A weekend getaway in Budapest

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When I touched down in Budapest International Airport I was feeling rather depressed as the weather outside was drizzling and it’s getting dark. It was a good decision that I booked my airport transfer to hotel online before arriving here as I was travelling alone and didn’t know much about the city and it will be too troublesome to find my way to the city carrying my heavy camera bag and luggage. It was a heavy camera bag with D800E and 3 units of f/2.8 prime lenses and Nikon V1 with 2 lenses.

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After checking in to the Radisson Blu Beke Hotel I went outside to get some local currency as I need some money to get food and mineral water but since it was still raining I was in not mood to walk too far away. Not at good start for my trip to Budapest, which is known to be the most romantic of the Eastern Europe cities. I have already done an online booking for a night walking tour and when I found out the city is much too big to walk within a day I then sign up for a half day Parliament & City tour, which also come with a boat tour on the river Danube.

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The next morning I was really happy to see sunshine and blue sky. Feeling much better after a good night rest I was in high spirit to explore the city after a quick breakfast. Armed with a city map and some location tips from the hotel’s staff I set out for a long walk across the city. Starting my morning walking tour of the city at the railway station and walking toward the river Danube embankment, passing the Parliament then did a round of the Opera and St. Stephen Basilica before returning to my hotel at noon. Budapest is actually a combination of Buda Hills on the west of the river Danube and Pest, which is on the opposite side of the river connected by eight bridges. Both shores of the Danube offer picturesque views and are acknowledged as World Heritage sites.

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In the afternoon I join the city tour, which include a tour of the Parliament House. The Hungary’s largest building has some really interesting architecture inside with impressive staircase and session room. Security is tight as we were guided throughout the tour but at least they allowed us to take photos of the interiors. Lighting condition inside was a big challenge, as I don’t have a tripod and it would also be inconvenient to have one (actually I am not sure if it’s allowed). We then continued our tour to the Buda side of the city, stopping at the Matthias Church and then making a stop at Gellert Hill, which offers panoramic views of the city.

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Budapest_DSC5320The following morning I went for the river cruise that sailed down the Danube River toward Margaret Island and back to Pier 11. Took a break at one of the cafes and bars till evening when I join the walking tour, which was not actually interesting as I have over the last 2 day explored most of the places included in the walking tour. The evening cruise, which is the highlights of the tour started at 9pm, is too late as it is too dark to see and to take photos. For those who wanted to take picture I suggest a walk along both banks of the river Danube during sunset and twilight, which will gives you much more rewarding photos opportunity.

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