Budapest is the capital of Hungary with its two cities on the Danube River, Buda on the western bank, and Pest on the eastern bank. As our ship sailed the Danube into Budapest it was a magnificent vision. The Parliament Building greets all with its 691 rooms. It is their crown jewel and tours are available.
Below are pictures of other structures along the Danube. The Palace is now an exceptional art museum and having toured it I can attest to the quality it possesses. Worth the visit.
And we caught a bride and groom as we sailed past..
Graceful bridges, statutes, and architecture also adorned the Danube cruise as approach to Budapest docking neared.
Once docked our tour began in Hero Square. Built in 1896 as a military memorial Angel Gabriel is the key figure holding the Hungarian crown and cross atop the tower. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After World War II one third of Hungary was in ruins. A moving tribute to the Jews lost in World War II was found next to the Danube. Here Jews were told to remove their shoes then gunned down by Nazi soldiers.
Then in 1956 the Russians invaded with 22,000 disappearing during this time. Now Hungary is free of Russian rule and is a parliamentary democratic republic with a social security system, universal health care, and universal free secondary education. It holds the world’s 58th largest economy and 10% of its GDP is based on tourism. (Info: Auntie Google).
From here it was time to explore Budapest’s pastries, museums, a historic Catholic Church and pass palace guards.
Matthias Church or Church of Our Lady is in Holy Trinity Square. This Gothic church has spectacular views of the City and during its 700 year history held coronations.
In this area are many gift shops, restaurants, and the oldest pastry shop in the City. It bustles with tourists and citizens. For those seeking good luck locate the statute of Andras Hadik and give his horse’s testicles a rub then watch your fortune change! I gave it my all and will let you know. 🙂
Tour concluded and my journey began…
Walking to the museum one passes palace guards and gardens. The streets of Budapest are cobblestones so wear thick soled shoes and pay attention.
Further down the walk the Museum looms with its building as lovely as its collection. One can spend an afternoon or a couple hours here taking in the masterpieces of international art. Cezanne, Pissarro, and Monet all hold a place here.
Post Museum I located the Great Market Hall of Budapest and what a delightful shopping experience this was. I even managed to bring home pepperoni which I savored daily. They have everything from soup to nuts, and did I mention tourism information??? And for those cooks out there, don’t forget the paprika!
After this I explored the streets of Budapest with preparations being made for Christmas Markets.
Then on to the Basilica of St. Stephen. He was the first king of Hungary and his mummified right hand is housed in the church.
And one last church before my final destination..
Budapest is a city of caves and minerals. There are tours available for those with spelunking in their blood, however with time at a premium, I elected to see a cave at Gellert Hill. Here is St. Ivan’s Cave, believed to be where the hermit lived using thermal water to heal the sick.
It now is a church and place of quiet meditation.
Across the street is the Gellert Thermal Bath, of which I had the pleasure to visit and soak. What a relaxing experience.
This is the lobby where you pay for the experience. Remember to bring a bathing suit and towel. I forgot the towel and had to blow myself dry. Ha! Ha!
The pool area is for swimming and if you wish to partake a bathing cap is required. There are also soaking tubs with various temperatures, saunas, steam rooms, and an outside pool. Cost is approximately 20 USD, but bring euros.
And now a short captivating walk back to the ship. How beautiful the bridge is at twilight.
Final ship entertainment was an on board Hungarian music and dance fest.
Leaving me with wonderful..