May Day is a public holiday celebrated in many European nations, Hungary included. We had no idea it was a holiday until we started to wander and lots of places were closed.
Not wanting to overly tire our legs with 20 km of walking (we have a big week of riding ahead), we decided to purchase a ticket for the local hop on, hop off bus. That’s when we found it was a holiday as a number of the scheduled stops were closed.
We did a few different bus loops and noted the routes had changed too. We just could not get to stop No 1! So we got off and walked!
On the purple route, this is Nyugati station.
Crossing over Elizabeth bridge, looking downstream you can see the Castle. We were hoping the bus would head up to the Citadel (per mapped route) but no.
Passing the base of the Castle was the furnicular. We decided we would head back there later to travel up.
Later I read that bombing destroyed it ( and most of the Castle) during WWII and it remained unrepaired until the mid 1980’s. It is also the second oldest funicular in the world.
We hopped off the bus here and walked over the famous Chain Bridge.
The Chain Bridge was the first permanent bridge constructed over the Danube in 1849, a year after the Hungarian Revolution. It connected Buda with Pest.
The bridge was blown up in 1945 by the retreating Germans during the Siege of Budapest, with only the towers remaining. It was rebuilt, and reopened in 1949.
Looking back over the bridge towards the Castle, you can see the furnicular on the right hand side.
Scanning to right hand side of the bridge, you can see the spire from Matthias Church.
The following pictures show fairly typical local architecture.
This edifice is at the base of the hill up to the Citadel. We will ride past here tomorrow as we head out of Budapest…I think!
Another view of the Castle.
In frustration at multiple attempts to catch the bus to the main get off point for the Basilica, we walked again.
Many streets were closed, barriers installed, heavy security. Further on media were everywhere with multiple long arm booms.
We figured there was a race of some type happening soon. We were hoping bikes but came across a range of vehicles on display.
Dakar racing trucks.
Not sure what type these were…they were not the F1 but looked similar.
The ridgy didge Aston Martin Red Bull F1 were a little further up the street, ten people deep viewing them. We gave up!
A google search revealed that there is an annual ‘race’ held on the streets of Budapest for May Day. Whilst there were barriers in place, we felt it would be more of a display as the course just did not seem suitable for F1 (or trucks for that matter) at any massive speed.
Nagy Futam, ‘The Great Race’ we later watched on tv in our hotel room. Max Verstappen was in his F1 Aston Martin Red Bull car effectively doing donuts on the streets of Budapest. Aussie favourite Daniel Ricciardo participated when he was a team member too.
Fighting our way out of the masses, we finally found the Basilica. This is the rear view.
Very impressive inside. Construction was predominantly mid 1800’s.
This is from the front of the Basilica.
Wandering back over the Chain Bridge…..
What a coloutful bike!
We ttavelled by furnicular up to the Castle precinct.
Can you see the real bird on the metal bird?
The next few photos are of various aspects within the Castle grounds. The Castle hosts both an art gallery and museum.
We have had enough of this tourist game and want to ride our bikes! Heading back down the levels…..
Looking towards the Citadel.
Near the steps to the descending furnicular.
On road level we took a fancy to these motorised scooters.
Budapest is a vibrant city with some great architecture and of course, the Danube. Notwithstanding, we are really looking forward to tomorrow and escaping the density and big city crowds. Rest days are all very well but we hanker to continue our cycling odyssey.
For dinner we visited a local pancake parlour where you can have a sweet or savoury pancake for around 400 huff. That equates to $2.25 aud.
We intend to have an early night so we can be at breakfast early, and hopefully be on the road by 7.30 am.
So it is goodnight from me and I will leave you with this fantastic evening view of the Hungarian Parliament. I took this over the road from our hotel. Magical vision.