For the second day of our Hungarian trip, and the first full day of sightseeing, we found ourselves surrounded by armed guards, police and other emergency services. No we didn’t end up in any trouble, our first full day in Budapest happened to be on a Hungarian national holiday, specifically National Day, a celebration of the (at the time failed but ultimately successful in the long run) 1848 revolution against Austrian rule. Our hotel, being on a main thoroughfare of the city, was surrounded by revellers, police and podiums with political figures giving speeches and rallies. It was a great spectacle of a nation coming out on to the streets to celebrate their heritage, history and pride. What it also meant is that every museum and public attraction was free for the whole day, a major result.
We headed off towards the Citadella, a fortification on the top of a hill on the Buda side of the city, a steep hill that seemed never ending. It was well worth the climb as the views down over the Danube and the city as a while were fantastic. The day was an odd mixture of weather, at one point freezing cold, hence the outfit Jo is wearing in most of the images below, but then boiling hot once the sun peeked out from behind a cloud. The changes in temperature made the climb to the top of the hill more strenuous than it needed to be. Unfortunately from the below images you can probably see a wonderful problem with my camera I’ve since discovered, the pretty ruined light seals (annoyed I didn’t notice before we went, but now sorted due to some DIY camera handiwork).
After the climb up the Citadella we headed down the other side of the hill and decided foolishly to climb up another one, this time to Buda Castle. Again the views were impressive as was the buildings themselves. We checked out an archaeological museum in the castle, lets just say that if it hadn’t of been free that day we’d have probably asked for our money back as it was minimal and had very few exhibits. One of the first strange experiences of the day happened to us at this point, some teenagers asked Jo if she could take their photo, which of course she was happy to. What she wasn’t prepared for was the teenagers to then start going at each others faces as if they were trying to eat each other while asking her to take the photos. Hormones ey?
After we descended back down to the river from the castle we stumbled across a group of people dressed up in historical military uniforms tending to horses dressed in a similar fashion. I really loved this. I’m a big fan of history and seeing people just stood around dressed up and letting kids sit on their horses was brilliant. It’s just not something I’d expect to see when walking down the street. Afterwards we headed back across the river to Pest, crossing the Chain Bridge, one of the most famous and oldest bridges in Budapest, also only the second ever to be built across the Danube.
For dinner we ended up in a pizza place, a very Dutch and Darts themed pizza place that had an awful lot of memorabilia of Raymond Von Barnveld and ADO Den Haag. Weird, but the food was fine and reasonably priced. By the time we were done it was quite dark and we did our by now, and soon to become, usual wander back to the hotel that involved getting slightly lost, and then turning up exactly where we needed to be by pure chance. On the way back we thought we’d pick up a few supplies for the hotel room, beer being essential, as was water, and probably the most essential of all…a chocolate bar with a funny name. I’m sure Balaton Bumm is perfectly normal in a lot of places, but to my childish mind I thought it was the funniest thing I’d seen all day.
After we tried out the hotel’s pool facilities, and I shared a sauna with a very sweaty Russian man, who liked his sauna’s damn hot, we headed to bed with sore feet after a full day of exploration ready for more the next day.
Now on to the images, all are taken on Lomo 400 with my Olympus OM-1.
See that statue on the top of the hill in the distance there? Yeah we climbed up to that. Pretty far away, pretty steep, pretty high up.
Crossing the bridge from Pest to Buda, Gellert hill in the background with the Freedom Statue perched on top. Still pretty far away.
It’s a damn shame most of these images didn’t come out as well as hoped, the perils and pleasures of using film I guess. These were all taken next to a church that is cut out of the rock of the hill itself, the hill is named Gellert hill after a Bishop who was thrown from the top in a barrel full of snakes by pagans who didn’t fancy converting to Christianity.
Again how annoying these didn’t come out very well, these statues at the Freedom Memorial were really cool. Huge and imposing, one holds a torch and is supposed to represent mankind’s progress and the other is of mankind defeating a monstrous depiction of evil itself. The largest statue in the middle is 14 metres tall and represents Liberty holding a palm leaf of peace.
Actually this one of Progress bursting from the dark area of the photograph is quite cool, if not what I’d actually tried to create when I took the image.
And there’s the view, how beautiful is that? You can see from the fog that at this point the day was pretty cold, and you can see from Jo’s clothing in the photo below.
The castle in the distance, damn those faulty light seals.
Views from the walls of Buda Castle, or at least one of the tiers of walls of the castle. It’s quite the climb to the top, we didn’t wimp out and take the funicular railway (well not this day anyway).
That’s the Chain Bridge crossing the river, behind in the distance on the far bank is the Hungarian Parliament building.
Honestly she was very happy to be up here, we were pretty tired from the climb at this point though.
This might just give a scale of how steep the climb up to the castle is, sheer wall faces with pathways below and above.
These guys looked awesome, the uniforms were fantastic and the rope was more to keep the horses where they were, it had nothing to do with health and safety as you could just walk straight up and no one batted an eyelid.
They were more than happy to let some kids have a ride on their mighty steeds.
After a while some of the group mounted their horses and took off on a parade down the street.
See what I mean about not worrying about tourists or regular folk getting near the animals?
There’s the funicular railway, we didn’t take it this day, we did another day when were couldn’t face the climb back up.
Buda Castle from the Chain Bridge.
I love industrial 19th century architecture such as this, maybe because it makes me think of Batman and how Gotham City looks?
All the Raymond Von Barnveld memorabilia you could ever want to see.
And there it is, the fabled chocolate bar. It looked like a Lion bar, it tasted like a Lion bar, it was made by Nestle and in the shop next to the Lion bar’s. Other than having a funny name I don’t know why it exists, but I love it.