The Beauty of Train Travel - Stations: Budapest Keleti pályaudvar

There are a myriad of reasons to travel by train, not least that one arrives at some of the most interesting and attractive buildings. I do not mean the rather dilapidated and run-down buildings that line the tracks at the approach to the stations, but the stations themselves. As travellers and commuters hurry through the stations I imagine that few notice the wonderful architecture that surrounds them. As an avid train traveller, I've decided to share my views of some of Europe's most beautiful stations. Today is the turn of Budapest Keleti pályaudvar.

I arrived in Budapest in the summer of 2000 having spent the whole night arguing with my travelling companion. I was, therefore, tired and in a far from pleasant frame of mind. Our train shuddered to a halt, the iron and glass dome of the platform roof rising above us. Regardless of my bloodshot eyes and the need to find the departure point of my bus, I noticed the beauty of the station. Constructed between 1881 and 1884 it is the largest of the three stations that serve the city and was designed in the 'eclectic style' as my guide book informed me. It certainly borrows from different architectural styles, and that is part of its charm.

The platform was lined with archways, the lunettes throwing light at us as we made our way to the enormous hall. The hall was dominated by the arch of glass in the middle of which sat the station clock. Tempting as it was to head stright out of the door and to the beds of our hostel, the beauty of the Lotz Hall made us stop. Marble pillars, murals and gold leaf, though a little tired (it has since been given a new lease of life) were a reminder of the heyday of train travel. I could imagine standing in my Victorian finery, a porter behind me with trunks loaded onto his barrow, awaiting the arrival of my train to take me to new lands.

The exterior is no less of a picture. Flanked by buildings of a clotted cream colour the central façade rises majestically above them. Statues of James Watt and George Stephenson stand in their niches as above them the pediment is topped with an allegorical sculpture of transportation.

Budapest's Keleti pu station is a wonderful piece of architecture with which to introduce a city, full of interesting buildings, to its visitors.
Budapest Eastern Railway Station, Lotz-Hall
Author: unrengur; Source: Wikipedia

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