Monday Aug 6 - Budapest

Introduction and Itinerary   Preliminaries   Sunday Aug 5 - Vienna to Budapest   Monday Aug 6 - Budapest   Tuesday Aug 7 - Brataslava   Wednesday Aug 8 - Vienna   Thursday Aug 9 - Dürnstein & Melk   Friday Aug 10 - Passau   Saturday Aug 11 - Regensburg   Sunday Aug 12 - Roth and Nürnberg   Monday Aug 13 - Bamberg   Tuesday Aug 14 - Würzburg   Wednesday Aug 15 - Miltenberg   Thursday Aug 16 - Rüdesheim   Friday Aug 17 - Köln   Saturday Aug 18 - Amsterdam   Summary      Return to Main Page

As planned we got the tour of Budapest, which turned out to be very good. The tour guide spoke excellent English with very little accent. Usually on tours like this you get someone who is hard to understand. The tours were greatly enhanced by means of wireless ear phones. The days of trying to hear a guide shout over the crowd appear to be over. We were first taken on a coach tour of Pest, the part of Budapest on the right bank (south side of the Danube).
We began by heading up Andrássy avenue, a wide, spacious street containing magnificent villas and historic buildings and upscale shops and lined with trees.
House of Terror, a museum containing exhibits related to the fascist and communist regimes and a memorial to the victims
Not all streets are wide boulevards
More Andrássy Avenue
The leafier section of Andrássy Avenue. Budapest seemed to have lots of trees.
More trees
Approaching Hero's square. Like all big cities, Budapest has a automated rent-a-bike scheme. I just wish I could get them to work.
Heros square
The Millennium Monument with Archangel Gabriel on top holding the holy crown and the double cross of Christianity commemorates the 1000-year-old history of Hungary.
City Park
Vajdahunyad Castle, a replica of a Transylvanian castle of that name surrounded by an artificial lake.
Budapest Zoo
It must be a circus
Back on Andrássy Avenue: unknown building
Crossing over to the Buda side on the modern looking Elisabeth Bridge to Castle Hill, which is on the other side of the bus.
World War 1 museum
View of the Danube from the Buda side.
Chain Bridge from Buda side
Fisherman's Bastion, a 19th-century fortress with 7 turreted lookout towers
The castle, home of Hungarian kings in the middle ages.
We alighted from the bus for a walking tour in the castle residential district. The guide pointed out features of houses dating from the middle ages. I wouldn't want to live here because of the tourist hoards.
Matthias Church where Hungarian kings were crowned in the middle ages. Supposedly, it was named after King Matthias who was murdered by his wife for some indiscretion. This led to instability allowing the Ottoman Turks to finally conquer Hungary.
Tourist throng in open space along side Matthias church.
Same bunch in the square in front of Matthias church
After the guided tour, we walked back to the bus on side streets to avoid the crowds. The bus then crossed back to the Pest side and dropped us off at the Central Market Hall.
View of Pest from hills of Buda
Back on the Pest side, another view of Elisabeth Bridge
Just downstream of the Szabadság (Liberty) bridge. If the ship is heading upstream, she's stuck.
Victorian era Central Market Hall. Although tours drop tourists off here, it seemed to cater to locals with stalls selling produce, sausage, cheese, wine, etc.
A produce stall
A cheese stall
Jeanine and I had lunch on a bench in a small park with some shade and a breeze which made the temperature almost bearable. We hoarded the E15 per person we were given for lunch; instead we had sandwiches copped from the hotel buffet breakfast. This was the last time we had to resort to such low class activity until we left the ship two weeks later.

I was extremely impressed with Budapest. It was as beautiful as Vienna and almost as majestic. The compromise of 1867 whereby the Austrian Empire became the Austro-Hungarian empire with Franz Josef as emperor of Austria and king of Hungary must have been good for Hungary. Even the 40 years of communism didn't destroy the many spectacular buildings from the dual monarchy era.

We had the choice of taking a 1 hour ride to meet our ship at Komárno, Slovakia, across the Danube from Komoron, Hungary departing either at 1:30 or 3:00. I opted for the early option because I wanted to finally get in some bike riding.
Leaving Budapest we past more pedestrian style buildings.
Hungarian country-side between Budapest and komarom.
The Luminary is waiting for us as we cross the Danube from Komarom, Hungary to Komárno, Slovakia.
Arriving at ship, we had the first pleasant surprise. Not only were the bikes almost new multi-speed what Europeans call touring bikes, but the staff never once hassled us when we requested bikes, which we did every day but one. You simple asked at the reception desk and they were ready on the dock when you wanted to depart.

In general we would take the included shore tour in the morning and then bike in the afternoon, or if there wasn't enough time for both we would bike. The two exceptions were Vienna where we biked all day because we had done Vienna city tours twice before, and Bamberg when we opted for the tour even though it didn't leave time for biking. When I first visited Germany in 1994 we had time for two destinations: I chose Trier and Regensburg; but Bamberg was a close third.

So while an army of workers were unloading the luggage from trucks and and delivering it to our stateroom, we took a tour of Komárno.
Back on the saddle again after 7 days.
Needless to say the ship was very nice, somewhat more elegant and spacious than the bike and barge ships we had experienced twice before. The staterooms were spacious; and our wall to wall glass window opened, which made it very enjoyable to watch the scenery go by once the heat wave was history. The spacious bathrooms had a great shower, although Jeanine would have preferred a bath tub (maybe in the Royal Suite).

With supper on board we were back on schedule heading for Brataslava.
Relaxing in the lounge after an easy bike ride.
Sailing for Bratslava on a wide section of the Danube.
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