A brief tour of Budapest

I know, it’s a bit off-topic for a Berlin blog — das Berlin blog — but it’s where I was this weekend. Here goes:

The train station, my first glimpse of Budapest, looks like it hasn’t changed since the 1950s:

By contrast, Castle Hill, the main attraction on the quiet Buda side of the Danube, is quite lovely:

Even better are the views of the gorgeous Parliament building, on the Pest side, from Castle Hill:

The coolest aspect of Budapest’s nightlife is the so-called ruins bars, dilapidated apartment buildings that were gutted to create semi-outdoor bars with a funky atmosphere. Here’s one, with my host Tyler in the foreground, looking a bit demonic:

This fairground/museum was built in all the different major historical architectural styles (it’s hard to tell, but it’s all connected):

Hungarians are really into their national heroes. And here’s their main hangout, Heroes’ Square:

Budapest has a surprisingly vibrant Jewish quarter, anchored by this synagogue, the largest in Europe. Of course, it was closed for the Christian holiday:

The one thing that mercifully wasn’t closed for Pentecost was the magnificent St. Stephen’s Basilica:

Remember how I said Hungarians are really into their national heroes? Right. Well the glowing guy up front isn’t Jesus; he’s St. Stephen:

In fact, Jesus isn’t really anywhere to be found in the church. But, unusually, God is:

Wait, don’t get too close!

The steps to the top of the basilica are many, but the views are worth it:

But for Americans, Budapest is a long way from home. And so when homesickness starts to kick in, it’s always nice to see a familiar face:

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