Before even arriving in Budapest, we knew that one of our days in the city was going to be reserved for a walk along the water (If you know Calli, you know she is magnetically pulled towards water, so it’s always easy to find). After looking at the forecast, we knew that our third day in the city was definitely the day to do this – 20 degrees and not a cloud to be seen!
We began our day by walking along the Pest promenade towards the biggest and most beautiful building in all of Hungary, the Parliament. Built between 1896 and 1904 in a Gothic Revival style, it is the most prominent feature in Budapest postcards and can be seen from almost any vantage point in the city. It was also near a bakery that Calli wanted to try, read into that what you want.
Before reaching the massive building, we made sure to stop at one of the most harrowing locations in the city, the Shoes on the Danube Promenade. The memorial is dedicated to the memory of the many Jews who were forced to take off their shoes on the banks of the river before being shot by Arrow Cross militiamen towards the end of WWII, their bodies swept away forever. Today, 60 pairs of Iron shoes sit along a short stretch of the Danube bank.
From the Shoes on the Danube Promenade, it is just a short jaunt to the Parliament. That is, of course, unless there is massive construction and no detours – in this case it is a twenty minute backtrack and then twenty minute walk. But it is definitely worth it, especially when Calli finds one of her bakeries that she’s researched and fills your belly with delicious sour cherry strudels. In any case, the Parliament is a magnificent structure – and the third largest parliament building in the world (strange for such a small country).
A quick stroll over the Árpád Bridge, which connects both sides of the city to Margaret Island (definitely a peaceful retreat from the city and a popular spot for jogging), landed us in Buda. In addition to being a convenient point to cross, we had ulterior motives for crossing at this time. It was nearing lunchtime and we were in search of possibly Budapest’s most unhealthy and delicious food, Langos!
Through some extensive research (you know how much I care about food), I had surmised that the Feny Utca market was the best place for Langos in the city, and after luring Calli across the river in this particular spot, it was easy to convince her to take ten minutes to walk to the market. It was definitely worth it, and Calli will attest to that*!
With our legs feeling like lead and our arteries seemingly clogging on the spot, we decided that we needed some exercise as quickly as possible and set off down the Buda Promenade. This beautiful walking path takes you past Batthyány tér (one of the most beautiful squares in the city), the Chain Bridge, and Castle Hill, all while giving you fantastic unobstructed views across the river.
We spent the better part of the next two hours walking a bit, then stopping to sit on a bench. We also spent about twenty minutes trading photos with an Italian couple who had some amazing poses in front of the Parliament (including one where they straddled the wall facing each other, held hands, and then leaned back. I was trying to stifle my laughter as Calli took photo after photo).
After some time we made it to the Elisabeth Bridge and made our way back across to Pest in search of the Grand Market Hall. With hopes of fresh food and unique gifts like many markets we’ve been to throughout Europe, we entered the newly renovated structure. However, we were ultimately disappointed – standard tourist crap and unauthentic “authentic” food abounded inside the gorgeous building. If you want a t-shirt with “Budapest” on it or some mass-produced lace then this might be the place for you, if not then better to search at some of the weekly flea markets held around town.
Hopefully you haven’t grown bored of my babbling and have enjoyed our enjoyment of this wonderful city. It has definitely taken a place high on our list of favorites, and maybe we’ve even taken a step towards convincing you to take a trip to Budapest.
Logistics: You can go on a tour of the Parliament Building, and information can be found here (it costs about 16.50 CAD for a non-EU resident). The Shoes on the Danube Promenade is just about in-front of the Parliament. Feny Utca market can be found just behind the Mammut Shoping Mall and is on the red metro line at the stop named Moszkva square. For the langos go to the top floor, and in one of the corners is a place with a sign that reads “Langos Bufe Sorozo”.
* I will talk more about Langos in my food article, but it is basically deep-fried bread with “toppings” on it.