The Corgis and Wasps of Budapest

So… it’s been a while. Last time I posted here was over a year ago, which means there are a whooping 0 posts from 2018, which is… pretty accurate.

There were some trips, though, can’t say there weren’t, so I’ll make my very best effort to share those on here. Starting with Budapest, a city that had been calling out to me for years, and which I finally visited during a still kind-of-warm autumn but which enchanted me completely.

I hadn’t traveled by myself in a while, the last time having been Helsinki (another trip I haven’t shared on here, yikes), and while I do love traveling with friends and family, there’s just something about spending time in a city all by yourself. You create a private connection with the place that you’re just not able to do when you’re accompanied by other human beings.

The first thing I did after checking into the hotel, which was pretty centrally located and allowed me to explore the whole of Budapest on foot, was walk down to the Danube and follow it all the way to the Hungarian Parliament Building.

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This view made feel, uncannily, like I was back in Prague and looking out to Prague Castle across the Vltava. It only lasted for a second, but it was enough to soften me up and make me all that more susceptible to Budapest’s charm.

And then… I arrived.

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I mean, come on. It is so much more beautiful in person than I ever imagined it would be, and, what’s more, it’s huge. Largest-building-in-Hungary huge, tallest-building-in-Budapest huge. 

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The only way one can go inside the Hungarian Parliament Building is to book a tour. While waiting for my turn, I went to get a bite to eat at IÑEZ Bagel Shop, which was closing as I purchased my food (massive fail on my part, I thought they closed an hour later), but the guy working there was kind enough to let me eat while he cleaned up the place. There was no need to tell me to hurry, mostly because there was a wasp flying around a couple of seats next to me, but I made it out alive and I’m here to share with you my story.

Also, I saw a corgi. In person. For the first time in my life. Alas, the pupper’s owner was in a hurry and much too far away from me, so I did not pet. The sadness that is my life.

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The tour of the building interior took a little under an hour, and it was nightfall by then, which means I got to see it all lit up. I did not go back to see what it looks like during the day, but I imagine it’s equally beautiful.

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Construction began in 1885, following the instructions of Imre Steindl, who won an international competition to see who would design a building that would express the sovereignty of the nation. Though completed in 1904, the building was inaugurated in 1896 in order to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of Hungary.

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The building is 268 m (879 ft) long and 123 m (404 ft) wide, and its interior includes 10 courtyards, 13 elevators, 27 gates, 29 staircases, and 691 rooms, out of which more than 200 are offices. The dome is 96 m (315 ft) tall, which makes it one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest, right alongside Saint Stephen’s Basilica. This number is symbolic, as it was a reference to the country’s 1000th anniversary, 1896, as well as the conquest of what became the Kingdom of Hungary in 896.

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The Dome Hall, which houses the crown jewels, was quite possibly the most stunning room of all. And, of course, they allowed absolutely no photography in it.

Luckily, the Hungarian Parliament website has a gallery. Sneaky, sneaky.

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When I saw it, it was much darker, but no less stunning. That chandelier in the center is so large that a man is able to climb down inside it to change all the lightbulbs in it. That pretty much tops the list of jobs I would never want to have. 

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Am I the only one who makes playlist for when they travel somewhere? I find this helps me hold onto the feel of a place in a way that photographs just can’t. I think I’ll start sharing mine alongside pictures from now on.

Next stop — Buda!

2 thoughts on “The Corgis and Wasps of Budapest

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