Budapest is the best
Trip Start May 22, 2005
39Trip End Aug 09, 2005
We spent today travelling from Prague to Vienna, Austria. We stopped mid-day at the town of Cesky Krumlov, which is near the Czech-Austrian border. It seemed like a lovely town, but we weren't there very long. Upon reaching Vienna we checked in to our hostel and had a few bevies on the house. We grabbed some pizza for dinner and had a little walk around our neighbourhood. We will be seeing more of Vienna after we return from Budapest.
Up again early this morning to catch the bus to Budapest. The ride takes only about 4 or 4 1/2 hours and so we got in by about noon. We were not staying at the Busabout hostel, which was on the Pest side of the Danube River, so we had a bit of a hike to our Buda-side accommodations. This place was great
Our brief tour of Budapest began with a trip up to the Castle District, which was right behind our accommodations and about half a kilometer up a hill. The area was beautiful, but very different from Prague's Castle Hill. The architecture was more modern and the whole area felt more like a little town, than a castle area. Also, it was less accommodating to tourists, but also less busy than Prague. Underneath the hill are natural caves that have been used by people throughout Budapest's history for storage, escape from enemies, and recently as a base for some 20,000 Nazi's -- during that damn WWII. After enjoying some terrific views of the city (and taking some terrific pictures, of course), we headed down the hill and into the midst of the Danube River Festival, which was a street party with performers of all kinds and kiosks on the Chain Bridge. We made our way by tram to Statue Park, which houses many former Soviet-era Communist statues and memorials. Though interesting, many of the works were creepy so we high-tailed it out of there and back to the centre of town. The Pest side of the river holds St. Stephen's church, which houses the supposed mummified hand of the Saint himself. We also saw the Hungarian State Opera House -- as usual, stunning architecture. After another good eight hour day of walking, we made our way back across the Chain Bridge and home to our little apartment to relax and enjoy the fireworks from the festival. Tomorrow it's back to Vienna.