Budapest, a land of history – Part 1
Getting away from Paris, the city I now call home satisfies my craving for new adventures. I feel very lucky to have friends who share the same cravings. I have been eyeing Eastern Europe for a while now. Inspiring, Budapest has been on my bucket list. The Danube river. The thermal waters. Paprika. The character of both Buda and Pest.
Once hailed as the heart of Europe, Budapest is made of two cities. Buda up the hills and Pest down the flat plain. In between runs the famous river Danube. The most beautiful avenue of the city according to loacals. I arrive much earlier than my mates and spend the first sustaining my wanderlust.
Sitting by the opera house, excitement builds up
It’s funny. Like many places i have been dreaming about, my expectations are high. We choose to come to Budapest in September and i wouldn’t have it any other way. The air is warm with the Indian summer sun although clouds greet us intermittently.
I set up bright and early to avoid the throng. I start my journey at Callas. Food, always start with food. The place is full of temptations and i settle for a hot chocolate and cheesecake. The sounds, the smells, the people, the views is what defines Callas. Located next to the opera house, it is designed by none other that David Collins. The waiters are very chatty and quite happy to feed my curiosity. Welcome to Budapest.
There are so many corners to explore in the city. Sitting there, I can imagine the excitement of a pre or post performance. I venture towards the opera house. An institution set to rival other European houses such as Vienna. I am baffled by the patterns and paintings on the walls. The colours are rich and warm. Luxurious gold; Deep red velvet; It oozes lavishness and prestige.
Budapest is posh, grandiose and everything in between
Wandering through the streets and not understanding the language took some time to get used to. As I later discover, Budapest people are quite hospitable. I am smitten by the architecture as i meander through the alleyways and avenues. It is rich and varied. I take on the eclectic Andrassy avenue. Marvel at the huge Heroes and liberty square. The richness of the history is fascinating. Walking down Elisabeth avenue, i am baffled to discover the Danube river once covered the area.
I didn’t really know what to expect of Budapest but this for sure is a good introduction. My wander continues down Erzsebetvaros. This former ghetto oozes peaceful and bohemian vibes. It is full of energy. I meander though the streets, pausing for drinks and some delicious Hungarian food in the kert. The atmosphere of a kert is quite unique. A mix of underground and bohemian. Diversity in it’s simplest form. The city seems to mix different styles that appear to be a reflection of past civilisations.
My steps lead to the great synagogue. Oh. My. Gosh. It’s massive. It has two towers and a central nave; a bit like in a church. Here and there are mosaics. This synagogue is the second biggest in the world. Trully inspiring. There is so much to see. There is so much to enjoy.
History, bridges and fairytale
I am walking everywhere. The only time i am taking the vintage tram is to get to Vizivaros. This side of Budapest instantly feels calmer than its counterpart in Pest. Incredibly romantic, the stroll north side towards Margit bridge offers gorgeous view of the parliament. A short break at Angelika later, I make my way towards the castle. Empty squares; Charming stairs; Old streets that have fallen into desuetude. It feels like i have stepped back in time just a bit. Timeless elegance.
After sunlight has faded, I make my way towards the love bridge. The nickname for Liberty bridge or Szabadsag hid. And rightly so i am not the only one. The tram system is still in operation. Tourists and locals alike settle here after dark with beers and nibbles to watch the world go by. It is also one of the most gorgeous view of the river and the city you will get. I must have been staring way too long at a couple as a few smiles later, we get to chat. Lo and behold he proposed to her on that bridge a few years earlier. Awwww♥. Sauntering down the streets, I make my way towards Belvaros and Deak Ferenc Square.
Gellerthegy, the balcony over the Danube river
For the second day of my solo experience of the city, i am up bright and early again. I make my way towards Gellerthegy. The Art Nouveau architecture of the love bridge is just as gorgeous in the morning light. For sure it’s my favourite bridge. The city is slowly waking up. The ballet of boats on the river is slowly gearing up. The air is warm. It smells of summer. I set off between the trees and make my way up the hill. At Szent Gellert Emlekmu and Citadella Setany, the panorama listed as Unesco world heritage site is breathtaking. Fascination. Contemplation.
Travelling solo is so much more than just exploring. It can be a little frightening yet powerful. To say my first immersion in Budapest has been distinctive and vibrant is an understatement. Budapest people are quite hospitable. The second part of this adventure starts here.
xoxo M. Let’s share our inspiration
Callas is located Andrassy utca 20; Angelika is on Batthyany ter 7[spacer height=”20px”] [SLGF id=1374]