Europe 1987

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan 2018

Europe 1987

Today was my birthday – what a brilliant location Budapest is to spend a birthday!  The weather was fine and sunny, but windy.

After a very basic breakfast, we crossed the Danube River on foot by walking across the Petőfi híd bridge and then caught the tram into the city centre where we did some exploring on foot, including a visit to a department store.  We had lunch on a patio cafeteria of the Skála Metro department store that overlooked Marx Square, a fascinating, busy, multi-layered intersection located at the intersection of Váci utca and Lenin körút (to be re-named Teréz körút several years after our visit), with lovely, elevated side views across to the grand façade of Budapest-Nyugati Railway Station.  After lunch, we took the Metro from the station under the shopping centre and intersection (Marx tér station, later to be re-named Nyugati pályaudvar) back to our accommodation in order to get our passports – necessary to change our money and obtain some forints.

After spending some time in a beautiful park with a children’s playground opposite the Church of Szentimreváros, just over a kilometre west from our accommodation, we took a tram and bus to the Citadel to enjoy the views overlooking the Danube River to the other side of the city, looking down from Buda to Pest.  The views were gorgeous, especially when looking towards Budapest’s Parliament House across the Danube River.

Even better than the views across the river was the castle complex itself which covers a large area with a myriad network of cobble-stoned streets lined with old buildings, museums, churches, souvenir stalls and, perhaps most surprising of all, a Hilton hotel.  The area around Matthias Church, and indeed the Gothic building itself, was especially impressive.  However, the buildings that still had pockmarked facades from the Soviet invasion of 1956 to quell the nationalistic uprising at the time were a sobering reminder of Hungary’s (and Eastern Europe’s) somewhat tortured past.  Surrounded by this rich and varied geography, my birthday was celebrated as we all sat down to enjoy delicious fresh buns with chocolate icing.

Dinner was back at the cafeteria at our student accommodation, followed by a fairly early night.


Day 15


Monday 27 July 1987