“A nickel will get you on the subway,
but garlic will get you a seat.”
What a treat for me and my feet – this with free travel in the whole of Hungry if over 65 and a member of EU!!! I didn’t see the whole of Hungary, but I saw what I wanted to see of Budapest during my 4 full days there.
The only thing I didn’t use was a taxi and there was more than plenty of the yellow cars … everywhere.
My hotel’s location was also perfect to reach most corners of the city from – 2 min walk from Deák Ferenc tér – the major junction for most city transport. Something I didn’t know when I booked my hotel, very nice surprise.
My first day I jumped on tram 47 that took me to the Great Market Hall – “Nagyvásárcsarnok” – big as a central station and with so much to see and of course buy. Beautiful products – even the souvenirs are high quality and the handmade crafts. Really enjoyed my hours there.
The building was designed and built by Samu Pecz around 1897. The market offers a huge variety of stalls on three floors. The entrance gate has a neogothic touch. A distinctive architectural feature is the roof which was restored to have colourful Zsolnay tiling from Pécs. The area size of the building is 10,000 square meters, which is covered by the steel structure.
During the World Wars, it was completely damaged and then closed for some years. Throughout the 1990s restoration works brought back the market to its ancient splendour. The building was awarded FIABCI Prix d’Excellence in 1999.
Most of the stalls on the ground floor offer produce, meats, pastries, candies, spices, and spirits such as paprika, Tokaji, Túró Rudi, and caviar. The second floor has mainly eateries and souvenirs. The basement contains butcher shops, fish market, and pickles. Not only do they have traditional cucumber pickles, but they also offer pickled cauliflower, cabbage, beets, tomatoes, and garlic.
Tram 47 also took me to the stronghold of the Liberty bridge (Szabadság híd) – it was a very foggy day, so it was hard to see what was on the other bank of Donau. And the Liberty Statue (Szabadság-szobor) up on the hill was just a silhouette.
I walked a little around the area .. and took M2 – back to Deák Ferenc tér. Where I visit the Carl Lutz memorial- that is located just a block from my hotel – what I then didn’t know that only a block away was the beautiful Raoul Wallenberg Holocaust, Memorial Park.
The statue was made by Tamás Szabó in 1991 and located at the entrance of the former ghetto area. A beautiful statue.
Carl Lutz ( 1895 –1975 in Bern) was the Swiss Vice-Consul in Budapest, Hungary from 1942 until the end of World War II. He is credited with saving over 62,000 Jews, the largest rescue operation of Jews of the Second World War.
The second day I put my faith into the little blue bus that took me to the famous Chain Bridge (Szechenyi lanchid) and Donau … but also The Shoes on the Danube Bank. A memorial to honour the people (mainly Budapest Jews) who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. It represents their shoes left behind on the bank.
It was a bit of a walk from where I jumped off – but the Metro station close to the memorial was closed and I couldn’t figure out where the replacement bus had it’s stop.
Bus #16 also took me up the hill to Buda castle and down the hill .. it took me back to the Chain bridge in the evening. #16 is a small and very busy blue bus … it goes around in a circle the whole day up to midnight. Next time will I jump on it to see Budapest in its evening gown a bit from above.
Metro 2 took me to Batthyány tér one evening – the metro stop on the other side of Donau opposite the magnificent parliament building – Országház – just had to have my night shots of the building and they all turned out so well. Oscar was in a great mood.
The little yellow metro train #1 took me to the City Park (Városlige) and Heroe’s Sq (Hősök tere) with the ice skating rink and the Winter Palace … the Vajdahunyad Castle and Széchenyi thermal bath – all 3 the most beautiful buildings in Budapest.
City Park must be stunning in the spring when all the fountains are up and running, all the spring flowers are out and the trees is green. It was stunning now too, but for sure my next visit to Budapest will in the Spring. It also holds the Zoo and a permanent circus.
My last day I was going to do some shopping so it was M2 that saved my feet – took it toke me to Budapest-Keleti Railway Terminal and from there I had to walk too far to the Aréna Plaza Mall – but during my walking, I notice bus #80 and it had a stop just by the mall.
I didn’t have to walk for long at the mall before I notice that my feet weren’t in the mood for shopping – so I found a nice cafe .. order a big lemonade (too early for lunch) … and just people watched. After that, I took #80 to the station and the M2 back to the hotel and the whole of me up on the bed!!!!
All metro stations are also shelters for so many of the homeless during the cold nights and everybody is okay with it, even the police and BKK.