My first Danube adventure took me to the city of Budapest. With only one full day in the Hungarian capital, I tried to get around as many sights as possible. I normally complain about the poor weather during my travel adventures but my time in Budapest was filled with blue skies and sunshine and it was reasonably warm for January too! (so much so that I had to put my scarf in my handbag and buy some sunglasses!)
After a nice lie in, I left my hotel in downtown Pest and headed to the nearby Hold Utca food market to get some breakfast. Tucked away down a side street, the market was preparing for its lunchtime rush and packed with incredible smells. I left with some Kolach and Kifli wrapped up and went in search for the perfect spot to eat.
I cut through Liberty Square and arrived at the Parliament building. I cannot explain how beautiful this building is at every angle! Sitting proudly on the banks of the Danube, this building is the largest in Hungary and the tallest building in Budapest.
Having taken in this incredible building, I walked along the banks of the Danube towards the Széchenyi chain bridge trying to spot my destinations of choice over in Buda. I spotted another landmark as I walked along the riverbank, The Shoes on the Danube. Erected in 2005, this has become a tourist’s favourite when visiting Budapest. The 60 pairs of iron shoes honours the 3,500 people who were ordered to take off their shoes and shot on the banks of the Danube so their bodies would fall into the river and be carried away by the river’s current during the Arrow Cross Terror in World War II. Flowers and candles were scattered along these small sculptures with some shoes even having small handwritten messages of love tucked inside of them.
I left Pest and crossed the Széchenyi chain bridge to start my Buda adventures. I walked up the steep winding road towards Buda Castle which stands out majestically on the Buda Skyline.
I spotted an unusual looking roof in the distance so walked towards it to discover the beautiful Matthias Church. A building that has seen several coronations and royal weddings, in 1541 its religious treasures were shipped to Bratislava for a century and a half as the church became the city’s main mosque. Beside the church was the Fisherman’s Bastion. One of the best viewpoints in the city. Its seven towers represent the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin in 895 and gets its name from fisherman’s guild who protected the city walls during the Middle Ages.
I walked down the hill and found the Európa liget, opened in 1972, it commemorates the centenary of the unification of Buda & Pest an Congress of the 29 European Capitals. Each leader planted a tree from their own country which could withstand the Hungarian climate. Also tucked away with a bronze statue of Hungarian Composer Zoltán Kodály.
When I reached the bottom of the hill, I walked up to cross the Margaret bridge to head back to Pest, passing Margaret’s island on the way. On my way back to the hotel to rest my feet, I stopped off at a shopping centre and indulged in some January sale shopping and glass of wine (it’s 5o’clock somewhere right?).
Originally searching for goulash for dinner, I came across Meatology. Just across from St Stephen’s Basilica, this small restaurant is brimming with smells and the perfect stop for any meat lover! I opted for the Confit leg of Goose, Pearl Barley, Red Cabbage & Quince washed down with a glass of Hungarian Rosé. The meat just flaked off the bone and every mouthful was brimming with flavour.
I ended up walking over 10 Miles during my busy day in the Hungarian capital and it was an unforgettable day. I wonder what my next Danube adventure has is store.