Bridges, Funiculars, and Frida Kahlo

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On my second day in Budapest, I ventured across the Danube by crossing the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, which, after it was opened in 1849, was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in all of Hungary. It was still pretty early when I went across, so I could enjoy the view from it in relatively quiet peace, though it was vibrating the whole time with the passage of cars from one side to the other.

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As you might already know, the city of Budapest is actually comprised of three cities – Buda, Óbuda, and Pest – which merged together officially into Budapest in 1873, thus becoming the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire alongside Vienna.

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While the Pest side of the city is relatively flat, Buda is ridden with hills and slopes. And while you can certainly reach the top, home to the Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle, by walking, I don’t understand why you would, and it’s not just because I’m allergic to exercise. It’s because there’s a funicular.

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For about 4 euro (for a one way trip, round-trip is about 6 euro) you get to ride these tiny little cars all the way up to the top of the hill, no huffing and puffing necessary, and get to be greeted by this view, which feels like a win-win to me.

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Buda certainly feels older than its counterpart across the river, at least the area that I got to see. While most of Budapest feels like a normal European city, this side of it felt quaint and small, with tiny buildings and cobble-stone streets.

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The Fisherman’s Bastion was foremost in my mind as I made my way through the little streets of Buda, but I got a little distracted along the way…

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Apparently, there was originally a church on this site dating to the 11th century, though no archaeological remains have been found to back up this claim. The current building has been standing since the 13th century, after the Mongols destroyed the original structure. It was renamed to Matthias Church, after King Matthias, who ordered the transformation of its original southern tower in the 19th century.

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Its interior is even more overwhelmingly gorgeous.

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And, luckily enough, it is right next to the Fisherman’s Bastion.

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I was never quite sure what the Fisherman’s Bastion actually was, I just thought it was so gorgeous that I needed to see it one day. It’s a lookout point, basically, or a terrace complex, a decorative fortification that serves simply to give you some of the best views of Pest around. And what views…

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After all these shenanigans, and a stop at the Ruszwurm Café, I made my way to Buda Castle, which currently houses the Hungarian National Gallery and The Budapest History Museum, though I only had time to visit the former.

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They were hosting a Frida Kahlo exhibition, which made me really happy as I adore her work. The lady who sold my ticket asked me if I was a student and then, suspiciously, if I didn’t happen to be under 26 so she could give me a discount. Alas, my school days are over and I am old.

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The rest of the museum’s collection was also lovely, though I had to rush through it, which was a shame. Posting Instagram stories about all the silly-looking art I come across takes time, you know.

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