Posted by: Alex MacGregor | June 12, 2015

Buda, on the West Bank of the Danube

My 2015 adventure: Eastern Europe. The starting point, Budapest. Or, specifically, Buda, the western side of the Danube River (and bearing virtually no resemblance to that Montenegrin party hotspot Budva Caroline and I plodded through five years ago).

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Buda is the hillier, less urban side of the Danube, which separates what once were two distinct towns.

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Unlike busy Pest, Buda is the side with fairytale European streets…

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…and the shimmering palace atop the mountain.

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The Gothic Cathedral truly is something to behold.

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Fisherman’s Bastion, a particularly ornate stretch of the old city’s walls, so-named because it was defended by the local fishermen.

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Nowadays its towers provide the backdrop for many scenic photographs…

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…and what must be one of the more picturesque cafes on the continent!

Buda, to be honest, wasn’t my favorite side of the river, with its throngs of tourists and what felt like a pretty vanilla atmosphere.

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But it definitely excels in one area: views across the river to Pest.

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For one, it’s got a great view of what most be one of the coolest-looking Capitol buildings anywhere.

b_bastionviewFrom the mountain above or the river below, it is an amazing backdrop to any picture!

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One of the more striking memorials I’ve seen, of a teenaged fighter in the 1956 uprisings against the communist government. The government waited until his 18th birthday to put him to his death.

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To get an even more amazing view of the city, take trail up to the Citadela.

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Castle Hill from the trail.

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The lumbering Citadela was built in the mid-1800s by the Austrian rulers. It was seen by locals more as a mechanism to control the population than to defend the city from outsiders. Without a clear military purpose, it fell into a state of disuse and flux in the 20th century, and was used for all manner of purposes: as lower-income housing, as a Nazi fortification, and as a Soviet control center.

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Now it serves mainly as a monument and scenic overlook.

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And the complete view, with Buda on the left and Pest on the right!

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