From this point on, Budapest was on our own...starting officially after breakfast on the Saturday before Easter. I say "officially" because since our hotel wasn't ready for check-in till 2p, Viking encouraged us to stay in the vicinity and eat lunch onboard, which we did.
So in this post, I'm showing what we saw by walking around the vicinity of the Chain Bridge where our boat was docked.
When I say we were docked at the Chain Bridge, I mean it.
In fact, 3 of these images above were taken while on the bridge...but more on that later.
As we left the boat, we were on another mission....
...while passing the views of the churches on the Buda/opposite side of the Danube river.
You've already seen up-close-and-personal the Matthias Church from my last post.
You'll see some of the other churches in a later post.
Right then we were on this side of the Danube, on a mission to see...
...the most disturbing sight of our entire trip.
The Shoes on the Danube is a 2005 memorial honoring the Jews killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen during WWII. Men, women and children were "forced to strip naked on the banks of the Danube and face the river; a firing squad then shot the prisoners at close range in the back so that they fell into the river to be washed away. This was a common practice that occurred during 1944-1945."
I can't think of any war memorial anywhere that has affected me as deeply.
And as you see, it was only meters away from our Chain Bridge docking.
Let our hearts be broken...and lest we forget!
After composing ourselves...we continued our walk along the promenade past the Parliament building.
It's usually best seen from the other side of the river but, for now, here it is up-close.
We actually walked around it and saw the back side, which was almost as nice.
Once around the Parliament, we headed back to the promenade on the other side of the Chain Bridge.
You know I'm a glutton for these bronze statues, especially when Astrid joins the shot.
The most famous is the Little Princess, from 1989, created by László Marton,
inspired by his eldest daughter from his first marriage.
I love that she looks like an impish tomboy. HA!
From the promenade we walked inland to Vorosmarty Square for the Easter Fair.
Have you ever had rooster testicles stew (top middle image)???
(And yes, the poor we always have with us!)
This was fun. Very Hungarian, apparently.
But I started singing "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier" when I saw all those fur hats!
(click any collage to enlarge)
And while there, this band was playing...
...with these children watching, mesmerized.
I wished like the dickens I could understand Hungarian!
Now, head back with us to the Chain Bridge to close the loop.
This time we walked across the bridge, over the Danube, to the Buda side of Budapest.
To the left of the bridge is the Royal Palace, if you remember it from my last post,
and the Castle Hill Funicular that takes you to the top to see it.
And there's Matthias Church again. See, you're getting acclimated to this incredible city!
Now, turn around and go back across the bridge to the Pest side.
And that's when you see these fabulous views of the Parliament!
How can you say NO to that!
At this point it was time to eat lunch back on the ship, while new passengers were boarding.
It was our unofficial last Good-Bye to the Viking Grand European Tour we had just experienced
for 2 incredible weeks.
for 2 incredible weeks.
Along the way of that day....impressions.
And more impressions.
We even had a sneak preview of the Margaret Bridge,
which we would cross the next day to Margaret Island....
...to be continued...