Our friend and yours, Daniel McCord, recently traveled to Budapest. He returned to the States with a hard drive full of photos. We asked Daniel to compile some of his favorites so we could highlight them on the blog.
In these photos, Daniel shies away from taking too many "postcard" photos of old buildings, though some of those shots are too pretty to pass up, and instead he focuses his camera on the culture, people, and food of Budapest. It's these photos that first attracted us to his collection and we are very pleased he let us show off some of his work.
After the jump are some of Daniel's favorite photos with his thoughts on each.
My first real view of the city was St. Stephen's Basilica (Szent István-bazilika). I turned the corner less than a block from my host's apartment and had this view of the bluest twilight sky I have ever seen
The Budapest Christmas Fair (Budapesti Karácsonyi Vásár) was going strong for the entirety of my stay. The local food, crafts and mulled wine (Glühwein) were a constant fixture and the place was always roaringly crowded. These ceramic statuettes caught my eye and I couldn't resist the craftsmanship that went into everything in the booth.
I could have eaten nearly every meal in the Christmas Fair and still wanted more. This chef had the most interesting booth in the plaza, offering rosemary roasted turkey legs and my favorite - to photograph - rooster testicle stew.
Local musicians took the stage every evening at the Christmas Fair to serenade the plaza with traditional Hungarian folk music. The stage was at the entrance to the plaza from my side of town, so every evening we were welcomed into the Fair with unique music, people scattering to and fro and the smells and sounds of mugs of mulled wine being consumed by the hundreds.
One of the major highlights of the trip was the unexpected chance to hike in the surrounding forests of Budapest with a group of students from the Central European University Business School. The colors were the least diverse aspect of the group - Russia, Germany, Ghana, Bulgaria and Slovakia were all represented here. I was lucky to grab this shot - I didn't have a ticket to the train they were all catching and had to borrow change and run across the bridge to the station to buy one.
Back in town, I followed the CEU students to a hidden restaurant literally underground on a side street and devoured some pork, cooked "hunter style" (covered in livers and gravy). I was fascinated with the ease of public transportation around (and under) the city and had to capture the combination of walkable streets and convenient trains.
This communist-era cafe supposedly hasn't changed a bit in 30 years and has amazing espresso and pastries that attract younger couples who very publicly display their affection. The older men from the area congregate Sunday mornings to play the loudest games of dominos I've ever witnessed. The gentleman here had his morning fix as well.
As my fascination and comfort with the transportation systems grew, I was able to witness others experience the last-minute panic of a forgotten ticket. On this very train ride, I watched as security removed three men who had neglected to purchase tickets.
You always return to where you start with these things. My last day in Budapest was the only day of bright sunlight and I wandered aimlessly around the city for hours before making my way "home," as it were. I stumbled across the golden light reflecting off the St. Stephen's fixtures as the sun was setting. At the right moment what seemed like the only person with a bright red coat in the entire city walked in front of me and I was able to at least try to give the Basilica the perspective it deserves.
Daniel is a freelance photographer living in Greenville, SC. He is an avid cook, beer geek, live music aficionado, and obsesses about independent film. You can see more of his work at flametal.smugmug.com and you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.