Picture of the Week – February 7, 2016

 

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The Memorial to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence, located on the edge of Budapest’s City Park and just a few paces from the much visited Heroes’ Square, stands out in the winder snow because of its rusty columns, which represent the gathering of individuals to form a spear of resistance against their communist oppressors.

The monument is a piece of modern art which requires knowledge of its history to appreciate; a quick look into its background is also enough to understand its shape—an arrow or the tip of a spear which is out of shot to the left.

Built in 2005 in time for the 50th anniversary of the War of Independence, it stands on the site of a former Catholic church, demolished by the communists to make way for a statue of Joseph Stalin.

While seemingly imposing when viewing it in person, the site is in fact humble and silent, most noticeable for the lack of a large marble tablet of some sort which might otherwise explain the reason behind its creation.

Photo of the Week – August 2, 2015

Buda–Pest link.

Buda–Pest link.

Another one of Budapest’s worthwhile—and also gratis—nighttime activities is crossing on foot one of the city’s many bridges that connect both sides of the Danube, which, despite Johann Strauss II’s quite marvellous efforts, is in fact not blue. (Sorry.)

If you like strolling around at night as much as I do, Budapest’s Széchenyi Chain Bridge is one of more than half a dozen spots in which to do just that. Opened in 1849, the Chain Bridge was the first of its kind to span the Duna and connect both sides of the river—this was even before Buda, Pest, and nearby Óbuda were joined together to become the fitting dual capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1873.

Taking a leisurely stroll is great, irrespective of the city you find yourself in. Go for a walk; discover something new. I won’t go as far as to say you should get lost—that may be a tad overly cliché. And besides, being lost is no fun.

Picture of the Week – July 19, 2015

Influx

Influx

The Great Market Hall, also known as the Central Market Hall, brims with people; not only tourists, but also locals who look to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, colourful berries, fine ham, and a good bottle of Tokaji or Villányi for the coming week.

I love the central market because it caters to all. Tourists love it because some of the best local produce can be found there at a good price; locals love it for the same reason. The last thing you want as a tourist is to know that you’re trapped in a tourist-only market full of vendors who are looking to rip you off for your Euro or U.S. Dollar.

Like, I’m sure, other local markets throughout the country, the freshness—and the attractive prices—of the fruits and berries at the Great Market Hall cannot be understated. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to want to visit its cozy aisles at least twice a week for the ultimate dose of fresh.

Photo of the Week – July 12, 2015

A dining experience

In the centre of Budapest, yet a class apart from the city’s ruin pubs and roadside restaurant-bars, the hall of the New York Cafe is illuminated in shades of gold by dozens of wall lamps and chandeliers so high that they might as well be suns.

Within the classical walls and beneath the frescos of the New York Cafe, I tasted what was arguably the best dessert I’ve ever had. This, despite my weakness for hyperboles, is not an exaggeration. I urge you—and not only those within earshot—to pay this wonderful establishment a visit.

Photo of the Week – July 5, 2015

Liberty

Liberty

A ferry passes under Budapest’s Szabadság híd—Liberty Bridge or Freedom Bridge—in the late afternoon. Ferries are a great way to tour the city’s beautiful bridges while also enjoying a cool breeze atop the Danube.

Liberty Bridge also happens to be one of the best places to catch the sunset over the Danube, which, during the summertime, can be quite a wait.

Photo of the Week – Jun 19, 2015

Royal

Royal

The Hungarian Parliament Building stands stoic during a mid-summer breeze in the middle of June. It was inaugurated on the 1,000th anniversary of Hungary in 1896 and opened eight years later in 1904.

The awesome structure that is this historical landmark is worth seeing from near and from far. Up close, its majesty humbles even the most impassive of tourists, while from afar, its colour, shape, and sheer dominance adds to Pest’s prowess as a welcoming yet exigent tourist city.

Photo of the Week – Jan 6, 2015

101

The Giant

Taiwan’s tallest building and national landmark deflects sunlight on a chilly mid-December day at the end of 2014. Officially opened December 31, 2004, Taipei 101 was a world-beater for six years until she was dethroned in 2010.

“Daunting” is how I would describe standing in the shadow of Taipei 101. The engineering feat that made the construction of this giant possible cannot be overstated as it dwarfs all who dare enter its lair. Happy 10 years. Here’s to another 10.