Budapest at Dusk

Old to New, Day to Night

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

A few kilometers from the border, while we were still in Romania, the train lumbered to a halt and the customs official entered our car. He took our passports, gave us the once-over, and then proceeded to flip through a tiny, dusty notebook in order to jot down our passport numbers. He fumbled through his shoulder bag for a stamp, awkwardly used the side of the chair for a flat surface in which to affix it, and handed them back to us.A few kilometers across the border, just into Hungary, the train halted again. Three customs officials dressed in slick uniforms boarded our car to check us into their country. Our passports were scanned via a slot into a small machine carried instead of a shoulder bag, the stamp was quickly released from the officer’s utility belt, and they had disposed of the whole process in under a minute.

The differences in procedure were stark and amusing. We didn’t realize then that it was so indicative of the contrast between these two neighbouring countries.

“Everything is so shiny and new here!” I said often as we walked through Budapest’s streets. Even the old architecture seemed contemporary, kept up from crumbling in comparison to the decay (albeit captivating in its own right!) found across Romania.

And dare we say that Budapest now deftly sits very near the top of our list of most stunning cities in Europe. It also kept Pete very busy as he repeatedly wound his way up and down either side of the Danube, stalking trams snaking through interior neighborhoods, always finding a new angle to shoot with each passing second of dynamic light.

And so this photo story is presented through those changes, from day into night, the Paris of the East:

Hecktic Travels
Budapest Panoramic
Hecktic Travels
Hecktic Travels
Hecktic Travels
Chain Bridge Budapest
Hecktic Travels
Chain Bridge from Above
Hecktic Travels
Hecktic Travels
Hecktic Travels

where we stayed

What also made our visit to Budapest so great was the fact that we basically lived in my dream apartment, very centrally located, at a very affordable price. Find it here.

Haven’t tried Airbnb yet? Sign up through this link and you’ll receive a $25 credit (and we’ll get a little something as well, thanks for helping!) 🙂

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  1. I feel like I say this every time you guys publish a new photo essay but WOW. Amazing shots, Pete.

  2. We had a similar border crossing experience on the train going from Berlin to Prague. We chatted about what it must be like for those border patrol officers for quite a while into the Czech Republic! 🙂

  3. Fabulous photos – and making me rethink Budapest. I last visited in… hmmm… 1987 and the city was quite, quite different. Nothing clean and welcoming about it at all. It looks stunning and I will probably stand corrected once I go back – which I’ve now decided to do.

    1. That’s great Leyla that you will give it another shot. It still does have it’s non-clean aspect, especially early in the morning before the street cleaners get out. But we found the city to be just beautiful.

  4. Unbelievable photos!! I muttered a very eloquent “Wowww!” more than once. I didn’t know how badly I wanted to visit Budapest until this very moment…well done!

  5. We love Budapest too, it’s such an amazing city full of artistic corners and places to go to. Your photos are amazing by the way, simply stunning!

  6. Budapest is an incredibly photogenic city! I look forward to the day I head back there! Absolutely magnificent pics!

    1. I can imagine how crazy hot it gets there. Those are the days to just stay in the cafe and sip away on some Hungarian wine 🙂

  7. My heart is always with Budapest, such a spectacular city 🙂 I’ve also noticed how much it can change from daytime to night, it’s two different kinds of beauty, so mysterious…

  8. Great photos of Budapest! Just curious, what gear do you shoot with?

    I went during my exchange days and only had my P&S back then. Would love to revisit all these places to shoot them again.

  9. Really really beautiful images of Budapest! It happens to be one of the cities in Europe I want to visit the most. Those stunning photos of yours remind me to really make a plan to visit Hungary sooner than later.

  10. Stunning photographs! Especially love the one with traffic from both side of the road. 🙂 You make me wanna go check out this city already….

  11. Hi guys, I have just discovered your blogs. What a Wonderful website, superb stories and amazing photographs! So inspiring.

    Re the “mobile customs” I travelled from Malaysia to Thailand by train. There you leave the train, get stamped out from Malaysia on one platform, then trapse around to the other, where you are stamped into Thailand, then back to your seat on the train. Lovely how they all differ a little.

    Keep up the travelling, guys, and we await your next journey with great anticipation. Where is next?

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