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Castle Hill explorations

Budapest


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Yesterday I relaxed all day, following the cricket - the first day of the 4th Ashes Test. I couldn't stop grinning at Stuard Broad's heroics!After another excellent performance by England today, we almost certain to win this match and therefore the series.

Today I went back to Castle Hill (via the metro for the first time; it was easy to use), but I didn't visit as many places as I'd intended to because I woke up later than expected. I didn't get much sleep last night because I couldn't get to sleep to begin with, and had only managed to doze off when the other two girls in my dorm got back at about 3 am, which woke me up. They were a bit inconsiderate actually, talking to each other for ages and loudly moving their stuff around. It was past 4 o'clock by the time they eventually got into bed and stopped talking and I didn't fall back asleep for a long time afterwards. Then at 8 o'clock they got up, waking me up in the process, packed their stuff and left. I dozed off again and didn't wake up properly until about 10!

Anyway, the first place I went to on the hill was the church of St Matthias. This has a very distinctively coloured and patterned roof, and is also very colourful inside. It was originally build at the end of the 14th century, restored in the 19th and renovated in the 20th after damage from WWII. It contains the tomb of the 12th century king Béla III - the only royal tomb to survive the Ottoman period in Hungary, apparently.

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After that I walked around the Fisherman's Bastion next door. This is a terrace shaped a bit like a battlement, with seven small towers representing the seven Magyar tribes that entered the Carpathian Basin in the late 9th century. Made photogenically from white stone, it was built at the beginning of the 20th century. Although my camera batteries were nearly dead by now, I managed to get out a few of the bastion itself and the wonderful panoramic views of the Budapest, the Danube and the hills beyond. I also caught a small changing of the guard ceremony.

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I was incredibly hot and sweaty by now, so the first thing I did after visiting the post office was go underground! I visited the Labyrinth, which is an extensive series of tunnels within Castle Hill. These tunnels have been used for various purposes for hundreds of years - wine storage, prison, torture chambers and as a major production centre for stonecutting and carving. Apparently Vlad Tepes, who became known as Vlad the Impaler (and whose birthplace I visited in Sighisoara), was imprisoned here for a period of 10 - 14 years. When released he set out on the monstrous acts of cruelty he is known for today.

It was already late afternoon by the time I left the Labyrinth, so I took the funicular down and then walked back to the hostel via Spar. I'm going to go out for lunch tomorrow instead of having a sandwich like I've done most days in Budapest so far - I'm going to make sure to have goulash!

It looks like I will have to go case-buying in the morning, unfortunately. The gaping split in my case is so major it cannot be fixed. I wrapped it in black tape for now, but I don't think I can trust that to remain in place over the flight. I might as well get a new case here, where it's likely to be cheaper than if I try to get the old case back and then buy a new one in the UK.

Posted by 3Traveller 04:41 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest hostel hungary funicular changing_of_the_guard

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