You say it “Booda Pesht”.  Live with it.

(Another hint:  go to the bottom of this post and click on the YouTube music link and enjoy the Hungarian Rhapsody while viewing this post!)

A phenomenon that occurs quite regularly with me when I’m traveling is one that I might call “the last is first” syndrome:  the last city I visited becomes my favorite.  It doesn’t always happen but it does happen with regularity.

Budapest is one of my favorite cities.  But so is London and Paris and San Francisco and Mexico City and Stockholm and Jaipur and Boise.   And a bunch of others too.

But now I’m going to sing the paeans of Hungary’s capital, Budapest.

Like many, or even most of Europe’s capitals, it was devastated by World War II.  And like many cities in Eastern Europe, this one wasn’t really given the chance to rebuild itself, to express itself, until communism was pushed back into what we had hoped was history’s trash can.   But it has rebuilt itself and is truly an expression of the best of the Hungarian people.

Hungary, Budapesst, Frieze on Building showing Heroic Sailors

A memory of the Cold War on the entrance to an office building became my first picture taken in Hungary

A while ago I landed one of those “plum” assignments that photographers like me live for.  I was given the opportunity to photograph the itinerary of a Danube River cruise for Viking River Cruises.   The cruise started in Budapest and followed the Danube to the Black Sea.

It just so happened that we arrived in Budapest on August 17th, just three days before my birthday.   It was also three days before St.  Stephen’s birthday, the first King of Hungary, so the weekend was taken up by endless celebration on the most important holiday in Hungary.  There was a lot going on and we were very fortunate to have caught it.

The beginnings of this trip were not that auspicious, however.  The night before we left Boise, I fell out of our attic over the garage and fractured my right heel.  I forewent seeing a doctor (how could I?) and just lived with it, hobbling to the airport about six  hours later.

The excitement of being in a city I had wanted to visit for so  many years was incentive enough, and I was able to keep off my feet for the next ten hours or so in the air.  In any case,  I spent the next three days limping around as much of the city as I could.  As most photographers will tell you, the pain goes away when there are photos to be taken.  It is in between the photos when the cursing comes back.

 Szabad Sajto Street, budapest

Szabad Sajto Street, Pest


Being in this romantic and classic old-world capital was a dream come true for me and being there during such an exciting time made it even more of a blessing.



The Takarekpenztar (Savings Bank) building on Kosuth Lajos Street (1909-1911)

The Takarekpenztar (Savings Bank) building was built in 1909


How does one even begin to do a portrait of a big city in just three days?  Well, in my case, I just limped down every street I could and took everything that tickled my fancy.


Naturally there were plenty of people to shoot and most were in a festive mood.  It was after all, a very important holiday.

Hungarian man, budapest, hungary

This fellow was glad to be here.

woman in budapest, hungary

Girl in a parade staging area, more pensive than festive

girl in parade staging area, budapest, hungary

man with mustache, budapest, hungary


Breitling jet team, budapest, hungary

The Breitling jet team making a pass over the Danube

Hungarian parliament, budapest

View of Parliament in Pest taken from the Buda side

silk scarves, budapest, hungary

Silk Scarves at a shop on Vaci Street

Cave church, budapest hungary

The Cave Church at St. Ivan’s Cave, on the Buda side of the Danube

Hungary, Budapest, Corvinus University of Budapest (New Building), Entrance

The new Corvinus University

St. Stephen's Cathedral, Budapest, Hungary

St. Stephen’s Cathedral








manhole cover, budapest, hungary

Manhole Cover

Is this not the classiest manhole cover you’ve ever seen?

A toast to Budapest!

Hungary, Budapest (Pest), a glass of Dreher Beer


Play this!