Friday, January 4, 2013


Several friends of mine had visited Budapest over the past couple of years.  When I mentioned we were going there, they were thrilled to talk about how much they loved the city.  I agreed almost as soon as we arrived from Romania. 

The view from the citadel was worth the uphill climb.
The streets are old and lined with beautiful buildings.  There are mulled wine and cocoa sellers outside restaurants, offering mugs for you to carry through the cold nights.  If that wasn't enough, how could I not love a city with such stunning train stations?

Budpest-Keleti Station
Budapest-Nyugati Station exterior
Even the McDonalds looks gorgeous!
Budpest-Nyugati Station interior
We spent most of our first day recovering from our night train from Sighisoara.  The manager at our hostel had kindly had our beds ready at eleven in the morning so we could crash right away.  We wandered around town in the evening, dining on Turkish food and poking into souvenir shops.  

Eric figures out which bridge we just crossed.
The next day, we wandered across the river and down the riverfront.  We found our way up to the citadel overlooking the city.  Everything seemed imbued with old-world grandeur, even the yellow tram cars. 

Turrets built into the mountain on the river
A monument part-way up to the citadel
The "Detroit 313" graffiti made me both homesick and annoyed at my fellow Americans.
Looking out towards the Chain Bridge and Parliament
The Chain Bridge, which first connected Buda and Pest

After sunset, we found a Christmas market with stalls selling everything from leather goods to marzipan candies.  Since it was still early November, this was our first hint of Christmas.  As it turned out, it was the only active Christmas market we got to see before we went back to the US.  We saw several being set up in Vienna and Berlin, but none had opened yet. 

Lights are one of my favorite parts of the season.
Not pictured: the marzipan candies we ate within ten steps of the shop.
Some of my favorite memories are of places and things that I forgot to photograph.  There was the huge covered marketplace with delicious food stands and cute souvenirs.  We got a bag of cookies there that sustained us as we walked up the hill to the citadel.  We saw little hidden-key boxes everywhere that reminded me of one my aunt gave my brother (which I spent my childhood trying to open — sorry Tim).  I found Linzer Tarts, one my favorite cookies that my mom makes for Christmas every year.

It couldn't top my mom's.
We spent some time in bars and cafés planning our surprise return to the United States.  Too quickly, our last full day was gone and we were preparing to board a train to Vienna.

Berry bread - it wouldn't be a blog post without extra food photos, right?
One of the many beautiful streets in the city
Keleti Station from the train window - so grand
Does anyone else fall for a city based on its train stations?

1 comment:

  1. Paris's train stations were very nice, but also very cold - even though it was inside, it was open to the outside. This was April but it was rainy and cold most of my time there.