December 26, 2018
Our two year wedding anniversary! It still is a little hard to believe that its been two years already. Time flies when you spend it with the people you love.
On account of Boxing Day and second day of Christmas, most places were still closed in Budapest. We weren’t sure if Castle Hill would be open, but decided to go anyway. Luckily Matthais Church and Fisherman’s Bastion were open and so were the Buda Castle gardens.
Getting around Budapest is so convenient! I am still not over gushing about the ease, so please bear with me. And with Google Maps it gets a thousand times easier. We got into bus number 16 from Hild tér. We had to get to the Buda side of the Danube from the Pest side and in order to do so had to cross the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. Opened in 1849, this bridge holds both historical and architectural significance. This is also where the Bollywood movie scene from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was shot.
We alighted at Disz tér and walked further. The cobbled streets and pastel coloured buildings take you to another world. Every building is unique, not only in colour but in its tiny architectural details. Souvenir shops, restaurants, and beautiful statues line the streets. I even spotted the House of Houdini, a museum dedicated to the illusionist Harry Houdini (definitely going back to visit this).
As you walk ahead the Matthais Church tower is the first glimpse of the church you get and it is huge! The further you walk the coloured tiles of its roof with delicate turrets standing tall are visible. This church built in the middle ages has a long history and has colourful and stunning interiors. The church was even converted to a mosque for around 150 years during the invasion by the Ottoman Turks. The opening hours for tourists hadn’t begun yet and we decided to explore the church square and Fisherman’s Bastion until then.
The viewing terrace around Matthais Chrurch that provides panoramic views of the Danube and Pest, called Fisherman’s Bastion stands tall and proud. It has seven towers, representing the seven Magyar (Hungarian) tribes. I have to admit, I was swooning over this Disney-castle like structure and the sheer romance of the place. It was packed with tourists and I wished we could have gone earlier to experience it empty, it would have been magical! There are cafes overlooking the views and we enjoyed coffee and muffins while taking in the beauty.
Tickets to enter the church cost us 1500 HUF each and an additional 1500 HUF each to go up the bell tower. As soon as you enter the church, your eyes are treated to an array of colours and intricate carvings. Be sure to look up, as the ceilings are another story all together. There are smaller altars around the church, in addition to the main altar. The stained glass windows are surreal and lend a peaceful and tranquil feeling.
The tower tour began at two and our guide was great. The tower is narrow and the first rest stop is after 60 steps. At the rest stop, the guide briefed us about the history of the church and its significance in Budapest’s history. The next flight of stairs would take us directly to the top. A total of 197 steps, I had to stop multiple times to catch my breath. When we reached the top and saw what we saw, every breathless stop seemed worth it. A bird’s eye view of both Buda and Pest and the meandering Danube in between was something I couldn’t get enough of.
Next we walked to Buda Castle, but unfortunately the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum were closed. However, the castle grounds were open and we walked around exploring the gardens.
The entire Castle Hill was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. I will definitely be going back for the gallery, museum and house of Houdini. And also maybe an early morning trip to Fisherman’s -Bastion for dreamy pictures with the boy!
Until next time,