Today we were off to the castle district on the Buda side of the city. We decided to take the subway which turned out to be easy. Debarking from the train, we headed up the hill. As we arrived at the gate I took a couple of pictures of the pretty flower beds.
Inside the walls it was like a little miniature city. Pretty streets with medieval houses and shops. As we approached Matyas Church we passed the Hilton hotel. It had it’s own claim to fame because it was a modern architecture in the Old Town. It was controversial from the start but does incorporate the historic remains of the site. Here is the bas-relief depicting King Matyas on the Hilton wall.
Matyas church was magnificent. And BOY was it mobbed with tourists. Mostly big tour groups which are a scourge. The church was built in the 13th century and was called the Parish Church of Our Lady Mary. Much of the original detail was lost when the Turks converted it into the Great Mosque in 1541. During the liberation of Buda the church was almost totally destroyed But was rebuilt in the Baroque style by Franciscan Friars. It sustained further damage in 1723 and was restored in the Neo-Gothic style in 1873. Wow! Here are some pictures. First the outside. Beautiful roof.
We walked further, past the palace and around back where we found my favorite part of the tour – Matyas Fountain. It was created in 1904 and dedicated to the great Renaissance king Matyas about whom there are many legends. It’s theme is from a ballad by poet Mihaly Vorosmarty. According to the tale the King, while on a hunting trip meets a beautiful peasant girl, Ilonka who falls in love with him. Their love was doomed. The fountain shows the King disguised as a hunter with his kill. I love his hunting dogs. And the poet is off to the side looking – well poetic!
The king and his kill.
There was more but I won’t bore you with it. We had lunch in a sidewalk cafe near the church. We wanted to keep it simple and I had a Caprese salad. While sitting at the table about ten beautiful white cars went by with red ribbons on their hoods and down the sides. It was the entourage for a wedding. This was totally opposite to what you would see in Italy where the ribbons are always white. But in Hungary, the dominant color is red. All their traditional costumes are red. I managed to snap a picture as one car sped by.
Dinner was much more interesting at Bock Bisztro. This time we figured out how to take the street car. The public transit is very good in Budapest. We got there lickity split! It was much better than the one star we dined at last night. Good, friendly service and good food. I had goat! It was very good. Luther had rabbit. He like his too.
So that concludes our Budapest visit. All in all it was fun. I don’t know if I would go back. Maybe I’d combine it with a trip to Prague on a train or something. It was a big, busy, crowded city.