Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Day 13 - 30th August 2011 - The magic of Budapest, Hungary

During the coach trip back to Poland, where we would catch our return flight to the UK, we stopped off in Budapest for a few hours. At first we were given a guided tour by coach through the city, then we were given a bit of free time to get something to eat and explore by ourselves - unfortunately, only an hour since the older people of our group were tired and did not feel like hanging around for very long. Despite this Budapest is truly a majestic city - the buildings are incredible and there is certainly a lot to see and explore.

We saw a magnificent cathedral which is almost too big to fit into a picture, as well as the oldest bridge in Budapest. We crossed over this to Pest on the other side of the river (since Budapest was originally two cities - Buda and Pest), where we climbed up a hill to get a magnificent panorama of the city in a castle-like area with lots of steps and statues. This area also seemed to have lots to see and would definitely be a place to come back to, demonstrating the grandeur of Budapest from the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire. At the top there was a statue of Budapests first king and the photo opportunities are endless, with battlements and adornments all over the place.

In addition to the magnificent architecture, Budapest is also a transport enthusiasts paradise, with retro trams, a railway station, trolleybuses all vying for the keen photographers attention. The trams go across the river on the wide boulevards that form the bridges and there appears to be many scenic routes that it is possible to take with more time in the city. I have marked Budapest as a definite place to return to and spend more time, as it would be quite easy to spend a few days here before moving on to see other parts of Hungary, which no doubt also have much to offer in terms of history and culture.

This brings to an end the two week adventure I have had, and marks the fairly significant achievement of having seen exactly half of the major countries of Europe - 20 down, 20 left to see! Despite the tiring nature of the coach trip, my enthusiasm for travel has not been dampened at all and has only increased my desire to see more and more unusual countries in far-off places.

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