Tuesday, December 28, 2010
OCT 09 BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
We had a beautiful sail in to Budapest – directly in front of the magnificent Parliament. Mom saw the Intercontinental Hotel where Dad and she stayed for a convention many years ago. After lunch we boarded a bus for the Americans and had a 3 hour guided tour of the city. Heroes Square: wide open space of Heroes Square with an 118 feet high tall monument erected in 1896 to mark the 1000 years of the Magyar date. Square is flanked by the Palace of Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts, Parliament: strongly reminiscent of the Palace of Westminster in London, it is one of the city’s most famous sights. Neo-Gothic style completed in 1902, it extends along the Danube for 292 yards, St. Stephen’s church, Fisherman’s Bastion.
Overlooking the Danube, the fairy-tale spires and turrets afford the classic view of Budapest. Built onto the castle walls in the early 20th century purely for ornamental reasons, the monument’s name is a reference to the fishermen who heroically defended the ramparts here against invaders in the 18th century and St. Matyas Church which is on the Buda hill named after Hungary’s most popular medieval king. Habsburg Emperor Franz Jose I was crowned King of Hungary here in 1867. Has unusual geometric patterns on the roof, stained glass windows and other details date from the 19th century. We were on both the Buda side with mountains and hills, and the Pest side is as flat as it can be.
They dropped 5 of us off at the Gellert thermal baths and we were pleased to hear it was ½ price tonight! They are medicinal baths as well as regular swimming pools, all decorated in an opulent art nouveau style. Unisex indoor pool has a vaulted glass ceiling and Romanesque style carved columns (and cold water!) and the thermal baths feature marble statues, fine mosaics and glazed tiles with water temperatures at 36 and 38 degrees Celsius. So we enjoyed the warm, hot, ice cold and lukewarm baths and steam and sauna rooms. Mom and I walked back to the ship with no trouble and the others got a little lost but they made it!
Nice dinner of pork - - no choices. They print up the menu and you eat. We have a table for the English speakers and the others are all French. We sail now with the city lights on and then head southeast to Serbia.