Monday, February 12, 2007

Budapest A City Adorned with Tranquility

People say Budapest, Hungary, resulted for the coming together in 1873 of two cities that were separated by Danube River: Buda and Obuda on the right shore, and Pest on the left one.

Matching the city’s concept, during my trip I met up with old friends, separated from me for years by mountain ridges and scarce communication.

When I arrived, the warm welcome, my sweater and my jacket were not able to isolate me from the cold weather that surprised the city in the middle of June.
Budapest, resembles other European cities I have visited in the past, with low houses, Baroque-Romanesque architecture, narrow streets, traditional bars and smalls shops. However, here you can perceive the socialist regime that governed the city until 1989 left a strong influece.

Központi Vásárcsarnok, The Central Market at Fovan ter, exemplifies how socialist ideals are still part of Hungarian’s daily life. The market was constructed in 1897 by the architect Samy Petz. It was re-constructed in 1994. In this country, people prefer to buy fresh products (flowers, fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat and other Hungarian products) in these small stores, where they receive a personalized treatment, rather than buying processed products at chain supermarkets.

This city also differentiates itself from other European cities with its peace and tranquility. Despite, Budapest is the seventh largest city in Europe, with 1,7 million inhabitants according to 2005 census, these people do no not disrupt the city’s tranquility.

People speak with soft voices, even restaurant’s waiters and waitresses whisper the menu’s specials to you because the don’t want to bother the people who are eating next to you. At the same times, Danube’s constant flow seems to absorb the noise of the cars and the public transportation.

The view from The Fisherman’s Bastion in the Castle’s District also transmits that peaceful sentiment despite the large amount of tourists who visit that spot at one time. I am not sure if it was the reunion with old friends, the city’s architecture, the river’s flow, or the extreme differentce between noisy Madrid and Budapest, but I can ensure that it had been very long since I left so serene.

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