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Old 06-18-2012, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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I recently came back from a trip to Europe, partly to visit family in Budapest and partly as a tourist and I thought I'd share some pictures and thoughts about the places I visited. I visited Budapest, Prague, Berlin (and Potsdam), Vienna, Venice and a couple small places in Hungary.

First I'll start with Budapest. The city proper has about 1.8 million people, urban area has about 2.5 million and is the dominant city of Hungary (next biggest city is about 10 times smaller). It's laid out around the Danube River. It used to be made up of two cities, Buda and Pest. Buda is where the castle and palace are, and is rather hilly. Pest is pretty flat and low-lying and where most of the 18th and 19th century growth occured, with the downtown and the bulk of the midrise fabric.

We started out by visiting the castle. It is located on a small hill with a view across the river. It took a hit during WWII but fortunately there was a substantial number of buildings that could be salvaged or reconstructed.


This is the square in the middle of what used to be the Royal Palace, now home to the national library and museums. The entire castle district has very few cars as there is only one entrance for them, so there is only local traffic.


A fountain with a royal hunting scene outside the main square of the Royal Palace, but still part of the Palace complex.


View of Pest from the castle, as you can see central Pest is consistently midrise. There's also Chain Bridge, the first to cross the Danube in Budapest.


Matthias Church in the castle distrct which held many coronations and was rebuilt and restored many many times. The interiors are beautiful too, but I didn't get to see them since they were renovating.


By the way, this is a picture from wikipedia showing the Chain Bridge and Castle after WWII, so it was not quite rubble, but certainly in ruins.
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Next day we crossed the Danube to visit Pest, first we walked across the chain bridge, which is 1 lane each way.


Vorosmaty Square, with a nice French confectionery


Other side of the square and the end of Vaci Street, the main pedestrian street (next post).


A pedestrian street with the view corridor terminated by St Stephen's Basilica. Some buildings here are more modern. As far as I know, modern buildings were only built where older buildings were destroyed during the war.


A pretty typical street in Pest. I find that the a too high percentage of the space between the buildings is dedicated to cars. The buildings could also use more cheerful colours and more retail imo.


The neogothic parliament building, built in the late 19th century, it was the winner of an international design competition. You can probably find better pictures online.


A square in front of the parliament.


The museum of ethnography, a runner up in the design competition for the parliament.


Not sure what the English name for this is, but it's basically a hill climber that goes from the Chain bridge (where we parked) to the top of Castle Hill.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:09 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Nice pictures. Not a lot of green space in Europe. Germany and Belgium are the same way, big cathedrals with brick all around them; a few trees here and there. All the rivers are "channelized" with brick river banks.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:44 PM
 
Location: West Cedar Park, Philadelphia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Nice pictures. Not a lot of green space in Europe. Germany and Belgium are the same way, big cathedrals with brick all around them; a few trees here and there. All the rivers are "channelized" with brick river banks.
Ever been to Paris? European cities are very dense so space isn't wasted, but where its given over to green space its usually done very well. You really have one or the other in a city, there's no "in between" because then it wouldn't really be functional as an urban space. Also, "channelizing" the river is usually necessary to stabilize the banks for structures that are built near the water.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Well the old cores are like that. The two neighbourhoods I stayed at in Budapest with my family were further from the core. One place was in the hills of Buda, where it's mostly single family homes and small apartment buildings set back from the street with relatively large gardens. It was built in the mid to late 20th century, although unlike American developments from that time, the development occured organically with each lot developed individually. One thing about Europe though is that there's usually a wall at the front of the house if it's set back, and lawns are less common, usually there will rather be gardens and trees. The other place I stayed at in Budapest was a suburb on the Buda side which essentially a small town that became a suburb as cars came into play. There it's mostly single family homes, I have pictures of it, but I haven't downloaded those onto my computer yet.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:54 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marius Pontmercy View Post
Ever been to Paris? European cities are very dense so space isn't wasted, but where its given over to green space its usually done very well. You really have one or the other in a city, there's no "in between" because then it wouldn't really be functional as an urban space. Also, "channelizing" the river is usually necessary to stabilize the banks for structures that are built near the water.
No, I haven't been to Paris. (Been to Paris, Illinois, however!)

Yes, well, now we know you're not supposed to build that close to the water. Europe's environment has been very much manipulated. There's not much "natural" there.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:58 PM
 
Location: West Cedar Park, Philadelphia
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Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
No, I haven't been to Paris. (Been to Paris, Illinois, however!)

Yes, well, now we know you're not supposed to build that close to the water. Europe's environment has been very much manipulated. There's not much "natural" there.
It's what happens when people live in the same place for 1,000+ years.

That said, Europe still has countryside and mountains and forests and all those things, believe it or not. They've done a pretty good job at maintaining those things. Perhaps you become more aware of them when you don't have big tracts of land to tear up, develop, and move on like in the USA.
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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This is Vasarcsarnok, basically the main indoor market of Budapest. On the main floor are the most popular food products like meat (lots of Hungarian salami and sausage), paprika, fruits/veggies, cheese, etc. The second floor is like a bazaar, selling all sorts of souvenirs. The basement has fish, pickled food and oriental spices.


The market is located at the end of Vaci Street, the main pedestrian street of Budapest. These are buildings next to the square at the Southern end of Vaci Street (pronounced like Vattsee), with the street starting just right of the buildings.


Vaci Street


Balconies on Vaci Street


Vaci Street


Looking at a side street from Vaci Street


Architectural details on Vaci Street


Another side street off Vaci Street with some more modern buildings


There are a few fancy buildings where Vaci Street meets the inner ring boulevard. Traffic on the boulevard is quite heavy, but this is what central Budapest has instead of highways.


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Old 06-18-2012, 09:20 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Yes, well, now we know you're not supposed to build that close to the water. Europe's environment has been very much manipulated. There's not much "natural" there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marius Pontmercy View Post
That said, Europe still has countryside and mountains and forests and all those things, believe it or not. They've done a pretty good job at maintaining those things.
I don't think channelizing a river is that bad if it's over a short distance in an urban area. The big cities take up a relatively small amount of area, they're not harming the amount of natural much. But the countryside in many spots has been completely altered. Depends on the country, but in many spots there isn't much in the way of land left untouched. 90% of the UK is deforested, and it's been like that for so long it's hard for people to conceive it could be different; there's no real movement to restore the forests.
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:22 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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And memph, thanks for sharing all the wonderful photos!
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