Budapest - The Emperor Rides the Subway
|Iron Curtain map|
|Winston Churchill giving speech in Fulton, MO in 1946|
A capital that we enjoyed visiting was Budapest, Hungary, a city of nearly two million people. In fact, it is two cities. On one side of the Danube, sits the city of Buda with its castles built high in its hills. On the other side of the Danube lies the city of Pest, which spreads itself out on much flatter land. From the castle terraces up in Buda, it is possible to look down upon the whole capital. Nearest is the rest of Buda. Then the Danube flows by, with Margaret Island sitting in the mid-river. Beyond that, stretching to the horizon, Pest spreads itself out.
|Hungarian Parliament sits on the Danube in Pest|
Hungary’s very grand parliament building occupies a prime riverside site in Pest, but one can see it all from up there in Buda. There is something very satisfying about being able to view the whole of a great city from one vantage point. That’s why a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris is not to be missed. There is the story of the man who disliked the Eiffel Tower so much that he had lunch in the restaurant there every day because “it was the only place in Paris where one could avoid looking at it”. The heights of Buda provide a similar vantage point.
|Emperor Franz Joseph in full royal regalia|
As one looks down on the River Danube, as it flows through Budapest, one has to remember its increasing importance. Rising in the Black Forest in southern Germany, it travels for 1771 miles until it empties itself in the Black Sea. In recent years however, canals have been completed to link the Danube with the River Rhine so that travel by boat between the North Sea and the Black Sea is now possible. Finally, although the Danube flows through many different countries, not one of those countries uses the word “Danube”. They all call the great river something else. Danube is a word created and used only by English speakers.
This piece, written by Bob, was originally posted on our website on November 26, 2009.