I would highly recommend Budapest for anybody who wants a dose of old-world charm without the high prices of London, Paris or Rome. The people are wonderful: nearly everybody we’ve dealt with has been friendly, open and willing to help a confused foreigner, even if we don’t speak their language.The weather has been great: during April and May, it’s been cool at times, but nothing that a sweater or light jacket couldn’t handle; the rains have been brief and rarely intense – more like a California rain than Texas or Florida. The food is very good: the traditional Hungarian food is tasty and there are lots of foreign restaurants: Italian, French, Irish, Indian and even Mexican.
A big part of that charm is in the city itself; just walking around and looking at the buildings. You can see that there were building booms in the late 1700’s – early 1800’s, early 20th century and then, unfortunately – the Brutalist school of the late 20th century shows its ugly head. There isn’t as much evidence of the Communist era as we expected; if you’ve been to Prague, you’ve seen those heroic statues on all sorts of public buildings, but here almost all of those have been removed and put in a place of remembrance, Momento Park. So take a tour around town with us – here are a few pictures of things we’re seen.
There are great cathedrals, as you’d expect, but lots of smaller churches that are decorated to the hilt:
A lot of the public buildings are decorated to an outrageous degree. Government buildings, concert halls, even bridges. It seems like every major building built around 1800 got the treatment. If you like Rococo, this is the place to be.
Art Deco gets its place in the sun, also (even on a cloudy day):
There’s also plenty of public art: some of it the grand statues, exhorting people to emulate the great men (and sometimes women) of the past, but lots of smaller pieces, some for art, some for no apparent reason, like the naked Nazi.
If there’s a plain wall, it often gets a mural:
This is just a small sample. Half the fun of going around town is looking up, to see what hidden treasures have been tucked away somewhere. We may look like tourists, but heck, that’s what we’re here for.