Budapest has long been a city of suffering and oppression, and their tortured history seems to loom large in the public consciousness. Yet there has been little to suggest that the people of Budapest and further afield haven’t taken full advantage of what they have been given, be it paprika and coffee from the invading Turks, or the natural geothermal energy in the form of their majestic baths. While the Soviet rule is still fresh in people’s memories, so much so that nostalgia for communist rule still lurks beneath the citizens’ busy lives, there is little to suggest that the energy and optimism of Budapest will not allow the city to progress from the red shadow. The ruin bars and pop-up galleries are certainly testament to Budapest’s surely brighter future.
With more time…
When the Soviets evacuated from Budapest with the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Hungarian government was left with a quandary of what exactly to do with the domineering statues left in the city. The solution was to move the monuments to an open-air sculpture park, a powerful reminder of the days of Soviet supremacy. The museum aims to present an often-surreal look at iconography and symbolism of the communist era. The park is located about an hour outside of Budapest and can be easily reached by public transport.
Buda Hills are home to an intricate subterranean cave system. For the more adventurous, caving in the Pál-völgyi caves is possible within the neighbouring Duna-Ipoly National Park. “Caving” can range from a leisurely 45-minute walk through the caverns, to 3-hour expeditions in the darkness, requiring helmets and protective suits.
For a day trip outside Budapest, it is best to visit one of the many towns adorning the Danube’s vast bends. One such town is Visegrád, best known for its Royal Palace and ornamental churches. Neighbouring the town is the Pilis Protected Area, a nature reserve offering hikes through forested areas.