french, but he felt like they were a bunch of dicks.
My favorite statue of all i’ve seen thus far, no rubbing required, is of this man and his dog. I’ve been watching him since I was a pest.
The most eerie was the one below – it depicts an event in the second World War. Jewish people were ordered to remove their shoes before being shot down by arrows and falling into the water.
Overall Budapest was a great place to visit. If ever you plan to come here I highly suggest going to a bathhouse. I went to Rudas, one of the original bathhouses built in the mid 1500’s, it was a great experience. During the week women are only allowed to go on Tuesdays. The weekends are open to both sexes and there are late night hours. I went on a friday night during their 10p-4a opening hours. Amazing. Next, Gellert hill, it’s a must. The climb of that hill is like no other but once you get to the top it’s worth it for those amazing views. If you can, go at sunset.
Please enjoy the remainder of my pictures and I’ll see you on my next stop. Cheers!
Next stop Rome…