Hitting the tracks to Budapest

After a delightful few days of puttering around Bratislava we hop on the train for a few days in Hungary’s capital city Budapest.

I was unaware that although Budapest became a single city with its unification on 17 November 1873, it is essentially three different towns separated by the Danube. Buda and Óbuda – the old towns – on the west bank, with Pest, the more modern city, on the east bank.

It’s about two and a half hours via train between the two cities and trains run frequently.

We stayed in the incredibly stylish Hotel Parlament and as the name suggests it is just a short walk to the impressive Parliament buildings.

Here’s a quick look at the incredible buildings themselves.

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The Parliament Building is in the Gothic Revival style; it has a symmetrical facade and a central dome and 242 sculptures on the walls.

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About one thousand people were involved in construction, during which 40 million bricks, half a million precious stones and 40 kilograms (88 lb) of gold were used.

Construction started in 1885 and the building was inaugurated on the 1000th anniversary of the country in 1896, and completed in 1904. (The architect of the building – unsurprisingly – went blind before its completion.)

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During the Communist regime, the government added a large red star to the central steeple at the dome of the building, but after its downfall, the star was removed from the steeple.

Here’s the Parliament in all its glory as seen from the Fisherman’s Bastion (of that more later) across the mighty Danube.

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