On the opposite side of the river to our hotel sits the castle district and the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular which has been in use since 1870. It's a short journey but provides amazing views out over the Danube.
When you get off the funicular, to the right is the Sandor Palace which is the official residence of the Hungarian president. Due to this there are guards on duty outside the palace during the day - when it was time for them to leave a whole troop of soldiers arrived and did a little marching routine which the two on duty joined and then marched off into the distance.
As soon as the guards were out of site all the silly tourists took turns posing as soldiers in the sentry boxes (of course we had to do it, we're tourists).
Whatever country I'm in you know I'm going to find a cat to have a chat to. This one was so laid back, relaxing in the sun with hundreds of tourists walking past.
Outside the royal palace there were lots of fun things going on such as archery practice and there was a spot where you could dress up in royal robes, a crown, and pose on a couple of thrones. Do you think we look suitably royal?
Time for a cake break. I had this decadent looking cream puffy thing - on the menu below, Ken's finger is helpfully pointing out the hungarian for what I ate.
Loved this old iron sign for an antique shop.
There are lots of very traditional statues around Budapest and also a whole park outside the city where they've rehomed all the communist statues - those are for another post. There are also some more interesting and also very moving statues around the city.
This is Attila Jozsef who was a Hungarian poet and he sits on the steps overlooking the river which he wrote about in his poems.
These two statues really amused us. The fat policeman on the left has a very shiny belly as lots of people rub it, supposedly for good luck. I liked how this little girl was studying him very seriously. On the right is the strangest statue we discovered, and yes, your eyes aren't deceiving you, it is Peter Falk as Columbo. I've tried to find out why, and there seems to be some really tenuous link in that Peter Falk did have possible Hungarian roots and the area this statue is in is the Falk district - no proof of a direct link to Budapest has been confirmed. I think it's just one of those decisions that a local council have made when they've been out for lunch with a few glasses of wine - at least it makes people smile.
The next two statues are the moving ones. The first depicting a bag left on a bench is to remember Raoul Wallenberg, a young Swedish diplomat who (as the inscription says) during the war issued Swedish protective passports to Jews. Thousands of people were saved through his personal courage, knowledge and creativity. Raoul Wallenberg was born in 1912. On 17 January 1945 he was abducted by the Soviet Red Army. His fate remains unknown.
This statue of shoes commemorates a really terrible period in Budapest's history. During the second world war the Arrow Cross Militiamen (pro-german & anti-semitic) would round up Jews, make them line up along the banks of the Danube facing the river, and then execute them by shooting. The bodies would fall into the river and be washed away. There are sixty shoes showing that no one was spared as there are children's shoes, working peoples shoes, and high class shoes. Visitors to this spot on the river bank leave flowers and candles in memory of those who died.
Final picture of today's post is me putting my hand into the Danube - I couldn't go all that way and not touch the very famous river.
Until next time, be good, stay safe, and I wonder what famous river you'd like to put your hand in.
Pamela & Ken