After about twenty minutes of winding around and down and using creating thinking skills to figure out which way to go, I made it to the street flanking the Danube and followed it toward the Citadel. Up and up the path wound, toward the St. Gellert Monument and then stairs beyond it. The path wasn’t very steep, but taking some time to pause at the path crossroads revealed some more beautiful city views.
Finally making it to the top of the hill, the Citadel stretched out like a disapproving frown over the city. The history behind it revealed the Citadel to be something that was constructed too late for it to be useful for defense, and it was pretty unused and unwanted until the Nazi forces took it over in WWII. Most people just wanted it torn down and something else done with the space.
The Citadel still stood there, however, now with the iconic Liberty statue on its opposite end overlooking the river. The views here were also good, as I could get a good panorama without much interference. It was the perfect place to sit and wait for the sunset, except that I was still rather underdressed for the chilly wind.
After about forty minutes of sitting on the wall and contemplating the meaning of the world (what else does one do after climbing a big hill to a defunct fortress?), I worked my way back down to the street level. I figured on grabbing the metro line 4 back to a stop near my hotel, then continuing on to metro line 2.
I ended up emerging from the Gellert Hill paths right by the Gellert Baths, an Art Nouveau hotel and Hungarian bath. I discovered quickly that line 4 was closed at that stop, so I ended up having to walk over the Liberty Bridge back toward the Central Market. That metro line 4 stop was closed as well … so, I was going to have to walk to the hotel instead of use the metro. If I had a little more chutzpah, I would have taken the trams, but I had no idea which one went where.
The walk back was, of course, absolutely stunning and worth it. Any walk in Budapest was worth it. The sun was dazzling again, this time nearly being ready to set. I found the Serbian Church and the University Church and Library. On Szerb Utca, there was an outlet of Cafe Frei, which rapidly became my favorite cafe in Hungary. The interior is warm, cozy, and radiates a certain Hemingway-in-Cuba cool with red parrots on green background wallpaper, dark wood furniture, and a plethora of exotic-themed drinks from various worldly locales. I opted for the American vanilla latte and carried it out to go investigate more churches and cobblestoned pedestrian walkways.
I was nearly to Kossuth Lajos street when I realized I was indeed rather hungry (it being near 7:30 PM now) and stopped at a small restaurant for dinner. It centered around a region of Hungary where monks bottled grapes for communion wines. I tried out their Monk’s chicken stew, which featured a crispy bread bowl, chunks of chicken, spicy paprika, and a host of local veg. With a glass of local white wine, it rounded out my day perfectly.
It had been, after all, a top day exploring the hills of Buda.