Tonight is my final and 3rd night in Budapest and while the Hungarian capital has some beautiful sights, exceptional food and has been mostly kind to me, it still fails to tick all the boxes. I say mostly kind because the weather has been pretty rotten, yes I hear you saying “…but it’s Winter…”, but I assure you I was quite happy splashing through the puddles in Rome last March when the weather came down on me. Secondly I’ve managed to live 30 years without ever being splashed by a car racing through a puddle, until it happened to me in Budapest!
On the positives, Buda, West of the Danube is especially beautiful, it’s all very old worldly like you’ve taken a step back in time. I found myself particularly drawn to this area. The views from Gellert Hill and the neo-gothic Fisherman’s Bastion are truly grand. I particularly love the attractive, colourful tiled roofs that many buildings boast, such as the impressive Matthias Church. The imposing Parliament building in Pest is as magnificent as all the travel articles imply and it does look spectacular at night all lit up reflecting in the Danube. If you’re visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica you really should get your gym legs on and climb to the top, and despite the rain I did enjoy the panoramic views! Every meal I consumed here has been scrumptious, and to my surprise the Hungarians’ do desserts very well; they definitely satisfied my chocoholic needs.
So why didn’t Budapest do it for me? I found the Hungarian people to be very polite, helpful but ever so slightly wary, and therefore the friendliness seemed to disperse. I guess you could say that they just lacked the charisma that the Italians and Greeks possess in bucket loads. On another note, Budapest is a very large city, far larger than I expected and it took a while to get from one place to the next, and where Berlin felt like London, and Rome invites you to get gloriously lost in its splendor and Athens summons you to wander down its ancient tangled streets, I felt like Budapest hasn’t quite decided yet. Or maybe I just don’t know Eastern Europe.
Tomorrow I’ll wrap up warm, strap on my walking boots and return to Buda to satisfy my old worldly needs before heading home.