I would like to say that I wound up on Budapest’s Castle Hill during the magical golden hour as a result of my own impeccable planning and timing, but that would be a lie. The real reason? I took a longer midday nap than intended, thus pushing back my visit to Castle Hill from the afternoon to the early evening. As it turned out, however, this was the ideal time for a visit, as the tourist crowds had lessened and the views in the fading light were pretty much perfect.
As soon as I made it to Castle Hill, I headed to a viewpoint just in front of Buda Castle. From there, you could look down onto the Danube River and the city itself. The views were phenomenal – no photograph could truly capture them – and, standing there, I had one of those “pinch-me-is-this-really-my-life-am-I-really-spending-this-entire-semester-in-Europe?” moments.
Buda Castle itself was equally magnificent, though due to my tardiness, I arrived too late to go inside. The Castle houses several museums, and I would definitely make a point to visit them the next time I’m in Budapest. Still, just wandering around the exterior was a treat.
From the Castle, I walked over to Mattias Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church constructed in the 14th-century. This building was just gorgeous, particularly the patterned rooftops:
Right by the cathedral is Fisherman’s Bastion, a towered terrace with even more panoramic views of the city. I loved poking around the structure and took a million – give or take – photos from under its many archways.
As much as I loved Castle Hill itself, the best moment of my day happened after I left the hill. I took a bus and got off on the opposite side of the Danube, near the Chain Bridge. I turned to look back at Castle Hill and found this incredible sight as the sun was setting. I don’t know how to describe it other than by saying that the sky looked like it was on fire.
I’ve already written about how much I loved Budapest and, really, it was an accumulation of things that led me to adore the city. But if I had to pinpoint just one moment that sealed the deal, it was this night. It was standing atop the Hill, and gazing down over the city and feeling completely blown away by the beauty I saw. It was standing below the Hill and looking back up as the sun was setting and realizing that it was almost sickeningly picture-perfect.
It was confirmation that, sometimes, an extra-long nap can be totally worth it.