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Budapest

Have you heard of the Magyar people, or their nation of Magyarorszag? It's Hungary, the exotic Central European nation whose beautiful capital of Budapest will surprise you with its beauty, affordable luxury and unique history. Gypsy music fills the air; scenic vistas are ever-re; old and new mix in a cultural bl'nd that makes Budapest an excellent destination to put high on your travel list. Vorosmarty Square, Andrassy utca, Le Meridien and Astoria hotels,Vaci utca, Central Market Hall, Raday utca, Kalvin Ter, Kecskemeti utca, Franciscan Church, Rezkakas Restaurant.

Budapest Walking tour: Le Meridien Hotel, Deak Terr, Andrassy utca, Municipal Offices, Vorosmarty Square, Vaci utca, Market Hall. This city on the Danube is different from the other great capitals of Europe in a pleasant old-fashioned way that fills it with authentic charms. Two thousand years of invasion, liberation, re-occupation, devastation and rebirth, played out over and over again in a cycle of history, have somehow produced this unique culture.

Lack of money has prevented that squeaky-clean modernization machine to roll through town, the way it has recently glitzed up so many other cities on the continent. As a result, some buildings are run-down, plaster is peeling and roads are bumpy, but the beautiful reward for the intrepid traveler is a genuine city filled with real character. A wide variety of archi-ural styles are on display, sometimes 'ombined in the unique Hungarian Eclectic that blends elements of Classical, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau in a single building.

Castle District on the Buda hill, Cathedral in Pest, Oktogon, Franz Liszt Square, Hero's Square, Museum of Fine Arts, City Park, breakfast at Le Meridien, traveler comments. Budapest consists of the formerly separate co munities of Buda on the western bank of the Danube and Pest on the east. Built on a hill, Buda contains the former Royal Palace and the old Castle District. Pest stands on a level plain and is the site of the mai' shopping areas, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Palace of Justice, Parliament, and the National Museum. No other city along Europes longest river embraces it as much as Budapest, with nine bridges linking the two sides, and a major promenade along the river offering sweeping views.