Monday 8/7/06 – Budapest Pt 2
This morning began with an early driving & walking tour of Budapest. The first half was spent on the Pest side, driving through the main areas of town and learning about the history of the city. We ended up at the main Square of the city, constructed for the Millenium celebration in 1896. The central statuary reflects the history of the Hungarian nation, with the middle column surrounded by the 7 tribal chiefs (from 896 AD) with the angel Gabriel atop.
After visiting Pest, we drove over the Chain Bridge (the first to connect the cities) to the Buda side. Buda is built on hills, unlike Pest – and there is a faultline under the Danube, which we suspect has a part in the creation of the different land structures. The heart of Buda is the Castle district, which was been both home to royalty and middle-class alike at different times in its long history. The view is simply amazing – one can see all of Pest from one side (reminding me of Paris from the Eiffel Tower) and the hills of Buda from the other. The Castle district is also home to the Mathias church (named for a significant king who restored the church) and the Fisherman’s Bastion, a lookout precipice. We also visited the Ruszwurm, the favorite pastry shop of the Austrian queen who visited often in the 19th century.
In the afternoon, we set sail for Vienna. Along the way we got an explanation of Viennese Coffee culture (not unfamiliar for Seattle folks) and a demonstration of how to make apple strudel!
Tonight we will pass Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, and pass through the first of 25 locks!