Dan had meetings in Budapest, Hungary ( oh darn…LOL!), so we got Gracie off to the Hundepension or kennel as we Americans call it, made arrangements for Bandit to be cared for and loaded up the 2003 Giebel mobile for the 6 hour drive to Hungary last Saturday. Europe still baffles me. We drove the equivalent of Buffalo, NY to Columbus, Ohio. Or, Republic, Washington to Seattle, Washington, but instead of just changing states or cities, we changed language, culture and customs! European countries mere hours apart could not be more different. Takes a little getting used to, but on the other hand, I love all the different cultures! But I digress again, yet, still…….
The Autobahn through Austria to Hungary
Budapest, was formed from the unification of 2 cities on either side of the Danube or Donau River. Buda and Pest, were united in the year 1873. The area was first settled by Celts in the year (ready??) 1 A.D! It has changed hands, rulers, languages and religions multiple times over the centuries and today it is a thriving Metropolis of 1,750,000 residents.
Budapest was nearly blasted into eternity in the later stages of WWII and indeed lost 80% of all its buildings. Every one of its beautiful bridges crossing the Danube were destroyed. Unfortunately, liberation from Nazi control lead to the Soviet Communist regime that stayed in power until 1989.
The stunning and infamous Chain Bridge spanning the Danube.
Ahhhhh….the Danube! Definitely not blue as its namesake song implys, but beautiful and big and deep and a major route for both the transport of goods and tourists as the many river cruise ships attest to every day. The Danube flows southeast 1,189 miles from its source in the Black Forest of Germany to its mouth at the Black Sea.
Being rather tired on Sunday, which was our first full day in Budapest, Dan and I opted for a very low key day. We strolled from our Hotel…oh wait,…I just have to show you this picture from the Radisson of the rooftops of Budapest. You could walk the rooftops from building to building. Reminds me of Mary Poppins, but that’s a different Country, and city and hmmm….. a whole different story too! Time to pull focus but I do love this picture!
We arrived at St. Stephan’s Basilica just in time for Mass which was standing room only. Dan and I agreed that this Church is the most beautiful that we have seen so far. Hard to find words to describe its beauty.
Makes me reflect that “Life is Good!”
We strolled down to the river, just a 15 minute walk from the Hotel on what was a lovely warm day with temperatures in the upper 50’s under blue sunny skies. A roadway, the tram and a walkway line the river and there were tons of people out enjoying the afternoon. We stopped for lunch at a sweet outdoor cafe’, just one of many along the banks.
I enjoyed my first bowl of the world re known Hungarian Goulash Soup which was so delicious and satisfying! It is not the thick, hearty stew we Americans are so used to, but truly a soup that I will be trying to duplicate back home. Every restaurant serves it for a good reason. It is wonderful, full of Paprika and beef.
After lunch I fed leftover bread to the pigeons at the waterfront.
Remember to make friends wherever you go
We found the Architecture to be incredible and enjoyed both the old and the “newer” old buildings like this one. The State Music Center with the fountain in front.
We hopped on a glass enclosed tour boat and motored around for a couple of hours enjoying our “down time” and the beauty of this marvelous city as seen from the river. Lots of barge traffic hauling goods up river. This one was passing in front of the hill Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion.
The narrated boat tour in 30 different languages was just fun and I enjoyed being with this really cool dude wearing safety inspector shades while taking a selfie!
Seeing the sites and the buildings from the water was not only enjoyable in its own right, but we made note of what we wanted to visit in greater depth when we walked the city. Like the yellow bridge that leads to Margit Island.
Then there is the Parliament building which is so magnificent it almost seems imaginary!
On our way back to the Hotel we passed this place which confirms that we aren’t in Kansas, Toto!
Dan and I were discussing what to do about dinner that evening when we looked up and saw “The English Pub.” That settled that as we looked at each other and said “fish and chips!” That’s what we do every time we leave Germany is look for a fish fry. Can’t get one of those in Bavaria. It was so good too! Dan of course washed it down with a good English Ale as he continues to sample beer across Europe.
We wandered back to the Hotel, content and rejuvenated after a much needed quiet day.
Tomorrow is Day 2 and I promise we’ll be eating Hungarian food as well as drinking Hungarian beer and wine!
Thanks so much for stopping by today. I truly appreciate your friendship and hope you are enjoying your own journey.
Journey on! Karen
Sharon Camarda Paz says
Love this. the pictures just gorgeous. I am loving this journey that you are on as I am on it with you. Thanks for sharing.
Karen Giebel says
I truly wish you all could be here! We’d have so much fun Shar 🙂
Sounds like you are having a wonderful time over there. I wish I could have spent time like that when I was stationed over there.
Karen Giebel says
I know what you mean Kathy. It’s an amazing privilege to have these opportunities and why I try to share them with my friends. I truly wish you all could be here with me!
I must admit I was one of your followers that didn’t write anything after reading your wonderful stories. I do so love your blog, it is the only way I will ever see Europe. So please continue, write your stories and send us your photos. I miss you Karen.
Karen Giebel says
I miss you too Paula. This is one way for us to stay connected and I can share my adventures with you! Thanks for writing. It’s hard to know if anyone is reading what I write. God Bless!