This road trip would not have been complete without exploring my “old Hungarian home”. During 2007 I studied at the Corvinus University, and had a fantastic exchange there. It was important that Martin be shown the sites of this fantastic city that at present is not overrun with tourists (which is much nicer than Prague in this respect). After parking the car near Aquincum, the old roman ruins of Budapest, we started off by tramming down one side of the Danube, while I pointed the important sites like the castle, Matthias church, fishermans bastion, parliament, and Gellert hill. Crossed over to the other side and grabbed a bite at the Burger King (gross I know, but back when I was there it was 150 HUF for a chesseburger combo – my how things have changed now 618 HUF!!). Showed him the impressive market place that actually backs my old Uni. This market place is huge and had three floors. It used to actually be a fish market, which when you are in a land locked country seems weird, even though you have the very (now) polluted Danube running there. Corvinus Uni hadn’t changed much, surprised that the works for the underground were still out the front after 4 years (Budapest started the new underground line when I was there, but it is looking doubtful that it will ever be finished). Right by there, is the famous tourists street, Vaci Utca, which I used to live off of. It has a wide variety of interesting shops and a couple of good restaurants.
After resting a bit, headed to my favourite monument in Budapest: Heroes square. When I was there, I studied Hungarian history, and to see it accumulated and displayed in this way was fantastic. You have at the top of the main column is the angel Gabriel holding St Stephens crown (the holy crown), at the base of the main column are the 7 tribes that founded Hungary after setting out from Ural mountains with their chief Arpad at the front, and in the backing colonnades the 14 men important to Hungarian history and angels on the top of the different colonnades, (one represents peace, the other war). Sitting underneath it, is the geothermal spring that supplies the Szechenyi Baths (another must do if you have the time). Either side of this you have two different art galleries, both of beautiful architecture and design.
After that we were lucky enough to arrive on Gluttonous Thursday (to do with the start of Lent), where all the restaurants have their menus half price. We met up with dear friends and had a fantastic night out, eating a bit too much. It was lovely to be back in Budapest, to see, smell, taste, and hear the same things, brought back a lot of good memories. It is a shame however, how much Budapest has increased in price in the last few years. Everything is much more expensive.
Note: there are much more detailed descriptions in my older previous writings from time during my study.