Where does one start writing about a City like Budapest? Although I have heard it referred to as the Paris on the Danube, there is, of course, only one Paris. That is not to short change Budapest; it is a world class city.
Due to my lack of organization I had not researched Budapest much (any) before I went, and I was half expecting a dreary, gray, post-communist looking city. I could not have been more wrong. Budapest is something to behold. There are the old communist apartment blocks but they are pretty much relegated to the areas out of sight of the downtown. Most of the architecture dates from the late 19th century or earlier, with many of the churches and government buildings being significantly older. Although many of the historic buildings were seriously damaged in the Second World War they have been well restored. That is not to say the communist era did not take its toll. A number of the older private office and apartment buildings have not been well maintained and have 60 years of wear and tear to overcome. But it appears that the citizens of Budapest have made great strides in either restoring or keeping them looking good.
I was able to go to Budapest as the result of a work related trip and got my flight, meals and lodging at the, 5-star, Intercontinental Hotel, on the Governments tab for four of the days I was there. Of course I had to attend and present at a conference those days. The conference was informative and interesting but kept my exploration of the city to a minimum until the Thursday afternoon. Though the Conference ended on Thursday evening I opted to stay and explore until late Sunday. There is a flight from Budapest to Pristina daily (I think) which leaves Budapest at 2350 and arrives in Pristina about 0110. This gave me three full days to get to know the city.
(to be continued…)
- Bathed in history in Budapest (seattletimes.nwsource.com)