Day 83, Saturday, November 16, 2019
These fellows on stilts are drinking alcohol which doesn’t seem like the best combination of activities to me. This is the pedestrian street near our apartment. We visit the Buda side of Budapest today. First stop is the Matthias Church, located in the Holy Trinity Square in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion. It has a beautiful tiled roof and a 60 metre tall bell tower. There are a lot of people here.This is the Fisherman’s Bastion. One theory is that it got its name from the fisherman in the city that was located just below the Bastion. It is also said that the fishermen defended the Bastion in times of war. The Fisherman’s Bastion was built between 1895 and 1902 to celebrate the 1,000th birthday of the Hungarian state.
It is a beautiful panoramic terrace that serves as a lookout point, and also to enhance the beauty of the Matthias Church. One of the many great views from the Bastion.We had to wait a bit to find an arch not filled with other tourists. It often takes a while before I can get a decent photo, which involves deciding where I can get the best view and waiting until vehicles and other people are not in my picture frame. Bob is very patient, waiting for me to take photos. I probably take at least 5 or 6 photos for every one I use in this blog. The Bastion was inspired by the architectural style of the early medieval times. It has many towers and was meant to feel like a fairy tale castle, as it wasn’t built for defence. I am always happy when I find a dragon! These medieval church ruins were built into the modern Hilton Budapest Hotel.The Black Plague caused the death of 30-60% of Europe’s total population in 1691 and 1709. People believed that erecting a column would protect them from the plague. The carving on the top of the column represents the Holy Trinity. Below this the whole column is decorated with smaller statues depicting angels, and saints. The central sculpture shows King David praying to God to let his people avoid the outbreak of a plague. Residents believed the Holy Trinity Column did its job, as the plague never returned after 1709. On our walk to the nearby Buda Castle we pass these Medieval ruins. Beneath some of the ruins there is a wine cellar which offers wine tastings. It is located below the remains of a 13th century Dominican Cloister, which is part of a huge labyrinth system underneath the Castle Hill. King Matthias (1457-1458) adopted the crow as his heraldic emblem after catching one of them stealing a ring, and killing it to get his ring back. These gates are topped with a crow with a ring in its mouth. The gates are very bizarre, almost creepy looking. This is the back side of the Buda Castle… and here is a close up of its fountain. Too bad the water in all the fountains in Budapest has already been turned off for the winter.The front of the Buda Castle with lots of tourists… and a bride and groom taking their wedding photos. I wonder if the photographer has to photoshop out all the tourists? We see a large river cruise ship o the Danube. There are walkways high above Medieval walls. We walk down a flight of stairs below a statue of the Madonna and baby Jesus. When we walk across this bridge we can see these same stairs on the far left side of this photo.It is hard walking on these cobblestones along the river. The sidewalks in Budapest are often uneven, with loose stones and ridges or holes. It would be easy to twist an ankle if you don’t pay attention.
We are walking to this little bookstore that sells handmade journals. Bomo Art is a tiny store, less than 2 metres wide! It didn’t have any larger sketchbooks with good paper for drawing. Too bad, or maybe it was good. My suitcase is already pretty heavy with the two sketchbooks I bought in Linz, and the huge Dürer book I got in Vienna. We watched this street performer for a while and wondered how he was able to hold this difficult pose. We later saw him in a different position but when we walk by again we see a guy lean heavily on him and to our surprise he crumples! Turns out he is a mechanical man! People were putting lots of coins into his can, trying to get him to move. They had no idea they were being tricked into thinking this was a man in costume. It is quite cool at night but it doesn’t stop people from sitting outside drinking beer. One last walk down the decorated street towards the Christmas Market. There are so many more people out on the streets tonight.
We pass a store that has very colourful electric kettles and matching toasters. We stop at one of the stalls and I buy a couple small gifts I have been eyeing every time we walk by. I also took photos of the food stands. Pork hocks are a big item here! We were going to buy a meal here a few days ago but quickly changed our minds when we discovered that one cabbage roll, albeit a big one, would cost us 5,000 Forints, the equivalent of $25 Canadian! A small plate with a sausage and two small helpings of side dishes was $35.00! We were rather shocked at how expensive it was. We saw other tourists change their mind and refuse to purchase what they had ordered when they realized the price. I saw lots of these sparkling balloons and thought they were so pretty. They were even nicer in person than in the photo. We spend the rest of the evening tidying the apartment and packing for our drive to Croatia tomorrow. Oh, and the puppet show we saw ws ‘Coraline’.