We arrived in Budapest about 6 p.m. on December 11,
2001 . The temperature was probably in the 20s. The next
morning a light snow was falling when our local guide (Susan)
came to show us around town. Money -- the Hungarian
forint was 263 to $1.00.
We started at Heroes'
Square ringed by many museums,
drove by the city park with ice
skaters, the zoo, public hot baths, then up the hill to the castle
district and Buda Square. First stop was St.
Mathias Church and the Fisherman's
Bastion. We came back a few days later to spend more time at
the attractions. Once down from the mountain and
across the Danube River we stopped at the covered
market to shop and eat a little. We walked down Andrassy
Street and by St. Stephen's
Basilica where the Austro-Hungarian coronations took place.
This evening we found a restaurant that had one of Kirsten's favorite
food - falafel.
The next morning we boarded a river
boat for a 2 hour journey to the Danube
Bend and the town of Szentendre.
Exiting the boat we had to walk in about 5 inches of fresh snow to
walk around this small town. Shops were just beginning to open
and some were shoveling snow. We walked by their town square
with a Christmas tree to the Marcipan
store and museum.
We were fortunate to visit the Margit Kovács Museum
for free to see some great pottery - no photos permitted. Our
lunch was at the wonderful Renaissance
Restaurant on the Danube. It all started with our own loaf
of bread and unlimited pitchers of wine. Next venison soup and
then turkey. It was one of the best meals on the trip. As
the bus drove up the mountain side we could see how beautiful the area
was - with lots of summer and vacation homes. We also had a good
look at the river bend.
Returning to Budapest we pasted the Roman ruins called Aquincum.
Our Radisson Hotel was not far from the main train
station and a great multi-story shopping
mall. It was a great place to be on a cold evening.
By Friday, December 14, it was sunny but still
cold. Kirsten and I tried to take a tour of the Parliament
Building but there were long lines (in the cold) and only 2 tours
per day. Oh well! So we decided to take a walk
along the Danube River, walked across one bridge
and returned on another, saw the Holocaust
Memorial, and used the local
bus service to return to our hotel. That afternoon we
traveled east into the countryside for a horse
show and dinner. We were the only group at this horse
training facility - Kirsten and some others went to the barn where they got to see the
horses up close. We also had some musical entertainment.
Saturday we had to ourselves so decided to ride the
oldest subway in Europe and street trolley to return to castle
hill. The weather was cold and partly cloudy which was better
than cold and snowing. We did visit the "Labyrinth
(or caves) of Buda" underneath the castle. The area served as a
bomb shelter during WWII. The caves were for water delivery in
medieval times. Visited the Royal
Palace and walked across the Chain Bridge to the Pest side of
town. Walked by the synagogue,
then used the street trolley to return to the hotel.
The next day we were off to Vienna.