Maybe this is common knowledge, but I had no idea until I got to the city of Budapest that it got its name when the city of Buda and the city of Pest were connected by a bridge over the mighty Danube that flows right through the middle. Which means the city could have easily been named Pestbuda and wouldn’t have sounded half as cool as it does now. Unlike Vienna which completely ignores the Danube, Budapest celebrates the beautiful gushing river. Stunning bridges across this gorgeous river connect the hilly city of Buda to the flat city of Pest.
From a curb appeal and architectural charm point of view, Budapest as a city is second to none. The massive and imposing historical buildings of Budapest make it a delightful city to walk around.
This part of the city also has this amazing site called The hospital in the rocks which was a hospital created in the caverns under the Buda Castle in Budapest in the 1930s. The hospital was heavily used during WWII and during the uprising in Budapest against the Soviets in 1956. During the Cuban missile crisis, parts of the hospital were even repurposed as nuclear bunkers. The hospital today has been converted to a museum and still has equipment and air filtration system from the original hospital. Fortunately they don’t allow photography inside the caves and so you will have to go there to check it out. And it’s pretty darn cool!!
During my long walk to the Hero’s square, I also got to march along with an activist group that’s called Ligetvedok, which stands for “Save the trees”. I had no idea what the Hungarian government was doing to the trees, but it was a peaceful protest and they had great percussion going on and about a couple of thousand of tree huggers, which are my fav kind of people, marching happily and giving fist bumps to the police that were also tapping their feet to the beats and managing traffic. So why the hell not.
A great way to end the day in Budapest is to go soak in one of the many natural hot springs that flow beneath the hills of Buda and are accessible through many of the baths/spas in the city. The hotel I was staying at, called Gellert Danube had a whole bunch of these hot spring pools. Perfect end to a long day of walking!