I have always wanted to travel to Eastern Europe, especially since a lecturer told me that his dream is to visit Prague. With that in mind, as soon as my friend told me that there is an offer on ticket, I figuratively jumped at the opportunity. What he offered was a daunting itinerary, a five-day trip to Budapest, Vienna and Prague.
The offer was too good to refuse, so I didn’t. But as it is, the trip began with a flight from Eindhoven to Budapest. I was preconditioned to anticipate Prague, and considered Budapest and Vienna merely as a prequel to the real treat. Budapest proved itself to be more than that.
Budapest has more than just the famous Parliament House, it has the Fishermen’s Bastion, the Chain Bridge, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Heroes Square, etc. Budapest is not as managed and orderly as most of Netherlands, it is not as clean, but it is quietly charming. My kudos to the government that put proper lighting on all the noteworthy buildings.
If any, the only thing I regret is the lack of information on all of these sites in English. The explanation on the monuments were all in Magyar, none of them in English. This left me wanting, especially since the presence and celebration of national heroes is very conspicuous (check the statues next to the Parliament and the Heroes’ Square). As I found out later, Budapest and Hungary had 3 moments of revolution in their history, one against the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1848, one against the Soviet Union in 1956 and one by the end of the Communism in 1988/9. It is a country with a really rich history, and I fear that concentration on the mere visual side of their heritage would draw away from the potential to give travelers like me a chance to learn more about and from Hungarian history.
But, I digress. Budapest IS charming, and highly recommended. The latter is especially applicable to the pastries. People make amazing bread there, it is really soft and delicious. My pita-bread loving friends, keep on reminding me that the pita bread is better in Budapest than in the Netherlands (which, coming from them, is high praise). As a fruit pie loving person, I have to agree that they make great pies. If you have a chance to stop by Budapest, do not miss out on trying something from the local bakery. Nuff said, go to Budapest, enjoy the view and eat heaps of pastries! I myself will definitely return to do that and enjoy their famous baths.