‘Autumn and Buda were born of the same mother,’ declared Gyula Krudy, one of Hungary’s best-loved writers. In the lazy warmth of an Indian summer, the Hungarian capital certainly looks its best. The pavement cafes are crowded; the Habsburg-era squares glow in the soft light as the trees shed their golden leaves. Even the Danube, usually a murky shade of grey, shimmers blue.
Yet the city’s calm beauty is deceptive. These are tense, febrile days for Hungary. The central European nation is now a key pressure point in Europe’s migration crisis. By mid-September more than 190,000 migrants had crossed into Hungary, most of them from the border with Serbia.