The skyline of Buda, the west side of the Danube, is dominated by Castle Hill, the fortress of Hungarians for centuries. In fact, there is archaeological evidence on the hill of continued human presence from the Bronze Age to the present. That's a lot of history.

Imperial Palace at Dusk, Budapest, Hungary
A view of Castle Hill at dusk from the Chain Bridge. Prominently featured is the Imperial Palace. Built by the Hapsburgs when Austria and Hungary were joined in the same kingdom, it never actually served as a royal residence. Today, it's home to a number of museums.

Chain Bridge Lion, Budapest, Hungary
A lion guarding the entrance to the Chain Bridge. Michele was happy to see big kitties all over the place.

St Matthias Church, Budapest, Hungary
St. Matthias Church also on Castle Hill. This incarnation of the church was originally built in the 14th century. It's best known for the being the location of many coronations of Hungarian kings. Over the years it's been through many changes, including once being turned into a mosque by Turkish invaders.

Altar at St Matthias, Budapest, Hungary
The Altar of Matthias Church.

Oldest Stones at St Matthias, Budapest, Hungary
While restoring the church, this cornice was found. It's the last remaining piece of the original Matthias structure.

Hungarian Parliament, Budapest, Hungary
Hungarian Parliament as seen from outside Matthias. Perhaps they inspired the British Parliament? Or maybe the Hungarian national pastime is building spires.

Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest, Hungary
Some of the seven towers of the Fisherman's Bastion, part of the defenses around Castle Hill.

Imperial Palace Entryway, Budapest, Hungary
Hungarian flags leading up to the entryway of the Imperial Palace.

Imperial Lion, Budapest, Hungary
Big kitty guarding the entrance way. Inside is a Budapest history museum, detailing the Bronze Age up til last week. There's a little bit of information :) (Only some of which is in English)

Chain Bridge and Parliament, Budapest, Hungary
A lamp post, the Danube, the Chain Bridge, and Parliament. If only it had been sunny.

Imperial Gate, Budapest, Hungary
A gateway to the Imperial Palace.

Eagle Statue on Castle Hill, Budapest, Hungary
A statue of an eagle on Castle Hill. The legend goes like this: An eagle swooped down one night, raped King Stephen's grandmother, and left a sword. Stephen was thus imbued with one quarter Eagle Power, got a bad-ass sword, and went on to unite the Hungarian people. Awesome.

Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest, Hungary
Another shot of the Fisherman's Bastion.

Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest, Hungary
And again.

Looking out at Pest, Budapest, Hungary
Michele hides from the rain and looks out over Pest.

Next stop on our whirlwind tour: the beautiful city of Vienna, a mere 3-hour train ride away.

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