We had about fifteen waking hours in Budapest spread over a day and a half, and while that isn't nearly enough time to really get to know a city that was established over a century ago, we managed to pack quite a bit in. Perhaps the only downsides to Budapest where that its not on the Euro, so it required getting Hungarian Forint and getting used to doing a new conversion when we bought anything and that Hungarian is nothing like any other language we even kind of know, so I think we missed out on a lot and had to do some of the more generic touristy stuff to learn anything; well, that or pull up info on the handy iPhone. Among other things we did learn, the following are some famous Hungarians: George Soros, gazillionare businessman; Tony Curtis, Hollywood legend; Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was Miss Hungary.
The Chain Bridge was one of the highlights of Budapest for us, because we got to replicate a scene in the movie Gross Point Blank, which was quite popular among our friends in college. There are other photos of the bridge and actual info about the bridge further below, but we kept repeating this quote.
Grocer: Maaartin, where are you?
Grocer: Ah, the city of cathedrals. Yeah, I see you right there on the bridge of the Danube, kid.
Budapest was formed by merging three cities on each side of the Danube; there was Buda, Pest, and a small outlier third city that gets shortchanged. Since the Buda side is rather hilly, there is a funitel that goes up to the base of the castle.
Alternatively, you can walk up the hill, which has this emblem in the side of the brick work; it features the accurate rendition of the crooked cross on the top of the crown. We saw the crown when we toured the Parliament Building.
This photo is for BK, the best man in our wedding, who studied abroad in Budapest and got Greg one of these impossible to open trick boxes that we still have and used to be on the shelf above our tv before everything got packed up when we moved to Germany.
Me standing sort of near one of the soldiers with a bayonet who was on guard at the President's House. Since the soldiers weren't there that evening, I'm not sure if it's similar to the Secret Service in that they go where the President goes type of thing, but either way, they let you get much closer to the Hungarian President's house than anyone without a background check and friend in high places is allowed to get to the White House. Also, I debated getting a little closer to the soldier (I assume that is what the green line on the ground is for), but did I mention he had a bayonet?!
My parents walking around the Buda side of the city, which is considered the more historic side of town.
This side of the city also has Matthias Church, which was built in the 13th century and converted to a mosque when the Turks invaded. It has obviously since been restored as a church, including ceramic tiles on the roof.
This photo was taken by Greg standing on the only remaining entry gate into the old-town city center on the Buda side from back when there was a stone wall around the castle. Not much of the wall remains either, but enough for me to do the classic, pretend to be walking down a stairwell that isn't really there move.
I didn't know that Budapest has an Opera House, but apparently they do, and have had it ever since 1884. Sorry it's not the best photo since it was taken from on one of the hop-on, hop-off busses.
On Vajdahunyad Island, there are a couple main sights. This is a statue of Anonymous, who was the first person to record Hungarian history. He looks super creepy, but touching his pen is supposedly good luck. I did that after taking this photo and another where I attempted to give him bunny ears (I wasn't quite tall enough) to offset any possible bad karma.
In the square, guess who stands out as tourists and guess who the locals are? Admittedly, these were the only people, we saw dressed like this, but still.
On the side of the square was a modern art museum that was used for filming the scenes in Evita that are supposed to be at the Argentinian Congress, since it apparently looks similar enough for Hollywood.
View from the Citadel looking out over the city. The Buda side is on the left and the Pest side is on the right. This angle shows the side of The Hungarian Parliament Building, the on the Pest side on the river, but you mostly only see the dome of it, just past the Chain Bridge. The Buda Castle is on the left. This overlook was built to be a lookout when the Hapsburgs ruled and wanted to keep the Hungarian commoners far away from the castle. If you click on the photo, it should open in a new window, which may be helpful if you want to see it bigger.
The Fisherman's Bastion was built in 1905 mainly for decorative purposes. It has seven towers - each one symbolizing one of the seven Magyar tribes that came to Hungary in 896. It wraps around the side of Mathias Church, and has some spectacular views out over the city. It doesn't really have much to do with fishermen, it just used to be the site of a fish market before it was built, so thus, the name Fisherman's Bastion.
One of my favorite things about Budapest was all the architectural details, such as these guys on the side of one of the fancier restaurants, "The New York Cafe."
View from the Buda Castle out over the city. This has St. Stephen's Basilica peeking through.
The Chain Bridge is called that because it is made of dog-bone looking metal pieces held together with metal pins that form a sort of chain. It was the only bridge in the city to survive WW2. When it was originally built, it and the bridge next to it were named for a popular king and queen, since the two bridges are supposed to symbolize them being together forever.