[So I’m home now, but there are a few things I feel I should add for completeness’s sake and if anyone is still reading this, there should be some interesting photos of Istanbul forthcoming in the next few days.]
Gül Baba (Rose Father) was a famous Ottoman poet who lived in Buda during the late 1500s. When he died, he was buried on top of a hill just north of castle hill, in a lovely octagonal tomb surrounded by rose gardens. The tomb itself actually belongs to the Republic of Turkey, but it’s open to visitors needing a break from the city (or in my case, studying for finals).
The rose gardens themselves are small but spectacular.
Lehel Market, in the northeastern section of central Pest, is one of my favorite markets. You can get everything there, and it’s very economical.
The meat counters. In the bottom left corner, you can see two people eating lángos, the delicious fried dough of Hungary. I could smell it from where I was standing.
The main market hall, where fruits and vegetables are sold. Unlike the big market, this one is mostly full of people from Budapest.
Last night I dreamed that I was leaving Budapest, and I woke up happy that it wasn’t true and then was sad that it will be in slightly more than a week.
I’m sure you realize that what I have presented to you here is a somewhat slicker, neater version of my real life, which has a lot more homework and angst and vacuuming (seriously, who knew you had to vacuum once a week or else have black feet constantly?) and lying-on-my-bed-reading that you might not find interesting. I don’t write about my feelings much.
It just means ‘upper castle’, and the one in Prague is not quite so high or gothic as the one in North Hungary, but it does have some spectacular views.
I spent most of Sunday walking through the parks and gardens of Prague, inadvertently making a huge circuit of the city (over 10 k, I’m glad I brought my good shoes). It was kind of grey and gross that day so I didn’t try to photograph everything, but here’s a view from the park looking south up the Moldau:
I woke up at 6:30 on Saturday, due to the large volume of inordinately cheerful Germans who stormed the dormitory. Giving up sleep as a bad job, I hiked over the river, found a hotel who was willing to sell me some time at their buffet, and settled down with three cups of coffee and some bread and jam to wait for a more reasonable hour. By 9, I was ready to go, so I climbed up to the Prague Castle.
The gate was swarming with people waiting for the changing of the guard. It was so weird to be here again after six years–the last time I was in this part of Europe, I was 14 and with my orchestra.
Prague was hot, and crowded, and stuffed with souvenir shops. But even with the crushing hoards of tourists, it still managed to be quite beautiful.
I arrived around 8 on Friday night, after a 7-hour train ride. After checking into my hostel, I headed into the old town to see old town square, and then down to the river to see the bridge.
Stone saints on the 15th-century Charles Bridge.
I’m off to Prague this afternoon for the long weekend–I will post photos when I get back!
I took the train to Viségrad, north of Budapest on Saturday, using my excellent* Hungarian skills to convince the ticket lady to sell me a half-price ticket on the 9:07 regional to the Danube bend. The Danube bend is a big loop made by the river as it winds through the hills that cover the north end of Hungary, and it’s supposed to be lovely. So I trained up to the bend and took the car ferry across the river.
My goal was that fortress up on top of the hill–I had heard that the hike was brisk and the views spectacular. Read the rest of this entry »