September 30, 2018 - Budapest, Hungary
Hungary is a landlocked country in the heart of Europe. It does not use the euro - the currency is the forint and $1CDN = 217 forint. It's not an easy currency to quickly convert in your head!
We are docked next to other Viking ships today - curtains closed! After breakfast we met our Panoramic Budapest excursion. It is some bus and some walking.
Budapest is a city of about 2 million and it is divided by the Danube. Our tour started on the modern and flat Pest side of the river. We drove on Andrassy Ave., by the Opera House and Heroes' Square. The architecture in Budapest is stunning. They also have a Ferris wheel. The thermal baths are famous here but we did not partake.
Then we headed to the Buda side...the hilly side. It's also the castle district. We had a bit of free time to look around before the bus brought us back to the ship.
After the tour we explored on our own. Budapest is an interesting city but I think you need to spend more time here to appreciate and see the depth of it. After WWII, it was under communist rule and though it has democratic rule since 1989, there is a communist feel to the city.
This powerful piece of art, Shoes on the Danube Bank, is in memory of the people who were made to take off their shoes before being shot in to the Danube. Approximately 20,000 Jews were murdered.
We are docked by the Chain Bridge, from 1849, and we walked across in daylight and again in the evening. It was the first permanent bridge to cross the Danube in Hungary.
This was our last night on the ship. We learned that the water levels are at a dangerously low level and ships are not being permitted to go through. That means the people arriving on our ship tomorrow will have to use it as a hotel and they will be bused down the Danube.
There was a final farewell before dinner. Cocktails all around!
Budapest is lit up at night and we went out to look around before packing.
Oh and one final name sighting...