The Royal Palace, Labrinitus, Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion were the attractions on the agenda for us to visit in Budapest today.
We had a bit of a lie-in after our day trip to Szentendre. After finally getting ourselves ready we made our way out of the hotel.
Great Market Hall, Budapest
Around the corner from our hotel is the Great Market Hall, or as it’s known locally – Nagycsarnok.
This huge market is home to vendors selling fruit, vegetables, salami, cheese, meats, duck heads, paprika, dried chillis and freshly cooked food. I’ve never seen so much dried paprika for sale anywhere in my life!
We had a great view of the market upstairs where they also sold crafts and souvenirs. It was a given that the wife had to buy something. I was proven right when a purse was promptly procured by her.
Vórósmarty Ter, Budapest
While the wife went to spend more money in a nearby C&A (remember those?), I sat in Vörösmarty square.
Right in the centre of this square is a statue of Hungarian poet Mihály Vörösmarty who the square is named after.
It was quite quiet and peaceful sitting here watching the world go by.
Budapest Chain Bridge
Making our way through central Budapest we finally arrived at the Chain Bridge.
This bridge was built in 1849 and was the first permanent bridge built across the Danube in all of Hungary.
It symbolises national Hungarian awakening and the link between the east and west.
Castle Hill Funicular
Crossing the chain bridge we arrived at Budvari Siklo. This is the funicular that would take us up to Budapest Castle in 76.34 seconds. Although the speed was offset by the 15 minutes we had to queue for.
The journey up was quite fun, if a little cramped. We noticed that the two trams were called Gellért and Margit, two areas of the city.
Changing of the guards at Sándor Palace
Exiting the funicular, we arrived outside the Presidential Palace just in time for the changing of the guards ceremony.
This involved a number of guardsmen marching to the beat of a military drum. The ceremony attracted quite a large crowd to witness it. The guards did have to ask the spectators to move back a few steps at one point.
It was quite impressive to watch and went on for nearly five minutes.
After an ice cold beer, we made our way over to the Royal Palace of Budapest. Judging by the hoards of people up here, it has to be the most visited attraction in the city.
The Royal Palace is over 700 years old, but it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times during its long history.
All the entry points to the castle are impressive, but we thought the most impressive was the Habsburg Steps. There is a bronze statue here of a mythical bird called Turol, a famous avian in Hungarian legend!
The Hungarian National Gallery and Castle Museum are based in the palace too, but we decided against visiting on this occasion. There were amazing views of the city from the front of the palace as well.
It looked like officials were setting up for the premiere of Will Smith’s new film ‘Gemini Man’, which was filmed in the city.
Lunch at Arany Hordó
For our lunch we left the palace grounds and made our way to a restaurant called Arany Hordó.
I went for a election of Hungarian cheeses while Hayley decided on goulash. The cheese was amazing.
It prepared us suitably for our next challenge…
Labirintus, Dracula’s Chamber
The wife was a bit nervous about our next destination, Labirintus or Dracula’s Chamber.
This is a series of labyrinth style tunnels underneath the castle district of Budapest. Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned in these tunnels for 10 years in the 15th century.
We had to make our way through 1.2 kilometres of wet, misty and dark tunnels with eerie classical music playing in the background. One of the tunnels was in complete darkness and we had to use the torch on our mobile phone to get through.
It was quite humorous at times to see my wife jump out of her skin when we bumped into other visitors. The display of heads on sticks in Dracula’s cell made her scream too!
Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos in the tunnels, not that you could anyway as it’s way too dark. But it would have been good to capture her horror on camera!
Once the wife had calmed down after her ordeal in the labyrinth, we made the short walk over to Matthias Church. This impressive church is directly behind Fisherman’s Bastion, which we would be visiting next.
The church was built in the 11th century and restored in Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century. The roof of the church reminded me of Stephansdom in Vienna.
Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest
Leaving the church behind we made our way down to Fisherman’s Bastion. This is another extremely popular monument of Budapest that attracts the masses.
The Fishermen’s Bastion’s is nearly 140 meters long and has seven stone towers that represent the seven chieftains who founded Hungary in the 9th century.
It was definitely worth the £3 entry fee as we were amazed by the superb views of Budapest from the lookout terrace.
I couldn’t believe the stupidity of some people on the terrace though, some were standing on the narrow ledge with a 50ft drop behind them.
Evening meal at Puder Barzinhaz
For our being meal we returned to Puder Barzinhaz restaurant near our hotel. I opted for the pasta linguini with coconut milk and curried vegetables. It was delicious, although I forgot to take a photo so the meal pictured above is the salmon and potatoes Hayley consumed.
Its our last day in Budapest tomorrow before we fly home. We have a few more things lined up to see too. Let’s just hope that we have enough time.