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Budapest, Viszlat

August 31, 2011


This was our last full day in Budapest, and tomorrow morning we travel to Salzburg. We’ll miss our little apartment, the balcony of which is shown above, and we’ll miss the city more. If travel is to expose the traveler to foreign places, then this is the most foreign and intriguing place of all, so far.

A few more pix of the apartment:

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The bedroom and kitchen…

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…and the hallway connecting the kitchen to the living room, and the living room itself.

Wednesday, August 31

The corridors of the Metro underground at Nyugati station are full of vendors selling just about everything, and make me think of some imaginary far eastern bazaar.

I wanted to look up the Franz List Academy, which is to Hungary what Juilliard is to the US. Here it is adjoining the park of the same name. We found that it has been closed for repairs since August of last year, and the actual teaching has been moved to another part of the city.

Franz himself, in his park.

We’re heading west on Andrassy street, to take the Chain Bridge over to Buda, to see the Castle and Mathias Church. Everything we’ve done so far has been in Pest, and we didn’t want to leave Budapest without seeing the other side of the Duna.

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It’s called the Chain Bridge because it’s suspended on two sets of chains, which are constructed like bike chains, with the individual links connected by pins. On the right, where one chain joins the roadway.

The Castle, or the Royal Palace, has been home to Hungarian royalty for about seven centuries, and been rebuilt several times. It now serves as an art museum. On the right is the funicular railway which carries passengers to the top of the hill from street level.

Looking north from the Castle. Margit Island splits the Duna, and Parliament is on the right.

On the back side of the Castle, a view of Buda and Obuda (Old Buda). Perhaps it’s not fair to judge on the basis of such little experience, but we found Pest to be far more interesting than Buda, which seems intent on looking more like a western city.

Mathias Church. Note the intricately patterned tile roof.

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We hurried back to Pest for a brief tour of the Budapest Opera. Since 2011 is the centenary of Mahler’s death, much is being made of his relationship with the Opera, although he was under constant attack from nationalists at the time for trying to Germanize the repertoire.

Our last item was a visit to the Nagycsarnok, or Great Market. The building appears to have originally been a railroad station, and is now home to restaurants and stalls selling all manner of foodstuffs and folk art.

We’ll shop, but first a beer to cool down from all our hurrying.

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Produce and spice stalls. We picked up some fruit for the train trip tomorrow.

Peggy scores some hand-embroidered linen.

The market from the outside.

After supper we took a constitutional walk down the main street near the hostel, and we found that one of the large wings of Nyugati station, itself a shabby mess, has been taken over by Mickey D, and a nice job he has done. If there is a more opulent McDonald’s anywhere, I’d like to see it.


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