Last weekend we decided to make a short trip to Budapest. A trip into the past of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
This is not my first time in Budapest. I visited Budapest first in 1989 before the iron curtain went down. Back then the border police had machine guns and searched our car. Today there is a speed limit.
Through the years I have come here many times and experienced how the city has changed over time. Gone are the reminders of communism, you have to visit the memento park (first picture) to see the statues that once covered so many public places. Mostly gone is the grey, the dirt and the run down buildings. Now there are fancy restaurants and shops and most of the historic buildings have been restored to their old beauty.
The weather was excellent. It was bitter cold but there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. We parked our car in the garage of our hotel and left it there. There is no need for a car as all attractions are easy to reach by foot. When we got cold we stopped in one of the grand old coffee houses for cake and coffee. The coffee houses are excellent and as fancy as the ones in Vienna. There are as pricey too. So don’t expect cheap but the quality of the cakes especially in the Cafe Gerbeaud is excellent.
I was amazed how beautiful the Parisi Passage looked like. I saw it before its renovation. It was in very poor shape but you could easily see its potential. Now 40 million Euros later it is back to its old glory (second picture below) and serves as an impressive lobby for the Hyatt.
Like in Vienna the castles, churches and other history buildings in Budapest are truly impressive but they look oversized for a such small country. The answer is simple: Budapest and Vienna were once the capitals of an Empire of over 50 million people. A country much bigger than Great Britain or France. Now Austria has 9,1 million people and Hungary has 9,6. That happens when you start and loose a World War.
After another World War Austria and Hungary were destroyed like most of Europe. But there was one big difference: In Austria the rebuilding started right after the war. Hungary had to survive 40 years of communism and had to recover from that before it could afford to restore its historic buildings.
We visited many impressive locations but we didn’t rush from one sight to the other. We enjoyed a short, slow paced vacation and left some attractions for future trips. I will post more images of this trip in the new future.
As you can see in the EXIF data I have used my standard camera gear: the Fuji X-Pro3 plus the 14/2.8, 23/2 and 35/1.4. The perfect combo for city trips. I’m aware that the new zoom from Sony would give me any focal length from 20 to 70mm in one single lens and it sounds intriguing but I still prefer my small and light Fuji gear.