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Published: July 20th 2017
After taking full advantage of the breakfast at the hotel we set off to explore as much of the city as possible. We crossed over Liberty Bridge to start in Buda & wandered up the west bank of the Danube until we reached the castle gardens when we headed up the hill. We climbed up to the Castle Musuem and planned to walk along the top of Castle Hill past the Royal Palace but the rote was closed (possibly for some ceremony or concert?) so we had to come all the way back down then up again partly along the Király lépcső (Royal Steps) & partly taking less steep side paths (there was a long queue for the funicular).
We walked to the north side of the Royal Palace (via some souvenir stalls) then back towards Matthias Church & the Fishermen's Bastion where we admired the view. We then pottered down some back streets to a pancake place recommended by the Lonely Planet guide. The rather surly lady there told us the nice long menu was off ("no!" points to A4 sheet selotaped to side of counter) so no chestnut crepe for me but what they did have were tasty. We
then headed back to the Danube and crossed back to Pest by the Chain bridge.
We detoured past St Stephens Basilica for Jamie then headed down Andrássy út to visit the Terror House
. This building was the headqauarters for the fascist Arrow Cross during WWII and afterwards the communist ÁVH (which was similar to the Soviet Union KGB secret police) but since 2002 has contained exhibits related to both the facist and comminist regimes and is a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in this very building. It was rather harrowing to see and hear how much many of the people of Hungary suffered until fairly recently (the communist regime lasted for 40 years) but I'm glad we went.
As an antidote to the sombre mood this produced we continued up Andrássy út in the sun to Hero's Square & the City Park beyond where we had ice creams and wondered around the beautiful Vajdahunyad Castle. We also caught of glimpse of the synchronized swinning teams practicing for the competitions that were taking place in the city this week. By this time we were rather tired and hungry so headed back
towards the city centre to Hachapuri
, where we'd admired the look of the food on our waty past earlier. It was only once we were in that we realised it was a Georgian restaurant, the food was so good it's now on my list of places to visit! So much in the menu looks delicious (they had large photos) but we stuck with a shared platter of walnut balls and aubergine rolls to start with followed by their "destination menus" - a selection of 3 stews, 2 salads, rice and bread - as they had a vegetarian version. We tried a bit of everything and it was lovely! Even the mushrooms were good (& I'm not a huge an of mushrooms). Feeling rather stuffed, & being the party animals we are, we headed back towards our hotel to crash! On the way Jamie insisted we get chimney cakes & somehow we found stomach room to eat ice-cream filled chimney cakes whilst walking back! They were great!
Oh & Jamies smart phone told us we'd walked over 20km during the day!
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