Our luggage had arrived overnight, better late than never! After breakfast we rode the Buda Castle Funicular down the hill to the Chain Bridge then took a ride on Europe’s first ever Metro system, Line One. The original 19th century route still operates today using 40 year old trains with polished wooden seats and wood panelled stations. The line now has world heritage status and is used by both tourists and local commuters.
This line took us to the Szechenyi Baths which resemble a baroque palace and face City Park which was being used as an outdoor ice skating rink during our visit.
There are indoor thermal baths, steam baths and year round outdoor pools. The temperature of the outdoor pool being 27 degrees, and at the far end, a smaller pool with steaming waters averaging 38 degrees. Elderly men were playing chess with a large plastic set in the steaming waters and the adjacent cafe has outdoor tables kept warm by the rising steam clouds.
Next on our agenda today was a visit to the Budapest Parliament building (main picture). It’s a magnificent example of neo-gothic architecture and is the third largest parliament building in the world. As the building is so large we found the best views were to be had from across the river at Batthyany Square.
Feeling hungry we headed to the Great Market Hall at the Pest end of the Chain Bridge. Built in 1897 it’s Budapest’s largest market, spread over three floors selling fresh produce, sausages in every shape and size possible, paprika and the local Takaj wines. Upstairs it’s mainly souvenirs, clothing and leather goods, but the main reason for our visit was to eat in the market cafe. Tables have bright red and white checked tablecloths and a trio in national costumes serenade diners.
We settled on steaming bowls of Hungarian goulash followed by glasses of mulled wine.