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Budapest Walking Tour with the Magyar Horde

The third stop on our honeymoon itinerary was the breathtaking city of Budapest. Often touted as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest is a feast for all the senses with an overabundance in culture, a great nightlife scene, and warm people.

Seven Chieftains of the Magyars

* Founded in 895AD by the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars, Budapest is linguistically and culturally different from the rest of Europe, who can trace their lineage to either the Romance-speaking (Latin), Germanic, or Slavic people. 

Andras Hadik

* It seems that almost every corner of Budapest has a statue or work of art erected in it. Here's a statue of Andras Hadik, a Hungarian nobleman and Field Marshall of the Habsburg Army, who captured the Prussian capital of Berlin during the Seven Years War.

Discover Budapest

* Our tour service that day was conducted by Discover Budapest, an awesome service run by a group of young Hungarians full of enthusiasm and zeal for their beautiful city.

Discover Budapest

* Apart from walking tours, they also offer bicycle and segway tours.

Hungarian State Opera

* Our tour began at the Hungarian State Opera House, designed by Miklos Ybl and located in Central Budapest. Funded by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph, the Opera House was so grand that it rivaled the majesty of the Opera House in Vienna, capital of the Empire. The Emperor was said to have been so upset upon seeing it during the opening, that he stormed out causing a minor scandal to the delight of the Hungarian people.

Hungarian State Opera

* Due to its picturesque beauty and lower wages when compared to other cities in the West, Budapest has often been used as a substitute for other cities in various movies and music videos. In fact, a lot of movies set in Paris, London, and Russia, have actually been Budapest instead.

Hungarian State Opera

* Among the movies shot here are Madonna's Evita (as Buenos Aires), Die Hard V (as Moscow), World War Z, Steven Spielberg's Munich (as Rome, Paris and London), Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, Transporter 3, and music videos like Katy Perry's Firework.

Hungarian State Opera

* A lady with an extremely hip fashion sense taking the bike tour.

Budapest Metro

* Getting around Budapest is convenient with the Budapest Metro, the second oldest underground railway system in the world. First of course, is the London Tube.

Heroes Square

* Hosok Tere, or in English: Heroes' Square, is one of Budapest's major squares and contains the aforementioned monument to the Seven Magyar Chieftains.

Heroes Square

* Me, my woman, and the Magyar horde!

Heroes Square

* Surrounding the Magyar Chieftains are sculptures showcasing the various Hungarian Kings of great importance. Among these are Stephen I (leftmost, converted himself and the entire Kingdom of Hungary to Catholicism), Andrew II (third from right, led a Crusade), and Bela IV (second from right, rebuilt the country after the Mongol invasion).

Heroes Square

* On the other side of the square, there used to stand statues of the various Emperors of the Habsburg Dynasty, rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but all of these were damaged during World War II and replaced instead by other Hungarian National Heroes.

Hall of Art

* Directly across the square is the neo-classical Hall of Art of Budapest, showcasing contemporary works of art.

Museum of Fine Arts

* And across that, is the Museum of Fine Arts which showcases more classical works of art including Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities.

Vajdahunyad Castle

* Directly behind Heroes' Square is Vajdahunyad Castle, built to showcase different eras of Castle Architectural Design including Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Transylvanian.

City Park Ice Rink

* This Orthodox Cathedral looking building is actually the changing area for the humongous City Park Ice Rink, the largest and oldest ice rink in Europe. Them Hungarians love this place!

Vajdahunyad Castle

* Spectacular Baroque-styled building in the Vajdahunyad Castle Complex. 

Vajdahunyad Castle

* No wonder movie production crews love it here! This could easily pass for a building in Paris or Rome.

Vajdahunyad Castle

* Creepy and extremely lifelike! We stared at this for quite some time, waiting for it to do something.

Vajdahunyad Castle

* My favorite architectural style in Vajdahunyad was this Transylvanian one. Looks like a home Dracula could call his own.

Szechenyi Baths

* A short walk through the park brings us to the Szechenyi Medicinal Bath Complex. Budapest has over 80 geothermal springs, and this one is the city's most popular and grand.

Szechenyi Baths

* The Hungarians love their Bath culture! Apart from the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of the baths itself, the Complex is a great place to socialize, gossip, or just play a game of chess.

St. Stephen Basilica

* Going back to the city center, we stop by the huge Basilica of St. Stephen. Stephen I, who was the first King of Hungary, was responsible for converting the entire kingdom to Catholicism. Today, his right hand is stored in the reliquary.

Reteshaz Restaurant

* When visiting Budapest, make sure to try its signature dish: the strudel! Our guide took us to this restaurant frequented by all the locals.

Reteshaz Restaurant

* Fancy looking restroom sink!

Hungarian Strudel

* The strudel is a layered pastry with a sweet filling. Popular throughout the former members of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the strudel is similar to the Turkish baklava. 

Budapest Statues

* This odd statue of a girl (fairy?) cleaning (?) a gentleman's ear made me chuckle.

Budapest Statues

* Check out that epic cloak! I wish we could wear something like that here but alas our country is just too humid.

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