Tuesday, June 15, 2010


On our last day in beautiful Budapest we decided to head back to Castle Hill

.We headed back down to the Danube where we could see the Fishermen's Bastion,

and the rising waters of the Danube which were making the entrance to the restaurants there ever more difficult.

We walked across the Chain Bridge,

And took the funicular, built in 1870 to provide cheap transportation to Castle Hill workers.

We climbed down the stairs by the Turul bird where I exchanged picture taking with a young Japanese couple also on tour.

We headed to the Budapest History Museum.

The collections within traced the history of the city from prehistoric times, and the history and changes to the castle over the centuries.

In the cellar you can wander through the remains of old palace parts including this dismal entrance to the dark cells of prisoners.

Walking out through a door to a balcony, one could see portions of the old walls and foundation.

Tired and on overload, we retraced our steps from the Castle, once the top Renaissance Palace in Europe, but now a historically inaccurate post WWII reconstruction, to the funicular which took us back down the hill.

At the bottom we saw close up the "big zero" KM, the point from which all distances are measured in Budapest.

Passing the guarding Lion at the entrance to the Chain Bridge,

We walked across,

To find these young men in their tricycle vehicles enjoying the flood waters.

Tired and hungry, we stopped at the beautiful Four Seasons for a drink and bite of lunch.

Afterward we walked the short distance to the St Istvan's Basilica, or St. Steven's in English.

The church is only about 100 years old, built around the millennial celebrations of 1896. Designed by 3 architects and constructed over a period of 50 years, it's main claim to fame is the 1000 year old "Holy Right Hand" of St. Istaven, Hungary's first Christian king.

The Dome, reaching 96 meters, is visible from all over Budapest.

Now that we are home after this memorable maiden trip with VBT, "The best of the Danube" I feel a few final comments are in order. I am not sure that even our guides have ever had to deal with so many last minute changes due to weather, road conditions and closures. But even so, I never heard a complaint from any of the guests - just smiles and laughs. Maybe it was because 6 of us had reached or surpassed the 3/4 century mark in our lives and have come to realize that life in general is full of potholes and twists and turns in the road, and it is our attitude that makes it a success or failure. But also it must be attributed to the very able leadership that solved the problems and kept making it fun no matter what. They handled all situations with humor and grace, encouragement and a big smile. My compliments to all of you. We hope to keep coming back as long as our health, energy and finances permit.

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