St Stephen’s Basilica Panorama Tower

MacLaine_Panorama_Szent_Istvan_52I’ve been battling a nasty cold this past week, which has lead to the past seven days‚ being pretty much a write off. I was fed up with staying home all day long and‚ decided to get out of my apartment to‚ cross off a must-see attraction in Budapest by climbing up‚ St Stephen’s Basilica for the panoramic views.

St. Stephen’s, it can be argued, is the spiritual centre of Hungary and one of the city’s top tourist spots. For the very reasonable price of 500 HUF (about $2.25 CDN) you can climb the 320 steps up to the observatory and enjoy spectacular views of the entire city. To the west, you’ll see the Danube River, the Castle district and the mountains of Buda. To the East, you’ll see sprawling Pest, which goes to seems to go on forever.

I brought my DSLR camera and took some photos. Click on the photos themselves for a high-res look.

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Szent Istvan Fireworks in Budapest – August 20th, 2014

MacLaine_Budapest_August_20_2014_Fireworks

As mentioned in my previous post, August 20th is St. Stephen’s Day, a National Holiday marking the Foundation of Hungary. The main event for the people of Budapest is the annual fireworks show, which lasts about 30 minutes.

I made my way down to the shores of the Danube river to watch the show along with thousands of Hungarians. All the bridges spanning the river were jammed with people. Fortunately, there are wide boulevards running alongside the river, which police close down for the spectacle. There was ample room to enjoy the show.

If fireworks are your thing, here’s an HD video I shot featuring the final moments of the show, with the fireworks exploding above the Erzsébet Bridge.

St. Stephen’s Day Celebrations Begin Early in Budapest

MacLaine_August19_Celebrations_01_webAugust 20th is‚ St. Stephen’s Day, a National Holiday marking the Foundation of Hungary. It’s Hungary’s Canada Day or Independence Day. Many stores will be closed, there will be ceremonies throughout the day, including at the Cathedral which bears his name. In the evening there will be a spectacular fireworks show along the banks of the Danube at 9pm.

Even on the day before, celebrations have already begun. The Chain Bridge was closed to motor traffic today, allowing pedestrians to stroll leisurely right down the middle of the thoroughfare. At the Buda end of the bridge lies Clark Adam Square, where a temporary stage was set up, featuring traditional folk dancers and music. Scattered around the square were vendors, selling traditional Hungarian food.

Walking along the famous Chain Bridge
Walking along the famous Chain Bridge
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Food Vendors at Clark Adam Square
The Lions guarding the bridge were illuminated for the occasion
The Lions guarding the bridge were illuminated for the occasion
Looking to the Chain Bridge from Buda
Looking to the Chain Bridge from Buda
Even the local grocery stores celebrate - Szent Istvan Kenyer
Even the local grocery stores celebrate – Szent Istvan Kenyer

The weather forecast for August 20th is calling for rain throughout the day. Hopefully it relents so that everyone will be able to enjoy the fireworks show along the river.