Budapest, Hungary

Trip Start Jun 21, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2012

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Aboard Ship

Flag of Hungary  ,
Sunday, July 8, 2012

Up early and after a great breakfast headed to the top deck for a "sail-in" naration of Budapest by Dragan. What a wonderful city. Just beautiful. It's actually two cities "Buda" on one side of the Rhine River and "Pest" (pronounced Pesht) on the other side. Buda is hilly and Pest is rather flat. But the buildings, the Parliament, the castle on the hill, including Matthias Church, the public buildings, the Parisian-style boulevards. Probably the most beautiful city we've visited.

The Captain spun the ship around and we docked, disembarked and took a tour of the city. As beautiful up close as it was from the river. They have a huge square opened in 1896 when they had the World Exhibition here which now holds monuments to city founder, St. Steven, former kings, and a tomb of their unknown soldier. They have some great "bath houses" here in Budapest filled by their natural springs. The water is hot. We may try one of them since we have a few days here in the city after the cruise.

Hungary is a member of the European Union, but they have their own currency. They have not moved to the Euro yet. And their currency is something like 200 Foerints to one dollar. Very complicated. We'll figure it out. Actually, later someone helped us with that...4 times the value of the Foerint and take off 3 0s is a rough approximation. Euros were easier!!!

Back to the ship for lunch and then off again on another excersion. It included a visit to a Hungarian diamond cutting museum with the "opportunity" to purchase something if you like. Sandy actually found a ring she liked and we got it...not nearly as expensive as the one in Amsterdam. The next part of the tour was probably our best excursion yet. They took us to what they called an "Open Air Museum" which was a village that they had reconstructed by moving houses, barns, etc. from the Hungarian countryside from 100-150 years ago to show you want life was like back then. Sort of like New Salem if you will, including people telling you about each building. Excellent. Then they took us back to the ship via speedboat. That was fun and cooling on a hot day. Interesting it appears women here don't seem to mind canoeing, kayaking or swimming topless. A little different than our expectation in the States.

Our final dinner aboard ship and then after dinner, another highlight. An evening tour of the lights of Budapest. Simply magnificent. The city lights up like Christmas every night. Beuatiful doesn't even describe it.

Last night aboard ship.

Up early and walked our suitcases to the Intercontinental Hotel...10-15 minute walk....better than a 35 Euro cab ride. Back to the ship for breakfast and goodbyes to our new friends. We're actually going to have dinner with some of them tonight. Many are staying in the Intercontinental like we are. Then we walked back to the hotel had a Coke light until our room was ready. We got upgraded to a great room. Top floor over looking the Danube and right across from Castle Hill. Not a better view in the city.

We had a dinner at a restaurant about a block away which was suggested by the concierge. Tremendous food, great Hungarian music and after dinner just watched the lights come on in Budapest....awesome. We actually didn't realize how beautiful the view from our room was until after dinner and the sun se. The city of Buda across the Rhine River came alive with lights. Truly not a better view in the city.

A very relaxing day. Tomorrow maybe the Jewish Synagogue and Museum and the market for the all important souvenirs. It's been a great vacation.

Take care my friends. We'll see you soon.

Dave & Sandy
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