A Day on the Pest Side of Budapest

posted by Sharon October 28, 2018 33 Comments
szechenyi baths Budapest

Budapest is a city split down the middle by the Danube river. It was two separate cities until 1873. The Buda side of Budapest, with its Castle District, is hilly and green. It has more open space and forested land. The Pest side is a bustling urban center. Even though Budapest is now united, you’ll notice that the two have a different feel, a different vibe. If you have two days in Budapest, you may want to devote a day to each side of the river. We walked back and forth over the Chain Bridge many times in our two days here, but we basically spent the first day in Buda and the second in Pest. Here are some of the most memorable sights I found in Pest.

Tram No. 2

The cheery yellow Tram No. 2 plies its way back and forth along the Danube. I read before our trip that some people like to hop on the tram and simply ride along the river bank, seeing the sights from the comfort of a soft seat. You can ride as long as you like, though you will get off at the end of the line and get back on a tram going the other way to carry on. The tram winds behind the massive Parliament building and otherwise follows the river. It’s fun, cheap, and a way to sit with locals and “pretend” to be one.

Budapest Tram 2Budapest Tram 2Budapest Tram 2

Shoes on the Danube

This moving memorial on the Pest side of the river is one you will never forget. What you see is 60 pairs of rusted shoes in the styles of the 1940s, cast out of iron. These represent the Jewish people of Budapest who were killed here during World War II. The shoes are different sizes and styles because no Jews were spared, no matter their age, profession, or status. The baby shoes are particularly poignant. Budapest Shoes on Danube

Budapest Shoes on DanubeBudapest Shoes on DanubePlaques with text in Hungarian, English, and Hebrew read, “To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944–45.” Budapest Shoes on Danube

People leave flowers here, and ribbons, memorial stones, and candles. You’ll find locks of love on the shoes, too. A woman behind me sobbed helplessly. May we never forget.

Budapest Shoes on Danube  Budapest Shoes on DanubeBudapest Shoes on Danubejkl;da

The Museum of Terror

This museum is in the building that housed the political prison of the fascists during World War II and then the Soviets during the Cold War. One of the most chilling aspects of this “Memorial to Political Terror” is that it looks like any other residence along the main street in Pest. It’s on the lovely, tree-lined Andrassy Street. Right in the middle of cafes, hotels, apartments, and schools, the oppressors imprisoned, tortured, and killed their victims. This is another place in Budapest that stands as a memorial to innocents killed here. Museum of Terror Budapest

Museum of Terror BudapestOn the outside of the building now are small photo plaques paying tribute to those who died after taking part in the uprising of 1956. Museum of Terror Budapest

DSC03385Museum of Terror BudapestMuseum of Terror BudapestMuseum of Terror BudapestInside, photos of hundreds of victims line the walls in the shadow of a tank. Your audio tour informs you of the atrocities of the rulers as you move from room to room. You end up in the basement in the cells where victims were hanged. It’s difficult to take in the immensity of the suffering that took place here. But I think it’s also important to try.  Museum of Terror Budapest Museum of Terror Budapest Museum of Terror Budapest Museum of Terror Budapest Museum of Terror Budapest Museum of Terror Budapest Museum of Terror Budapest Museum of Terror Budapest

Outside the museum stands a representation of the Iron Curtain. This wall of chains symbolizes the terrorist grip of the Soviets on Hungary for so many years. Nearby is a section of the Berlin Wall, representing the breakup of that reign of terror. Museum of Terror Budapest

Museum of Terror BudapestMuseum of Terror Budapest

The Baths

After a morning focusing on the dark side of history here, we were ready to let our minds “float” for a while.

Budapest is renowned for its natural mineral water springs. The country has more than 1,000 natural springs, and several of those are in Budapest. Everyone we talked to who had been here told us we must go to the baths. So we did!

We headed for the Szechenyi Baths in Pest, one of the largest medicinal baths in Europe. Imagine 21 pools in and around a Neo-Classical sunny yellow building with an ornate dome. Two thermal wells supply the warm water. Your entrance ticket entitles you to move from pool to pool and test out the different temps of the water and enjoy the decor in the different rooms. Some of the pools are cooled, and you’ll also find saunas. You can relax in soothing warm water to your heart’s content. We splashed in several pools, then came back to the large outdoor pool. This is my favorite because in the middle is a spiral pool with water pressure that pushes you around. I swear everyone going in circles here laughed and screamed with delight. This makes for good, healthy fun in the sun.

szechenyi baths Budapest

Go on an Evening Cruise

If you want a breathtaking view of the Pest side (or the Buda side), book a cruise on the Danube after dark. Seeing the Parliament lit up with a thousand points of light in the water below is a bucket list item for sure. Budapest

Gelato!

We ended our day in Pest at Gelarto Rosa. You can watch as your rose-shaped treat is skillfully made. My favorite flavors of raspberry and dark chocolate made a lovely creation. And it was yummy! Budapest Gelato Rosa

Gelarto Rosa Budapest

As you can see, there’s so much in Pest — and all of Budapest — that will interest you.

How about you? Have you been to Budapest? What are your favorite sights? What would you most like to see on a future trip?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Monday Murals, Pictorial Tuesday, Wednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, Seasons, Our World Tuesday, Photo Friday, Travel Photo Thursday, Weekend Wanderlust, Faraway Files, The Weekly Postcard, Wanderful Wednesday, Feet Do Travel, Weekend Wanderlust, Nanahood, City Tripping, and Weekend Travel Inspiration. Weekend Wanderlust

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33 Comments

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Carmen October 29, 2018 at 5:42 am

The Shoes on the Danube sounds like such a moving experience.

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Van Cast October 29, 2018 at 6:13 am

Such an interesting city! So much history. The shoes on the Danube Bank is very tough 🙁

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Heidrun October 29, 2018 at 6:28 am

A wonderful Post for Image-In-Ing. Interesting to read – but terrible remembering. Especially to lonely shoes of a child.

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Nicole October 29, 2018 at 6:41 am

The shoes are an interesting way to commemorate a site. The museum reminded me of the Holocaust museum in Warsaw, Poland.

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Carol October 29, 2018 at 7:19 am

A sad post especially in light of the attack on a synagogue in Pennsylvania. Thanks for sharing Sharon

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Jarek October 29, 2018 at 10:18 am

Such an interesting post!

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Nidhi Saraf October 29, 2018 at 6:16 pm

Amazing pictures and looks like a lovely city!!! Thank you

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Sasa S. October 29, 2018 at 1:15 pm

Beautiful post. It is time to go to Buda-Pest.

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Molly October 29, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Wow those shoes are a very powerful reminder of what happen

Mollyx

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Andrea October 29, 2018 at 5:52 pm

OMG thanks for all those information. It seems like a joke but i didn’t know that it is composed of Buda and Pest. Wonderful photos and descriptions. But i always shun away from those kinds of museum as i feel the heavy energy still clinging to the objects. This post is amazing.

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klara October 29, 2018 at 9:33 pm

such an intresting city. well written post.

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image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup October 30, 2018 at 4:07 am

Fascinating post, fascinating photos.
Thanks for joining us this week at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/10/home-made-ravioli-first-attempt.html

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Margie DQ October 30, 2018 at 4:25 am

So much history here! Budapest is on my list of Eastern European cities to visit. I really enjoyed your pictures. #citytripping

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Photo Cache October 30, 2018 at 6:19 am

Beautiful photos and a fascinating city.

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Usha Sitaaraam October 30, 2018 at 6:39 am

Wonderful post, so informative. I found the photos of shoes and the words so moving and also about the iron curtain. A very evocative post, thoroughly enjoyed reading it and thank you so much for sharing this. #citytripping

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Natalie October 30, 2018 at 10:14 am

I was in Budapest last year. Thanks for your post which brought back fond memories of this city. #citytripping

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Cristina - Memories of the Pacific October 30, 2018 at 12:12 pm

I’m going to Budapest next spring so this is very useful for me, thanks!
#citytripping

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Lady Fi October 30, 2018 at 8:39 pm

Fabulous shots! Those shoes are very moving.

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Judee October 31, 2018 at 4:53 am

I’ve seen many memorials but the shoes- that really hits home.. Wonderful post and photos.. thanks

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Cathy (Mummytravels) November 1, 2018 at 10:05 am

A city I visited for too short a time too long ago – I would love to go back. So much tragic history but it always seems so vibrant still. #farawayfiles

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Angie (FeetDoTravel) November 1, 2018 at 7:09 pm

I never knew Buda and Pest used to be separated, shameful that I don’t know my European history. Loving the cheery yellow train, and the 60 iron shoes are very poignant, great history behind this an original way of representing WWII victims. As for the Museum of Terror, wow, they didn’t stop short of naming this rather appropriately did they! It’s important to visit such atrocities, having recently visited S21 and the Killing Fields in Cambodia, I know all too well about trying to stop such horrors happening again in our world. #feetdotravel

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Jacqueline November 2, 2018 at 7:13 am

I went to Budapest in 2014 and loved it! We had so much fun at the thermal bathhouse! I missed the shoes on the Danube and river cruise but I hope to go back one day

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Keri | Ladies What Travel November 2, 2018 at 7:34 am

I adored Budapest and would go back in an instant. I visited many of the same places as you but totally missed that museum and would find it very interesting, although sad, to visit… #citytripping

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Nina Clapperton November 2, 2018 at 12:54 pm

I loved Pest and your presentation brought me right back. #WeekendWanderlust

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Gwen Little November 2, 2018 at 6:22 pm

Wow! What a moving post. I don’t think I will ever forget the shoes. It’s heart-wrenching. As it should be. So much dark History to absorb, and so much beauty also. Very well done! Excellent post!

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Carolyn Eddie November 3, 2018 at 2:57 am

Cannot believe that after two years back in Europe I still have not managed to visit Budapest (our Prague!). Thanks for the great photos and round up. A strange emotional day (very like visiting Berlin) but with a balance of gorgeous! Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles!

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Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist November 3, 2018 at 4:12 am

Budapest is such a beautiful city. I must revisit…. it has changed so much since I last went there 30 years ago! The shoes look like a perfectly poignant memorial…. just your photos were making me well-up. x
#TheWeeklyPoastcard

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Deborah Regen November 3, 2018 at 10:03 am

Hungary is an interesting country. With its location in central Europe unfortunately there was no way it could escape from being overrun by brutal regimes during WWII and thereafter. But today Budapest seems to attract a lot of travelers. It is good to know that excellent gelato can be enjoyed there and is not limited to Italy alone. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) November 5, 2018 at 5:28 am

That shoe memorial sounds incredibly moving. We’ve not been to Budapest but I’d like to visit even more now I’ve read your fascinating post. Thanks so much for sharing it on #FarawayFiles

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Emese November 6, 2018 at 7:27 pm

Great post, Sharon! I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect such a thorough historical account of Pest. Though I’ve been there often, I still haven’t been in all of the historical places you visited… I’ve never been in the museum of Terror – and honestly, I don’t think I ever will. I have no desire to. Though Interesting for outsiders to see it, I happened to live on the other side of the Iron Curtain and I abslutely would not like to be reminded of it, though from your account it looks like a great memorial. I think it’s great that you visited these places. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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Tracy November 7, 2018 at 2:40 am

We visited Budapest about 13 years ago but with my young daughter and we didn’t do as much exploring as you (and you saw some interesting places I would definitely head to next time) We did take a tram and ended up at the end of the line in a very communist era part of town – all concrete apartment blocks. We have said numerous times it is somewhere we would like to explore further. Pinned as will be a great guide when planning that visit.

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Lauren November 8, 2018 at 11:05 am

Budapest sounds like and amazing g place steeped in history! Great read

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Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) November 9, 2018 at 12:40 pm

What has always struck me about Budapest is the stark contrast between the beauty – natural and man-made – and the darkness of men. It’s good that the atrocities are put on display so that we can feel them. Hopefully, that will keep anyone from repeating them. Aside from that, we love your photos from this gorgeous city! Thanks for sharing them on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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