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17 Oct – Budapest

Hungary caught between east and west, where the Danube dominates the geography, dividing the Carpathian Basin into the Nagyalföld (great plain) in the east and the Dunántúl (Transdanubia) in the west.

Originally three cities Budapest straddles a gentle curve in the Danube (Duna) river, with hilly house-filled Buda to the west, suburban Óbuda to the northwest and flat, commercial Pest across the river to the east.

After checking into the hostel, we headed to the far end of the city to City Park one of Budapest’s largest parks and Vajdahunyad castle. From the castle we headed for Heroes Square. It was constructed to celebrate the millennium of the entry of the Hungarian people into the Carpathian basin, it is a monumental expression of patriotism. The archangel Gabriel sits atop the 36m high column, and around the column are the seven Hungarian tribal chieftains, and Árpád who led the nomadic Magyarok into the Carpathian basin.

From here we wandered down Andrássy Utca the design of which was inspired by the major city reorganisation works in Paris at the end of the 19th Century and on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2002 lined with ornate 19th century mansions now offices and embassies.

We continued down into the city past the spectacular opera house, winding our way down to the very impressive Parliament building stopping for some very tasty and very cheap Chinese.

Parliament was built between 1884 and 1902 in a neo-gothic style, with central dome and medieval style buttresses, spires and archways.

From parliament we walked to the Széchenyi chain bridge, the first permanent bridge to cross the Danube. We wandered home via St. Stephen’s Basilica the largely dome church in Budapest, it covers 4,000sqm and has a 96m dome and named after Hungary’s first king, saint and founder of state, István.

We had dinner at a nice if not a little slow service wise Indian restaurant and then home to hand-wash those undies, mmm just wonderful !

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