Despite being in the European Union, Hungary still insists on using its old currency. It is back to monopoly money and a frustrating insistence on cash rather than plastic pay wave. Psychologically a coffee costing 400 Forint is bloody expensive compared to 1.5 Euro! I won’t go on about the atrocious coffee. Flat whites are non existent and an ‘American Coffee’ is simply percolated or drip coffee. But I am more addicated than I care to admit and still drink the stuff.
There is a wonderful free brochure “City Walks Budapest” and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Yesterday I did the cycle equivalent of the 3 peaks around Bright in Victoria. It consisted of
Citadella on Gellert Hill Walk distance 5.5 Km with a hardness rating of 5/5
Castle Walk distance 3.5 km hardness rating 4/5
Inner City walk distance 5 km hardness rating 4/5
Of the three, the Castle walk was oustanding. This is part of an UNESCO World Heritage site and it is a journey back into the 13th century when King Bela IV built his palace and castle on the prominant hill overlooking the Danube in Buda. The hill is 1.5 km long and 500m wide and is essentially a medieval township with Castle and then the surrounding churches, shops, historical buildings, a theatre and several palatial homes of the royal court which are now part of the national museum grid.
I was trying to fathom as I walked why I was enjoying the experience. Surely I have explored similar medieval castles and whole towns in Italy, France, the Czech Republic. Compared to the other european destinations I deduced these 3 qualities: firstly the weather is cool, crisp and more in keeping with an Autumnal day in Adelaide, secondly the whole of Budapest is remarkably clean and well maintained. Streets are swept and rubbish does not lie around in uncollected mountains of black plastic bags. If it does, these bags are regularly collected and in the dead of night.
But it was the gradual realisation that I was not part of a seething tsunami of tourists. The attached pictures will hopefully attest to all these enjoyable aspects.
St Matthias Church part of Castle Hill
Do you understand now about relative paucity of persons ?
a street scene on castle Hill – more cars than people
The Budapest History Museum