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I want to be a born-again tourist.
I resolve to do as the best tourists do in a new city: walk. Most of the big hotels are concentrated in a small area of central Pest known as Belvaros the Inner City; municipally, the Fifth District and most of the principle landmarks are within strolling distance. Exploring at street level reveals many small surprises. It hadn't occurred to me before, but as I walk past the ornate secessionist gates of the Gresham Palace now the Four Seasons Hotel , I realise there is a British axle at the hub of Budapest.
The palace, one of the most graceful Art Nouveau buildings in the city, was commissioned by the London-based Gresham Life Assurance Company. It occupies a prime location in the square on the Pest side of the famous Lanchid Chain Bridge.
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This, too, has a British provenance. The first permanent stone bridge in the city was designed by an Englishman, William Tierney Clark, and is a grander version of one he built earlier in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Moreover, the square on the Buda side of the bridge is named after the Scottish engineer Adam Clark no relation , who oversaw its construction. Walking across, you notice the scale of Budapest. This is no twee medieval museum town in east-central Europe.
It has ambition. Perhaps that is hardly surprising from a former capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is, in fact, bigger than the other capital, Vienna, and marginally more populous.
This morning, the river is more the Grey Danube than the summery blue of Strauss's corny old tune, but, even in winter, under a sky leached of colour, you cannot fail to appreciate the beauty of the topography. The scenic Buda hills on my left descend in a series of humps and escarpments to the drifting north-south line of the river and, on the opposite east bank, lies the commercial and administrative heart of the country in Pest — with a crowded skyline all the way to the flat horizon.
To appreciate these views, the next best thing to a helicopter is the funicular railway that starts in Adam Clark Square.
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The Budavari Siklo was originally intended as a quick and cheap commute for workers employed in the Var Castle district at the top of the hill. It is now entirely a plaything for us tourists. The quaint wood-panelled carriages look like wonky but upmarket garden sheds, and seem in extremely good nick for such an antique mode of transportation.
Their near pristine condition is explained by the fact that the original machinery of the Siklo was destroyed during the Second World War. The current railway is a replica that opened in The Castle district offers some of the city's most pompous architecture — a procession of palaces, churches and monuments — and is a must for any Budapest neophyte. The changing of the guard I witness is a rather homespun affair, with strutting soldiers struggling to hang on to some sense of decorum amid the camera-clicking hordes. The area took a terrible beating during the siege of Budapest, a vicious street fight that lasted six weeks and which has been compared in its intensity with Stalingrad.
The Germans aided by Hungarian fascist allies made their last stand against the Red Army here. The makeover is so convincing that, when I round the corner into Disz Ter, the sight of the shattered former Ministry of Defence, which has been left as it was at the end of the war, comes as a shock. Just a few hundred metres away, the 19th-century neo-Gothic splurge of the Matthias Church and the peculiar Fishermen's Bastion looks even more Disneyish after such a visceral reminder of recent cataclysm. The turrets of the "bastion" resemble a series of elves' hats strung out on a monumental washing line.
Snow White and all her dwarves would not look anachronistic proceeding along the fairytale terraces, but such reveries are interrupted by the megaphone voices of German and Japanese tour guides marshalling their flocks.
Bemusing though it is, the Fishermen's Bastion does nevertheless offer definitive panoramic views of Budapest. Round the corner from my hotel in Pest, I find another survivor of the many horrors inflicted on Budapest in the 20th century. The quality of fare has gone up — and so have the prices. My friend Celia, who is working in the city for a few months, is a fan. It is soooo good.
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The best! But she concedes the pricing is eye-watering for many Hungarians. The Art Nouveau frontage of the building, on Andrassy ut, is eye-pleasing enough but it gives little hint of the neo-Baroque glory hidden within. Nowadays, the building is principally a bookshop.
There is more than a hint of Versailles about this grandiose interior. Huge mirrors reflect and amplify the ostentatious gilt-edged decoration featuring frescoes by the 19th-century artist Karoly Lotz. It is wildly over the top for what is, after all, only a coffee shop. The room was intended for an adjacent casino in , before being knocked through to become a part of the department store. After the Second World War it was neglected, serving as storage space for such workaday goods as were available in the communist-managed economies of the Eastern Bloc. Remarkably, for all its outrageous posture, the down-to-earth prices in the Lotz make it a favourite for locals and tourists alike.
I have one last obligation as a born-again tourist. Tramline No 2 has been named the seventh most scenic in the world — and the top in Europe — by National Geographic. It is an accolade of which Budapest's natives are proud, but one that many feel only confirms what they already know. The ride begins unpromisingly as it departs its southern terminus and rolls past the cultural complex next to Rakoczi Bridge. Rassegna stampa. Spedizione e resi. Guida alle taglie. Sicurezza nei pagamenti. Condizioni di vendita.
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Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences - Online Library of Liberty
Reso unico da un tessuto laminato dalle cromie argentate cangianti, si tratta di un modello unisex unico nel suo genere. Il tutto a Ogni ogni elemento, ogni sezione e ogni particolare di questa creazione di design ha una funzione precisa. Le parti interne sono rivestite con fodere di seta. Materiali e dettagli assolutamente contemporanei, esprimono inalterato tutto il fascino dell'antichissimo gioco del polo - sport dei re, re degli sport.
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