Budapest has a very different feel from Vienna and Munich. There is the same architectural style and number of churches, but the city has an edgy feel like it hasn't quite been polished off at the edges. After arriving in Budapest much later than anticipated (broken S-Bahn, wrong train, missed actual train, broken computer system) we made it to the hostel. While some more energetic members went barhopping I crashed in preparation of an early start the next day.
Saturday dawned bright and early and warm at 5.30am (a little earlier than my alarm clock was set for). Ben and I set off on our sight-seeing adventure at 6.15am. The logic was the earlier we leave the more we'd see before temps reached the forecast 38C (we were right, it was 37C at 11.20).
Our first stop was the Central Market, a fresh produce market with touristy stuff on the second floor, I say stuff cause they had just opened at 6am and not ready for people when we breezed through. The building is a converted train station and is absolutely gorgeous and huge and the roof is covered in the colourful ceramic tiles that seem popular on buildings here.
We joined the first walking tour laid out in Ben's Lonely Planet guide that took through the streets of Pest and highlighted some interesting features. A few things we came across (not in the book) was the gleaming twin buildings that we presume we once flanked the Elisabeth Bridge. The other gorgeous sight was the building marked MCMIX. We have no clue what it used to be but its currently a warren of shops. The front (not captured well by my camera) is covered in mosaic tiles. The interior was a delight of glass ceilings, decorated pillars and ornate arches.
As we proceeded the water spout of a fountain caught my eye, I love the fish design (seems popular in Europe). You'll see lots of fountain photos in my collection, I love the detail of each.
Walking over the Chain Bridge we slowly wound our way up to Castle Hill and through the streets towards the Fisherman's Bastion and Buda Palace (pic below from across the Danube) .
By now its 9.10am, the sun is beating down on us and the first tourist bus arrives.
We proceeded through the second walking your in the guidebook and found a Lutheran church, some touristy shops, many horse statues, fountains and the a panoramic view over Pest. We also came across what I've decided is my favourite building in Budapest: Fisherman's Bastion with its spires and colourful ceramic roof sits nobly on Castle Hill looking down on Parliament and the Danube.
We eventually walked down the hill and went for lunch and then explored the Szechenyi Baths and surrounds (more details to follow)