One of the most recognizable buildings on the Pest side – Hungarian Parliament
Our last day in Budapest arrived and brought with it freeeeeezing cold weather. However, we were determined not to let it affect our plans for the day – a walk around the Pest side of the river. Pest, being the communist stronghold of old, is dominated by ugly communist style block buildings. (When 74% of the city needed rebuilding after WWII, apparently they decided to build as cheap and ugly as possible). However, there are quite a few old buildings interspersed among the “new” buildings. Also, with the elimination of the communists came commercialism at its finest with a large outdoor shopping area filled with designer clothing, antiques, and delicious fast food.
I refused to go in because I don’t know how to order food in Hungarian so I sent Kevin in (even though he doesn’t know any more than I do). No double cheeseburgers in Hungary (What a TRAVESTY!) so I had to make do with a single cheeseburger.
We decided to brave the cold and avoid the mafia run taxis by walking from Buda to Pest via the Chain Bridge. It’s billed as the oldest bridge in Budapest across the Danube, built in 1849 . I’m not sure how they got across before then – maybe they forded the river with their carts and ponies like in Oregon Trail. Since I love photographing old architecture and lions, this bridge was perfect for me.
We had no set plans for Pest other than a stroll and some lunch so we wandered around the streets for awhile, admiring the old buildings that dotted the streets. I took pictures until I couldn’t feel my face or my hands anymore (which didn’t take very long). Along the way, we wandered across a disused Metro station with a fantastic ceiling. It also had some creepy naked statues sticking out the windows above it. Hungarians are weird.
In our wandering, we came across St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Opera House but chose to keep walking rather than go in. Partly because we didn’t want to pay to go in, but mostly because eating lunch was more important.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Since we were traveling with 4 people who had missed a flight back from Paris recently, Kevin and I didn’t trust them and thus we decided to leave extra time for lunch. However, this proved to be an issue as we couldn’t find a place to eat that was open or had customers in it (generally I find no customers = bad food). We made the executive decision, much to our friend Debs dismay, to eat at Burger King. Normally, I would turn my nose up at BK when there was a perfectly good McDonalds right down the street. However, I had just eaten a cheeseburger for breakfast, so I felt like BK should get some of our business as well. After a deliciously greasy Jalapeno Burger (why don’t they have those in the states???), we headed back to the hotel to get our cab to the airport. It gave me the opportunity to photograph the city’s ridiculous public transportation. Apparently, they haven’t upgraded since Communist Days, which may be why there is so much traffic.