Day 4 is transfer to Budapest day. We boarded a motorcoach for an eight hour ride. Ugh. Fortunately, we snagged front seats to avoid car sickness. Of course, there was construction and an accident which brought the freeway to a complete stop. Double ugh. We finally arrive at about 5pm to our ship which is docked below the famous Chain Bridge along with four other Viking ships.
We checked into our cabin (I’ll describe it as cozy) and headed for dinner. No exploring, though a walk might have been good after sitting on the bus all day. Ready for the true cruise vacation to begin.
I woke up about 6:00 and opened the curtains to this view.
A full rainbow over the former Parliament, Fisherman’s Bastion, Chain Bridge and the Cathedral on the Buda side of the Danube. I should explain that there were originally two cities, Buda and Pest, separated by the Danube River. I think they were only joined into one in 1873 and this was the seat of the Hungarian empire. (A quiz for you… there are four capitals of countries on the Danube, can you name them and the countries?)
On our itinerary is a bus/walking tour in the morning. Due to government intervention in controlling the large number of tour buses going to the UNESCO sites, we could have walked to Matthias Church faster. It was truly spectacular with colored ceramic tiles on the roof.
We had time to explore inside, see a replica of the royal crown given to King Stephen by the Pope. I wanted to take a selfie of me with it on my head but I didn’t want to be that American.
The tour had one other stop at Hero Square. Large statues of, guess what? Also the thermal baths. We learned that Budapest sits on over 60 thermal/mineral hot springs with lots of catacombs below the surface. Hard to imagine how a massive cathedral can sit atop a cavern.
After bus tour and lunch, it was “me” time. We walked along the river to the large indoor market. The building looks like a train station but inside there were hundreds of vendors for fruits, vegetables, meats, spices and l
ace. The view from the second level.
Our good weather fortune continued as it started to rain just as we stepped inside and it had stopped by the time we left. I bought some Hungarian paprika. Goulash in my future.
We wandered through the city towards the Parliament getting pleasantly lost more than once. The Parliament is a truly impressive structure which had to be rebuilt after WWII. On the grounds was a monument thanking the Soviets for liberating then after WWII. One of our guides noted that the Hungarians appreciated that liberation but noted the Soviets “forgot to leave” a
We were required to board by 5:30 for departure from Budapest. We pushed off and headed up stream, barely clearing the underside of the Chain Bridge. We didn’t get two miles before the captain but the brakes. I thought our engine problems were back but it turned out a lady from the ship docked next to us had mistakenly ventured into our boat and was in a panic. We pulled over to a dock and tossed her off to the cheers and jeers of our whole ship.
The end of another day. Tomorrow we cruise all day to Vienna. A rest day.
Quiz answer: Vienna, Austria, Bratislava, Slovakia, Budapest, Hungary and Belgrade, Serbia.