Finding Courage within the Budapest Labyrinth
The Buda side of Budapest, left of the Danube, is beautiful with rich, lush rolling hills and has an overall old world charm. Here there are various historic sites like the Royal Palace, its gardens and the Buda Castle. Below the Buda Castle lies a labyrinth. There are 28 kilometers of cave networks that were formed by the thermal springs, and are popular to this day. On my second visit to Budapest I even descended into the labyrinth beneath the Buda Castle to test my will and courage.
As we descended the stairs the eerie atmosphere enveloped us. The yellow-hue glow from the oil lamps, the dark and the dampness really helped to set the scene. At 16 meters below the Castle District the Buda Castle Labyrinth is a 1200 meters long cave system that looks at how the caves have been used since prehistoric times in five separate labyrinths encompassing nine halls. Each hall reverberated with life and an overwhelming sense of stepping back in time.
A couple of halls really stood out. One with a life-sized stone horse that almost felt full of life in the dim light with its oversized shadow cast against the wall. Another hall showcased a fountain of red wine, appearing as an offering but brought to mind blood more so than wine. But this didn’t faze my friend Stacey as she tried the red liquid in the spirit of ‘why not!’
The last hall was also the one that probably had the most impact on us all, it was the labyrinth of courage. I lead the way as the door shut behind us, taking us from the dim light of oil lamps to pitch blackness. We couldn’t see each other let alone anything of our surroundings. The only thing that led us forward was a hand rail that after a few dead ends finally brought us to the door that transported us back to the light. What a surreal experience. It was invigorating and reminded me of the art of travelling, the journey begins with the first step!
*Note: Sadly the Budapest labyrinth is currently closed. To learn more on why visit their website here.
Would you dare to enter the Buda Castle labyrinth?
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