The Buda, the Pest, and the Cowboys
Trip Start Mar 15, 2012
31Trip End Apr 11, 2012
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(from Wikipedia) "The history of Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Hungarians arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-42. The re-established town became one of the centers of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century
One of the most moving moments of our cruise came at the Shoes on the Danube Promenade. This is a memorial created by 60 pairs of iron shoes bolted to tiles at the edge of the river. "It honors the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during WWII. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. It represents their shoes left behind on the bank." (Wikipedia)
After a quick lunch aboard ship, we spent the afternoon at a horse show where Hungarian "cowboys" showed us their skills at the Lázár Equestrian Park near the town of Gödöllő, in the Puszta region. After a traditional Hungarian brandy and a biscuit, we found a place to sit on the long benches by the track -- very close to the action. The riders don't use saddles or stirrups, they control the horses with only bridles and cracking long whips. The Lázár brothers who run the "living history" ranch have won numerous awards and ribbons in buggy-races throughout Europe. We visited the stables where they have displayed many of their trophies and carriages and wandered around a small farm with sheep and geese, etc. We also took a nice hay-rack ride out into the county. What a nice finish to the cruise portion of our trip!