by Evans Yonson
Barcelona – In my Eastern European summer adventure, one of the most unexpected and unplanned city was Budapest. It was to be an extra city. If I had spare time, I would definitely go and see Hungary even for a day.
Arriving in Bratislava, Slovak Republic from Vienna, Austria was a short less than an hour-bus ride. During the ride, the Slovak guy who sat beside me said that Vienna and Bratislava are the only two capitals in the world to be less than 100 kilometers away from each other. He continued saying that some Slovaks go to Vienna everyday to work. They go home to Bratislava later in the day where everything else is cheaper. The other differences is that Vienna has a higher population density compared to Bratislava. It means that the Austrian capital has more people in a small city while the Slovak counterpart has less in a big land area. With this in mind, on my second day in Bratislava, I have already seen the sites and visited the most important museums and castles. I have spoken to several locals and it was already enough to get a little touch of the Slovak culture. That night I decided to go to Budapest the next day.
I took the earliest train to Budapest but it was definitely not the fastest considering the travel distance of only 203 kilometers from Bratislava. What could have been a two-hour car drive took almost four hours for a train. It seems that urgency is still alien in this side of European Union. First stop, tourist information center. This center is very strategically located near an international fastfood chain store. I walked all over the city and crossed the Danube River twice.
Like most European capitals, Budapest is filled with statues from its very colorful historical past, from 9BC to the Roman Empire, to the Ottoman Empire, and up to the fall of Communism in 1989. One outstanding set of statues is found Hosok tere (Hungarian for Heroes’ Square). The photo above is a statue of Imre Thokoly (Count Emrich Thokoly de Kesmarkium). Thokoly was a Hungarian statesman that led an anti-Habsburg uprising. This statue is only one of the fourteen statues in the semi-circular arcades of the Heroes’ Square.