Tag Archives: Anniversary

Danube River Trip, Margaret Island and (Budapest info and Tips)

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Our last day in Budapest, the weather was warm we had clear blue skies, perfect day for our river boat trip on the Danube, so after a nice breakfast off we set. We walked a different direction today and headed along the main shopping street in the city to the Szabadság híd or Liberty Bridge, as it’s along the river edge here you will find most of the tour boats for trips along the Danube. There are various companies to choose from ranging from 1900 HUF about £5.50 to 3000 HUF £8.50 but all appear to do the same route. Now we chose the cheaper boat not because of the price but the fact at set times of the day it you could stop off at Margaret island have a look around and board a later boat, which is what we did. Now Margaret Island is basically a large park and although its called an Island you can get on and off by road but it’s much nicer to arrive by boat. so we duly alighted and walked from one end to the other and back again a long but pleasant stroll indeed. You can hire cycles conventual types, tandems, even a four person affair to get you around, there are various food and ice cream stalls to keep you refreshed, there is even a large Lido for anyone who wants a swim but this was closed when we walked by, I presume it’s only open in the summer months. Well it was time to head back to the jetty to catch our boat for the return trip, passing the magnificent Parliament building, Royal Palace and passing under the chain bridge one last time. It was then back to the apartment pick up our cases and wait for our taxi for the journey to the airport.

Finally here are some various websites and general tips I have found to help anyone planning a trip to the wonderful city of Budapest, firstly a list of must do’s and see’s

Top Sights

There is much more to see and do, I recommend getting a good guide-book, I always use Lonely Planet guides. You could also have a look at another website I found with some useful info on the city Top Budapest Attractions

Accommodation

We always seem to use Booking.com as we have always had excellent service from them and this is where we found Trendy Apartments highly recommended

Getting Around

Now we walked everywhere to all the main sights which is very easy indeed, and I am less abled than most so it would be a breeze for someone who is fit and healthy. The only time we used the transport system is when we visited Hero’s square which is at the end of Andrassey Ave as it’s quite a long walk. The transport system is very easy to use and cheap, here is another useful website that I have found Budapest Travel

Finally I have posted a few photo’s on my blog but the bulk of the photo’s I took and which are in much higher quality are on my Flickr page so please have a look and leave some comments as I would appreciate it.

Well that’s it for this trip but please keep following as I am sure there will be many more, our next big trip is Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in march of next year, but I’m sure we will fit the odd one or two night trip in before then

So signing off for now stay safe, keep well, and keep following, and any questions please do not hestiate to contact me.

Erzsébetváros the Jewish Quarter

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Today was going to be a pretty chilled day after the busy previous two days, so we decided to follow a walk around the Jewish quarter, so after some breakfast off we set on our walk. We decided to do the walk in reverse as the end point was near where we staying, so the first stop on our walk was the magnificent  Jewish Synagogue which incidentally is the largest in europe. When we approached I could not help thinking that in some ways the building resembled a mosque, it was not until went on the guided tour that it was in fact built between 1854 and 1859 in the Moorish revival and was based on Islamic models in North Africa so initial thought was in fact right. Once inside we were greeted by a magnificently decorated building absolutely breathtaking. As we went in, me being the male in our party was handed a skull-cap which all men had to wear, now anyone that knows me knows I have quite spiky hair so the skull-cap did not sit well upon my head to the great amusement of my wife and our friend Jackie. After the tour of the inside it was outside to the memorial garden and the Jewish cemetery, now the cemetery is not a large affair as one would expect but a relatively small courtyard where the two thousand of those who died in the ghetto from hunger and cold during the winter 1944-1945 are buried in a mass grave, a very sobering experience but in my opinion one we need to be reminded of as the atrocities that went on during the war years should never be forgotten and hope that it never happens again.

After our visit we continued to follow the guided walk from our lonely planet guide-book, which took us through the once war-time ghettos, obviously they are not ghettos now but you can see from the obviously densely populated tenement building what it must have been like.

After our tour of the synagogue and our walk it was time for some refueling and one street I would recommend for this is Liszt Fernec Square well it is not quite a square but a long street with gardens down the middle, but with lots of bars and restaurants to choose from, in fact we came here a couple of times during our stay and I would throughly recommend it. Top tip try the chicken or catfish paprikash with gnocchi absolutely delicious. Tomorrow Margaret island and our Danube river trip

Parliament, Andrassy Ave

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Another busy day lies ahead, it was up and atom as we had an appointment at the Parliament building at 10am. Now this seem all very grand but I was reading someone’s else’s travel blog on Tripadvisor who recommended taking the time to visit, he also suggested emailing them in advance to book to avoid the queues which I duly did. I received a very nice reply on officially headed paper with our appointment date and time so we were all set. Now in the blog that I read the guy stated that by having the official letter you avoid the queues this is true in a sense, let me try to explain. If you arrive via the metro you need to walk around to the front of the building, you will then see possibly a long queue this is for people without tickets and even though you have your official letter you still need a ticket, but don’t panic at the size of the queue just walk to the front of the queue show the official your letter and he will direct you straight to the ticket office thus avoiding the queue. There is an admission charge for anyone who lives outside the EU but for EU citizens its free. Tip don’t forget to take some sort of id i.e. driving licence, passport id card etc to prove you are from the EU. After you pass through the security checks you will be confronted by the grand staircase in a word spectacular

20120921-091040.jpg you will then take the tour which lasts approx 45 minutes well worth taking the time to do during your stay.
Next it was a spot of brunch, we followed the advice in our lonely planet guide and went into a little cafe/restaurant called Pick which is right next to the metro exit. It’s a Deli downstairs with the restaurant above, they serve some amazing traditional Hungarian dishes at a very cheap price.
Next stop Hero’s Square which is at the end of Andrassy Ave (which incidentally is a unesco heritage site) a beautiful tree lined ave with magnificent buildings either side. As hero’s square is at the opposite end of where we were we decided to take the metro. Whilst on the subject of the metro it is very easy to navigate and cheap to use. We purchased a group ticket which lasts for 24 hours (their are other options available i.e. daily 48 & 72 hour options) which entitles you to ride the Metro, Trams, Trolly buses & HEV (Overland rail as far as city limits) for our ticket it was a very reasonable price of 3100 huf about £9 for three people. We arrived at Hero’s Square or Hösök tere a magnificent monument to Hero’s past. Now Hero’s square is right on the edge of the city park, I likened it to a mini Hyde park (London) or central park (New York) with a many attractions to see including a zoo and home to the Szechenyi baths one of the many thermal baths dotted around Budapest we only went into the entrance as we did not have enough time to take a dip.
After about an hour in the park it was back onto the Metro for our next port of call the House of Terror the former HQ of the dreaded AVH secret police, the house contains many sobering artefacts and photographs from the decades of fascist’s regime. The museum is very well laid out and well put together a must see if only to remind us of the dreadful atrocities of the past and to live in the hope it will never happen again so relatively near to home. Top tip if you visit the museum make sure you pay for the English audio guide, we did not know this was available until we were just about to exit as we were not informed at the ticket desk, I say this as there are very few videos or exhibits in English so at times it was difficult to understand some of the exhibits.
Then to finish of a great day in the eve we again took to the metro to the Buda side of the river and got out at Batthyany metro station where you will find some stunning views of the parliament building and the chain bridge lit up a must see in my book

20120922-090725.jpg I will be placing a lot more pictures taken with my professional camera on my Flickr page, more details later

St Stephens Basilica & Castle Hill

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Sun is shining its nice and warm perfect conditions for our trip to first St Stephens Basilica then onto Castle Hill.
First stop was St Stephens Basilica a magnificent building from the outside and absolutely stunning inside. Top tip make sure you go to the top of the dome and experience the stunning views of the city from the top, you can either take the stairs all 300 of them or take the lift for a less energetic journey you won’t be disappointed.
Next stop was the Castle Hill district. If you walk from the basilica along Zrinyi ave which is straight in front of you as you leave and down to the Danube then cross over the magnificent chain bridge (another tip as you walk away from the basilica don’t forget to look back for a great view of St Stephens). When you reach the other side of the bridge you can either walk up the long and winding steps or take the funicular up to the top of the hill which is the option we decided to take. Once at the top you are at the Buda castle or Royal Palace we then followed a walk which was mapped out in the lonely planet guide book, which took in Matthias church Fisherman’s Bastion and many other amazing sites a really must see if you are in Budapest you won’t be disappointed. I must also make a special mention to the lovely lady in the Walzer Cafe who really made us welcome, she owns and runs a great little coffee shop which serves some amazing cakes and all kinds of coffee from around the world. I had a hot chilli chocolate which was a first for me but tasted superb, a must try.

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Budapest, Finding our way around

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Arrived safe and well apart from Stanstead airports security why can’t security be consistent throughout the UK and not have different policies? Well that’s my moan out the way.
We arrived at Budapest T2 after a short 2 hour flight. were duly picked up at the airport by our driver a service which I found reading one of the many travel blogs I read about the area and one which I can highly recommend I will post all our travel tips and the websites we found them on in a later post.
We checked in at Trendy Apartments and was shown to our apartment, which was just as the pictures and the reviews described, really very nice indeed. It was then off to explore the local area, so with the aid of our Lonely Planet guide off we set. The apartment is located in a great position on the pest side of the Danube (Budapest is divided by the Danube Buda one side and Pest the other) just a short walk from most of the main sights, first thing you notice about Budapest, is of course the stunning architecture but it’s the the slow pace that everything moves for a major city, their are no cars blaring on there horns, and people rushing around like mad, it was just a slow serene way of going about daily life it was really quite refreshing.
We had some lunch in a street cafe in a beautiful square in the heart of the shopping district then it was off to explore some more, we followed our guide map and headed off to the river Danube

20120919-085346.jpg we had a short walk along the river promenade to get a taste of what the week had in store. We could see the Royal Palace & Castle Hill district on the Buda side can’t wait to visit here tomorrow. It was then back to the apartment a quick freshen up and out for the evening.
We strolled along avenue Andrassy a beautiful tree avenue with an abundance of upmarket shops, we were heading to the Hungarian State Opera House an absolutely stunning piece of architecture. We then stumbled along Nagymezo street which was in the heart of the theatre district with some great restaurants and equally some beautiful theatres. We had a really nice meal I had Catfish Paprikash with home made gnocchi, now I love fish but never had catfish, it was divine, highly recommended.
Oh well fingers getting tired typing on my phone more tomorrow from Castle Hill. Bye for now keep well stay safe and keep following

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