Okay, so I guess it’s obvious from that title that I was feeling very indecisive about which travel destination to pick for B in the A-Z Challenge. And that ultimately I just threw my hands in the air (like I just don’t care) and said I’ll do both. I’ve justified it to myself because the trip I took to Europe last year started in Berlin and finished in Budapest 🙂 For those interested my trip took me from Berlin in Germany, through Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and finished in Budapest, Hungary. It wasn’t a particularly long trip, I would’ve liked to extended it and head further south, but it packed a lot into what time I had.
Berlin is a city I’ve always wanted to visit. That’s saying a lot because readers of mine will know I prefer wide open landscapes to cityscapes. But Berlin has always fascinated me, it’s a city with so much history and it has undergone numerous “rebirths” in its time. I was staying in a district called Friedrichshain, which is in the former East Berlin. It’s a trendy up and coming type of place – lots of little cafes and markets, transportation around here was pretty easy (then again, public transport in Berlin is easy in general) but it did still feel like it was lagging behind the district of former West Berlin. Time will fix that. I mean, Berlin was only just reunited recently in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall (you know, I can even remember watching it happen on the news). And that was one of my highlights, walking along the East Side Gallery, seeing the murals and artwork left on that massive expanse of what is left of the Berlin Wall. But the rich history of Berlin does not stop there. I stood before that iconic symbol of the city, The Brandenburg Gate, and marveled at the architecture of The Reichstag Building. The Holocaust memorial, with its sombre concrete blocks is only a short distance away. The multitude of church spires and museums, new buildings and ruined remains of some still scarred from the war. I had but a few days in Berlin but I would return for it felt comfortable and welcoming, and was a great starting point for my trip.
Budapest seemed to offer such as much as Berlin in terms of sightseeing, and unhappily for me I had limited time there. Budapest is basically two halves – Buda & Pest – which are joined in the middle by the River Danube. I was staying on the Pest side, just a short walk from the main road and right near the city’s wonderful old subway system. My first stop was the Hosok Tere (Hero’s Square) adorned with the statues national leaders, from there to some old churches and the thermal baths, before hopping back on the subway and heading to Buda’s Old Town. The highlight here, perched imposingly on the hills, is the 13th century Buda Castle. I started my walk with a visit to St Stephen’s Basilica (built 1851), before crossing the river (be sure to check out the Shoes on the Danube memorial here) and beginning the steady climb up the hill to the Castle and beyond it to the intricately designed 14th century Matthias Church. For those not interested in climbing the hill on foot, there is a funicular available (you can thank me later!).
This post makes up part of my contribution to the April 2017 A to Z Challenge
Click Here for a list and links to all my challenge posts
And if you’d like to revisit my 2016 challenge post for “B’, here’s the link Snapshot – Boulders Beach