Another foggy start to the day. But as soon as we left the Vienna surrounds it lifted. Not that it mattered much because somehow I forgot to make seat reservations for the train. We had tickets but no assigned seats. We ended up sitting one behind the other on aisle seats so no pics of the scenery. We passed through gentle rolling land, obviously used mainly for agriculture. It reminded me a lot of the area between Goulbourn and Lake George. We also passed a massive wind farm – go Austria!
Budapest Keleti station is a dowager in decline. What was once probably a magnificent building is now a sad, shabby vision of its former self.
We grabbed a cab to our apartment and right on time the lovely Maurizio pedalled up on his bike and introduced himself. He let us into the buildings central courtyard and up to the flat. It’s recently renovated and very spacious with a mezzanine bedroom.
|The internal courtyard - the exterior of the building gives no clues to the loveliness within|
After settling in we headed out to explore the neighbourhood and find the Christmas Market at Vorosmarty Square that Maurizio had told us about. We’re in the old Jewish Quarter and passed a stack of Kosher markets and restaurants.
The architecture of this part of Budapest is unlike anything we saw in any of the other cities we’ve visited. It has a heavy blocky feel about it – reminiscent of buildings we saw in East Berlin. And the contrast between pre and post WW2 buildings is really striking too. Not entirely surprising when you consider that Hungry was part of the Eastern Bloc for decades.
|Big blocky chunky buildings...|
|...contrast with buildings from an earlier era.|
We also passed a Trabbie .. not something I ever imagined I’d see anywhere else except Berlin.
Approaching the main shopping district, the whole feel of the city changed. We could have been in Paris or Vienna – Shopping Street was lined with the same high end shops as the Champs Elysees.
At the end of Shopping Street is Vorosmarty Square – currently wearing her Christmas face. A lovely market with a huge variety of stalls selling food, gifts, beer & mulled wine decorations, jewellery, hats etc. It was lovely.
|Chimney Cake in the making|
|Shopping Street, home to all the same stores as you'd find on the Champs Elysees|
Trying to match other major European cities, Budapest has a sign just like Amsterdam. We did a lap of the Market and headed back to the apartment just on dark.
Budapest is divided into two parts (Buda and Pest) by the Danube River and tomorrow we’re going to explore the Pest side of the city.