Browsing Budapest

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BUDAPEST

Photo of Browsing Budapest by Devika Maheshwari

Budapest is the savior of every hungry photographer’s soul, whether they are professionals or mere amateurs. No matter what angle you turn your camera to you’ll either witness the lucid ripples that form in the glowing Danube or you’ll capture the magnificent city which adorns itself with rich antiquated buildings. However, my aim of going to Budapest was simply to scratch off “Paris of the east” off my bucket list. So, along with my friends and family, we toured Eastern Europe by exploring Budapest, Prague, Česky Krumlov, Salzburg and Vienna.

Day 1

We stayed at Kempinski Hotel Corvinus which was located right at the heart of downtown. Just behind our hotel was a square which was lined up with worthy European brands like Stradivarius, Bershka and more. There were also ATM's, banks and popular restaurants like Hard Rock Cafe. But the best part was that the narrow cobbled streets that connected to the square displayed a whole new spectrum of products like Hungarian secret boxes, pictures of Danube and Unicum - a herbal bitter liqueur that was tailored to the culture of Budapest. Naturally, this became an ideal spot for us to come for breakfast and for late dinners as it was always lively.

The first day we decided to explore the city on foot and made our first stop at the three-story central market hall located next to the Danube River. It was the largest market hall of Budapest located indoors that contained all sorts of groceries, trinkets, and worthy souvenirs. Other than having an impressive history, like all the buildings there, the place also seemed to me as the prettiest market hall with its neo-gothic architecture.

Market Hall, Image Credits- Muskaan Maheshwari

Photo of Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest, Budapest, Erzsébet tér, Hungary by Devika Maheshwari

Further, we decided not to cross the bridge and take in the scenic view by walking along the river. We ventured onto the thin streets all around the area lined with traditional Hungarian shirts, Hungarian dolls, and embroidered tablecloths. While the moms lingered onto debating and bargaining with the shopkeepers over tablecloths we took a different turn.

Hungarian streel doll art, Image Credits- Muskaan Maheshwari

Photo of Browsing Budapest by Devika Maheshwari

We stopped at a stall that had a divine baking smell. They were serving Kürtőskalács, a Hungarian dish made from sweet, yeast dough spun and wrapped around a truncated cone-shaped baking spit, rolled in granulated sugar and topped with ground walnut, powdered cinnamon or chocolate.

Photo of Browsing Budapest by Devika Maheshwari

As we moved along we came face to face with the parliament house. It was unordinary to see a government building look baronial enough to make you want to step in. A guy saw us being ultimate tourists as were posing and clicking pictures and told us to come in the night and watch the building lit. He said, "You won't see the same building here." And by god, he was right! (Take a cruise on the Danube after the sun sets and seize onto your camera to become the ultimate photographer.)

Budapest Parliament

Photo of Browsing Budapest by Devika Maheshwari

After taking in the picturesque view of the parliament, the sweets and the shopping we were super tired so we took a cab and went to Széchenyi. Széchenyi is a park where thermal springs heat up the water and you can dive in to comfort yourself.Attached to it is a Neo-baroque palace that adds to the baths historic charm and taking in this luxury is only 20 euros when you book online.A Hungarian bath from the roots of Turkish occupiers is imperative if you want to term your Budapest trip as complete.

A much-needed refreshment gave us the energy to conclude the Buda (historic) side of Budapest by walking over to the Heroes' square. Heroes' square is one of the main attraction as it is noted with iconic statues. There is nothing to do there but to take Insta-worthy pictures. So, I guess there is a lot to there...right?

Heroes' Square, Image Credits- Muskaan Maheshwari

Photo of Heroes' Square, Budapest, Hősök tere, Hungary by Devika Maheshwari

The last thing that we needed to complete on this side of Danube was the opera house and luckily it fell right on our way back to the hotel.

The opera like any other in the world can be stated as remarkably beautiful with painted ceiling, plush scarlet colored drapes, and polished chandeliers. But as none of us had too much of an interest in it we took about 5-10 minutes to appreciate the place and didn't bother taking a grand tour. Nonetheless, if it is your cup of tea then I'll leave you with this quick fact. The Royal Opera House, as it was once known, is one of the most magnificent Neo-Renaissance buildings in Europe and also has the finest acoustics.

For dinner went to Il Pastaio which was located in the square behind our hotel. The restaurant itself was lit with beautiful candles and they even gave us red colored blankets to comfort ourselves in the chilly breeze. It was the first time we were trying this chain of Italian food and because we were vegetarians we thought Italian was the safest choice. But this wasn't just the safest it was the best choice, you would feel it too after one bite of their spaghetti arrabiata.

Il Pastaio

Photo of Il Pastaio, Budapest, Deák Ferenc Street, Hungary by Devika Maheshwari
Day 2

Day 2 started with a crazy fact. The architect of the chain bridge which connects Buda to Pest (the modern side of the city) embellished the bridge with two lions on either side. He was so proud of the bridge that he said, "If anyone finds a mistake in this project then I would jump into the river." Unfortunately for him, a minor carpenter pointed out that the lions on either side had teeth but no tongues. You would think no one would jump for such a tiny fact, but he did! Moving on, on the other side of Danube, we were starting out with the Buda Castle and the Fisherman's Bastion.

Image Credits- Muskaan Maheshwari

Photo of Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary by Devika Maheshwari

The Buda Castle is now divided into two big museums, National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum, and has a few other cultural items as well. But mostly on my tour, I noticed Hungarian artifacts from the Roman period till now. There were clothes, swords, helmets, tools and other historic and intricate pieces that made you relive their time.

Fisherman's Bastion was made to celebrate the fishermen who defended this part of the city, but for my sister and I, this place looked more like an outstanding photo opp. The top offers an unimaginable panoramic view of the Danube, Margaret Island, and Pest. And if you turn the camera the other way you get a grand backdrop of a neogothic and neo-romanesque architectural ivory colored wonderland. You can pay to reach the higher levels of the building but the view from the top and bottom have just a slight difference and some might not find worth paying for it. However, the one thing you should definitely invest in is the fruit and snack stands on the sides of the cobbled street. Whether its massive cherries or salted potatoes on a stick, Hungarians know how to fulfill a good appetite. Their food is cheap, tasty and most of all available everywhere.

Fisherman's Bat

Photo of Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest, Szentháromság tér, Hungary by Devika Maheshwari

We also climbed onto the path for Citadella to see the majestic statue. But after reaching the top the climb didn't feel worth it.

Photo of Citadella, Budapest, Hungary by Devika Maheshwari
Photo of Citadella, Budapest, Hungary by Devika Maheshwari

So, after few minutes there we made our way back to Buda and went to Bálna for some last Hungarian shopping. To our disappointment, the place wasn't well acquainted with shops and could have definitely been avoided. But to uplift our day and finally end our trip with a bang we went to the New York Cafe.

Getting into New York Cafe is practically impossible. It has a huge line going around the entire block. My parents had told us they had arranged something special for us and it turned out to be seated at New York Cafe aka the most beautiful cafe in the world. My pictures would not do justice to this place nor would my words. Let's just say it is a place for "Quintessential Hungarian Gastronomy" and the correct way to end your Budapest trip.

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