What a difference the sun makes.
02.06.2013 - 02.06.2013 20 °C
Our final day in this fantastic city - it is obvious that quite a few attractions are going to remain unseen by the Gibbos on this trip. We'll stay longer next time.
Mid morning we caught the Metro down to Deak Ter (means Square) and hopped on our bus to go to the Royal Palace. Budapest was once 2 towns and is still referred to as both Buda and Pest when talking about different areas in the city. The Danube River (called Duna by the Hungarians) basically cuts Budapest in half. Buda is on one side - hilly, green and home to the Royal Palace, Fisherman's Bastion, Matthias Church, the Citadel - to name a few. Pest is on the other side - flat and as well as housing the magnificent Parliament Building and St. Peter's Basilica - is known as the business and shopping district.
We had to take the same route as yesterday to get to the Royal Palace which was a bit frustrating - as it took forever and then started raining, so we had to go downstairs in the bus to get undercover. We finally got there and had some lunch straight away. We then walked all over the place - outside the Royal Palace and then down to the Fisherman's Bastion (so called because the Bastion was originally built in what was a fishing town), and the gorgeous Matthias Church which has a multicoloured ceramic tiled roof - like the one in Zagreb. The views of Budapest here on the side of the hill were spectacular - the "wow" factor definitely present here. It was a shame that the weather was really overcast - we could hear thunder in the distance. We were lucky though that it didn't rain.
We walked down the hill and struck it lucky again - got straight on to our bus. Off again at the Margaret Bridge. This bridge takes a turn in the middle - right coming from the Buda side, left coming from the Pest side. Right smack in the middle of the bridge offers a great view of straight up the Danube River with numerous bridges and famous landmarks on either side of the river.
The "Sun God" was smiling on us - and we were treated to beautiful sunshine - which allowed us to take some great photos. We must have 40 photos of the Parliament Building! The Margaret Bridge actually has a road running off it which takes people to Margaret Island - a little oasis in the middle of the Danube River. This is a really popular spot for the locals - a venue for kids playing soccer etc. and as our landlady Andrea later told us - is popular for nude sunbaking in the summer.
Onward we walked - back on the Pest side of the city, right alongside the Parliament Building, passed a Protest Rally in the streets. We couldn't work out what it was about - it was in the Hungarian language, but there seemed to be an equal amount of applause and "booing".
We visited the absolutely beautiful St. Peter's Basilica. It was late at this point - around 5pm so we weren't able to walk the steps up to the Dome. Not to worry, just going inside was wonderful. Despite hundreds of people inside - half of them tourists - it was calming and peaceful. Then outside in the beautiful Square in front of the Basilica were people displaying as much skin as possible - sun baking on the steps. Not impressed! Respect guys - respect!
We walked our way back to Deak Ter and after about 5 minutes - got on our bus to take us back up Andrassy Avenue and to home. We missed our stop (Oktogon) and had to keep going right up to the top of the Avenue to Heroes Square. I think it was meant to happen though because we were able to take some stunning photos up there - better than yesterday. Even though there were clouds around - the sun was shining - spectacular!
We had a coffee at an Eco Cafe not far from our apartment - and finally made our way home to start packing for our early departure tomorrow morning. Andrea visited us at about 8.30pm to return our deposit. She ordered a taxi to pick us up at 5am - OMG!