On August 20th, Hungary celebrates Saint Stephen's Day.
The young Istvan was a pagan at birth, but converted to
Christianity in his youth.
In 997 Istvan became Duke of Hungary. Shortly afterwards he put down a
pagan revolt in Veszpr�m, and was crowned first king of Hungary in 1001. Pope Sylvester
II sent a crown from Rome to accord the Hungarian the title of Apostolic Majesty - The
Carter Foundation recently returned the crown from safe-keeping.
Stephen was canonized in 1083 for his dedication in spreading
Christianity and surpressing paganism throughout Hungary.
A visit to Hungary must include Budapest.
Houses of Parliament, Budapest - � TravelNotes.
Situated on the River Danube, the city of Budapest is split into two
The community of Buda is on the west bank of the Danube and contains
many relics of almost 150 years of Turkish occupation. The former royal residence is in
the Castle District, with the famous spas below it.
The Castle District is best visited in late afternoon when the Houses
of Parliament, across the Danube in Pest, will look better in your photographs or videos.
A drink in the Hilton is pricy, but it is a good place to escape the
heat and the crowds. We prefer to order a bottle of Tokai and sit at an outside table; on
the ramparts of Fisherman's Bastion, overlooking Pest.
Apart from the Houses of Parliament, another must see in Pest is
Heroes' Square. Here the Arpad generations, and other monarchs are cast in a large arc
depicting the history of Hungary.
Vaci Utca is the notorious pedestrian area, a few streets back from
the Danube. It is not uncommon for women to approach men and take them to unscrupulous
bars were large bills are produced for a few drinks.
It amazes me how some tourists, or businesmen, can fall for such
tricks. The girls say that they are students visiting Budapest, but it's all a part of the
There have been a spate of bombings, bank robberies, and daylight
shotings in the capital, but on the whole Budapest is as safe as any other city.
Don't walk the streets with all your money in your back-pocket and
check the price lists before you order. If there are no price lists, walk away. It will
spare your blushes with the heavies later.
The Budapest Sun is the
English-language weekly that is sold in most kiosks and distributed free through the major
hotels. Get a copy and find out more about where to go and what's going on.
How much of Hungary you can see on your visit depends on your time
Lake Balaton is the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe, and is
crowded with bargain-hunting Germans during the summer months.
There are plenty of Zimmer Frei signs, so it's a case of driving
around. Prices are often quoted in Euro; the de facto second currency of Hungary.
Without a car, you are restricted to visiting the major towns. The
rail network is good and cheap, even in first class.
Hortob�gy, the oldest stone bridge in Hungary - � Travel
The Danube Bend is a good excursion from Budapest.
Szentendre is the compact artists' town of narrow winding
cobble-stoned streets and little pastel coloured houses turned into galleries.
Visegr�d is where the Romans built fortifications and the Hungarian
Kings established a hunting ground in the 250 sq.km. Pilis Forest.
Esztergom was also a royal seat and Hungary's first capital. St.
Stephen was born and coronated here, and the famous Basilica is the seat of the Cardinal
of the Hungarian Roman Catholic Church. Across the river is Slovakia.
Take a little tour of the capital.
The lake really does change colours.
A large student city in the south of Hungary.
Siofok is often referred to as the capital of Lake Balaton.
I always prefer to enter Hungary at Sopron rather than Hegyeshalom.
The artists centre is only a short drive from Budapest.
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