05.07.2017 - 11.07.2017
Our motorhome app lead us a bit astray by recommending a site that turned out to be a long way out of the city, next to a railway track and under a flight path; we only stayed a night and moved to within 3km of the city centre to a friendly site with a 3:4:4 going on.
After our first foray into the city on foot on the Friday afternoon we decided to stay longer here as there is no way a couple of days here would be enough. Where Vienna is majestic and shiny, Budapest is grand and lived in and just as wonderful a city. The castle sits looking over from Buda to Pest and the views are great from the look out points but the castle is no longer the fortified edifice of the Austro-Hungarian empire, this Hungarian city played second fiddle to Vienna.
We rode our bikes along the side of the Danube to look at the buildings on both sides, the parliament was the most intricate icing job along the river. But there are hospitals and hotels and basilica which are all worth viewing, the modern buildings have been added sympathetically, lots of glass and glamour from the art nouveau style, cafes and bars still open since the 20's.
We took a guided tour of the Opera and learnt that it was built with money from the Hapsburgs and local contributions, the only condition from Vienna was that is should be smaller than theirs. Allegedly the King and Queen arrived for the opening night and he stormed off before the end of the performance because he also didn't want a more beautiful opera house than his in Vienna. This was the only time the Royal box was used, the Queen came on her own and sat in a different box, we think this is the famous Sisi that we found out about in Vienna. The tour ended with a singer doing a bit from three operas, bit of a laugh and not too serious.
On our last full day, Jacqui got her hair cut in the morning and then we walked to the market after lunch, bit of a schoolboy error there as the food section looked great. The building was different from the tiled Mediterranean markets we like so much but still a great place. We had walked there through a neighbourhood which held part of the university and looked to have as many bars and restaurants as the city centre but better value.
We think Budapest should be on everyone's list, weekends do get full of stag and hen parties but the weekdays are still buzzing and lots going on. Fantastic city.