We checked out of the hotel and took a cab to our new home – the River Princess.
This ship, operated by UniWorld, will be our new home for the next week or so – and go on the Danube River from Budapest to Nuremberg – and then a bus to Prague. Of course there are stops in various places. Our room, while small, covers everything we need – and is a better layout then we have had on other river cruises we have been on.
After checking in, we headed out again and made a special trip to see the Shoes on the Danube Bank.
This is a memorial to honor the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. It represents their shoes left behind on the bank.
After our visit the skies opened up with rain, lightening and thunder! Fortunately we had been able to stop for a beverage and were out of the rain and were able to call a taxi to get us back to the boat.
The following day (Thursday) I took the bus tour and Janeen took the walking tour. Her adventure took in various public transit options – subway and trolley with stops along the way.
My tour via bus went to first to the Castle District, at the top of the hill on the Buda side of the city and to a visit to the Matthias Church and area.
Saint Stephen found his way to the area of present day Hungary in 1015 and was able to convert the King to Christianity – thus started the Catholic Church in this area. At the top of the hill, is the Matthias Church a Roman Catholic Church with the Fisherman’s Bastion at the heart of the Buda Castle District. The current building was built in the second half of the 14th century with extensive restoration in the late 19th. The roof of the church is very bright – with the roof tiles made from ceramic materials.
This Soviet era car was a result of the Soviet Union realizing they had a large amount of cotton and plastic waste that they didn’t know what to do with. So they sent it to their East German comrades, so they could build themselves a car. The Germans combined the cotton/wool waste with recycled plastic and resin, calling their new solid-ish (and extremely flammable) material “Duroplast”. Some say it was the first ever eco-friendly car, being the first to use recycled materials in its construction.
Driving down from the Castle District, we drove by a World War I Museum with this large sculpture out front. Budapest didn’t fair well during this war due in large part to their alliance with Austria.
After visiting the area, the bus cycled the Pest side of the city passing by several highlights – WW I museum and an interesting sculpture depicting an artist’s impression of the Iron Curtain.
The Soviet Union didn’t leave until 1989 – just a few years ago. With all that has happened over the last 100 years, the resilience of a people is fantastic. We saw interesting sites, had wonderful food, met really nice people and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Now it’s off to Vienna!