The capital city of Hungary, Budapest, got its name when three cities which had grown together were united: Buda, west of the Danube River; Obuda, Buda’s oldest neighborhood to the north; and Pest, on the eastern side of the river.
On May 19th we explored the Buda side of Budapest. We purchased 24 hr transportation tickets, which allowed us unlimited rides on the metro, trams, and buses for 24hrs. So we figured we’d use public transportation as much as possible, and give our legs a break. Plus, it was cold outside, so it was nice to break up the cold air with the warmth of the metro stations. First we took the metro from our hotel, Centrooms, which was located right at the Blaha Lujza ter Metro station to the Keleti Pu Metro station, so we could buy our on-ward train tickets at the Keleti Train Station. After that errand was taken care of we hopped back on the metro and headed across the Danube River to the Batthyany ter Metro station, where we surfaced for just long enough to look back across the river and take some photos of the gorgeous parliament building. It is one of the nicest parliament buildings we’ve seen!
Then back to the metro and one more stop to Moszkva ter Metro station. From there we walked up to Castle Hill (but we also could have taken bus 16A and gotten off after Vienna Gate).
First we came across the neo-Gothic Matthias Church, which was partially under renovation.
Next we visited the Fishermen’s Bastion, which was the highlight of castle hill. You could walk along most of it for free and take photos of the view, but one section required an entrance ticket, so we skipped that portion.
Next we went into the Labyrinth under Castle Hill, which I do NOT recommend. I had read that there are natural cave systems under Budapest, and wanted to see one. We didn’t have time to go on a separate tour to a cave, so when I read there was a cave under castle hill, I thought that would be convenient. It turns out the cave on castle hill, which was probably closed for renovation at the time, and the labyrinth are two separate things. The Labyrinth was definitely not worth the admission fee (about USD $10/person)! It wasn’t in a natural state at all, with the walls covered in brick, and the exhibits were beyond cheesy! If you want to see underground caves, go to a real cave, not the labyrinth!
It took about half an hour to walk through the Labyrinth and then we were back to exploring Castle Hill and enjoying the view of the river.
We walked around the Royal Palace, but chose not to go in the gallery or museum.
Then we walked down the hill to the main road paralleling the river (since the funicular ride down the hill was way overpriced!) and caught a tram to take us to the Liberty Bridge, which we walked across to the Central Market Hall.
We were hoping to grab some lunch upstairs at the Central Market Hall, but most of the area where the restaurants were located was closed for renovations. I got a quick snack of fried bread with sour cream and cheese, a local specialty, but g decided to wait for dinner.
The fried bread was good, although greasy, but it’s probably not something I’d eat twice. 😉
Our visit to the Central Market Hall wrapped up the day, and for the next day we had the Pest side of Budapest to explore!