After deciding to stay one more day in Budapest, today Jamaliah and Rudy went first across the Chain Bridge to the other side of the city, Pest. This is the interesting part. It seems that every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) in the summer, this Chain Bridge is converted to a Pedestrian Mall.

Stalls selling souvenirs and food/drinks/beers are set up along the length of the bridge with on each end a platform where local bands showcased their music. Very festive atmosphere. The last time we saw something like this was in Prague, years ago. In Pest we walked along the riverfront (as much as we can. They didn’t have a proper walkway along this area as they did on the Buda side of the river) towards the impressive Parliament House. We were hoping to be able to see the inside of it as we did in Bucharest. According to the Guide Book there are guided tours available. Unfortunately when we got there, the ticket line was very long and moving very slowly. The guard only allowed one or two people in each time to buy tickets and then you still have to queue up to get inside the building. We decided to skip this and instead walked around the outside of the building. The buildings in Pest are mostly made at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. As part of the Habsburg Empire it must have gone through a golden age and a building craze. Some of the buildings are in jugenstil stile and have lovely sculptures on the outside. From the parliament building here we went to St. Stephen’s Basilica (1905). Only part of the church is open to the public today. The main church area is being reserved for wedding ceremony. We saw three weddings while we are here. The inside of the Church is decorated in Baroque style. Over the top with paintings and gold glided altars. The church has a 96 meter high neo-Renaissance dome in which you can either use the staircase (over 300 steps) or use the elevator to go to the top. We, being very fit of course, decided to use the stairs. By the time we reached the top, we discovered that we are definitely not fit at all. From here we have a 360 degree view of the city.

Our next stop was the twin-towered synagogue (1859), the largest functioning synagogue in Europe. Again we were disappointed. The synagogue is open to the public only on weekdays. We then walked back to the Chain Bridge to go across to Buda to visit the rest of the city (we only saw the west half of the town yesterday). We visited the Palace of Buda Castle which houses the National Gallery, Historical Museum and Museum of Contemporary History. We were just in time to get inside the building when it started raining heavily. Having visited a lot of Archeological museums in previous countries, you have to make a major adjustment in your thinking when visiting modern style gallery/museum. To me, archeological museum makes sense and modern gallery showing naked statues and paintings gives me a headache.

Tomorrow we are off to Vienna and onwards to Munich. There is a fairy tale like Castle (Neuschwanstein Castle) that we would like to visit around Munich. Hopefully we can easily find it using our car GPS.