Mythological Turul Bird

I finished the previous blog by saying that we were unable to visit St Matthias Church and the Medieval District so in this blog I shall tell you of what we were able to admire on the Hill.

To the south of the Castle and down a level were a group of buildings which house the Museums of Arts, Natural History and Budapest History while the National Archives are now housed in the Castle. We walked down into the gardens admiring some of the statues of the Mythological Turul Bird on the top of each pillar on the stairs and on every pillar around the grounds. We enjoyed some real tranquillity in these lower gardens even though there were a number of people about.

 Mythological Turul Bird

Mythological Turul Bird on the pillar

Not long after having entered the area I decided that I needed a toilet visit. I made sure that I had a couple of Euros on me as visiting the toilet in European countries costs anything from 50cents to 4Euros. This was one of the cheaper ones, just 50c but it was the sign at the counter where one paid was what really made me smile. It read, “Just 50c for a clean and pleasant experience.” It was a fascinating experience actually. One long very narrow passage with 3 doors off to the right – to a store room, a ladies and a gents – with one basin on the left hand side of the passage. It was clean but I would not have described it as particularly pleasant!

There were a number of statues and sculptures in these gardens. Some of these were Prince Eugene of Savoy on his horse with bronze reliefs of the capturing of the earthworks in 1867 on the sides of the plinth. The reliefs had been quite badly weathered and green chemical had flowed from them. This green colour initially made me think that they were made of copper but, when I checked, I learnt that they are bronze, an alloy of copper and tin. Two other statues are The Horseherd, a man taming a horse and Fishing Children, in a pond. We spent quite some time walking around the area admiring the backdrop of Pest on the far side of the river.

Prince Eugene of SavoyPrince Eugene of Savoy

Relief on plinth

Bronze relief on the plinth

Fishing ChildrenChildren fishing

As we left to take the funicular back down to the river bank we asked the young lady in the booth if she knew anything about the trams which run up and down on the river bank and was stunned at her response. “Know nothing and not my business.” Very helpful. When we reached the bottom of the funicular ride it took a few minutes to find the ticket booth for the tram but that was the easy part. 

Thankfully instructions on how to get tickets and the payment method were available in English. We easily entered the info to purchase 3 tickets on the tram travelling south but making payment had us truly flummoxed. The instruction was, “Present your card” and so I inserted my card into the slot but it would not go more than halfway, same when Trevor tried his and also when Val tried hers. We were about to give up when Val pointed out what looked like a Bar Code and suggested I touch it with my card. Eureka! It worked. Out popped 3 tickets and a receipt. Why did they not close up the slot where the Bar Code was?!  Don’t they realise that seniors are not accustomed to these modern wonders.

At the tram stop we met a lovely young couple who spoke good English and so could confirm that we were at the right spot to catch the tram which would take us to within approx. 1.5kms from where our boat was moored but still on the Buda side of the river. We alighted from the tram and walked through a lovely little park where there was a statue of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria. She was very popular as she did a lot to uplift and encourage the people of Hungary when under Austrian rule.

Empress ElisabethEmpress Elizabeth

We then crossed the very wide and busy main road which ran parallel to the river which was quite an experience because, even though we did so at a set of traffic lights, we were not always sure when it was our turn to cross. Besides the north/south traffic there was a ramp coming up from a lower road and another winding its way around and passed the tram station which was very close to the intersection. We finally made it and enjoyed walking very close to the river and on to the next bridge where we had to climb about 40 stairs to get up and onto the bridge itself. On the way an ambulance passed us at great speed and with sirens blaring. We saw it take the curved road up on to the bridge; much easier than climbing the stairs.

It took us about a half hour to get back to the boat where we were surprised to see the ambulance parked at the jetty for out boat. We learnt that 2 more ladies had gone down with the virus but both had been retching to such an extent they required drips and injections. The virus had truly taken hold it seemed. We got to our cabin rather exhausted but having had a very interesting day.