Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is a city of dichotomy. It has historically been divided neatly down the middle, split by the Danube River. On one side is Buda, the mountainous, beautiful home of kings and the wealthy upper class. On the opposing side of the river lies Pest, flat as a table and home of the working class. On both sides of the river however, this duality continues in the very architecture of the city. Stately historic buildings adorned in gold and covered with art, lie sandwiched between drab concrete structures and vandalized monuments to a darker time, when communism held sway over the people of Budapest. But in spite of the apparently opposing factions on both sides of the river, the people of Budapest are among the most friendly and genuine in all the world, and will go to great lengths to make a stranger feel welcome. This factor alone makes Budapest an incredible place to visit.

These buildings stood right around the corner from each other, dramatically different symbols of different eras for the city.
The shores of Buda, with the fortress protecting the palace atop the cliffs.
A perfect example of the duality of the city. A ancient saint stands watch over Buda as the old Soviet tram takes people to work.
A German couple giving money to a needy woman on the bridge over the Danube.
A skateboarder careens through the streets at dusk, narrowly missing pedestrians and cars.
On this bridge, are lamps, to which people have attached padlocks with their names and those of their sweethearts engraved or painted on the locks.
Workmen repairing the damage caused by the dangerously swollen river only days ago.

These chains stand as a monument to the Iron Curtain, and the lives lost and irreparably damaged during its time.

– T.S.