Happy New Year! I have just got back from my little break in beautiful Budapest. It was a lovely escape from reality and that odd limbo-like phase that occurs between Christmas Day and New Years.
The Hungarian capital is much larger than I had anticipated; separated by the Danube River, it is technically made up by two cities, Buda and Pest, which became one city in 1873. We were staying in a gorgeous apartment on the Pest side of the city, within the Jewish Quarter. On our first day we wandered past the stalls of the Christmas market outside St. Stephen's Basilica, sipping hot apple cider. We then took some photos outside the Parliament building, which is third largest in the world!
Clearly a city separated by a huge river deserves some impressive bridges, and Budapest has plenty of them. It's most famous is the Szechenyi Chain Bridge (which you can see beyond me in the picture below) but the Freedom Bridge and the Margret Bridge are also interesting pieces of architecture. Outside the Parliament Building, a memorial made from iron shoes can be found at the edge of the river. This is to honour the Jews who were murdered by fascist military men during the Second World War.
Later on we crossed over the Margret Bridge to see the Fisherman's Bastion on the Buda bank, which is a terrace styled in neo-Gothic architecture. This was one of my favourite parts of the city as the building looked like moorish gingerbread houses. The area gets its name from the fishermen who defended the walls of the city during the middle ages, using this terrace as a viewpoint.
My favourite day of the trip involved a trip to the Gellert Spas. Budapest is famous for its natural thermal springs, which has led to the construction of many relaxing baths such as the Szechenyi, Rudas and Kiraly Baths. The Gellert Baths is one of the most recently build spas, as it was built over what had once been Turkish baths. The coolest experience of the spa was soaking in the outdoor thermal bath and being able to see some of the city sights, whilst enjoying the hot water.
Budapest is definitely a fascinating city to visit and it is ranked the 25th most popular city in the world, so it can be said it is a hot destination right now. The price of food and drink is extremely reasonable too, so if you are looking for a break on a budget, the Hungarian capital could be perfect for you!
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