Saturday, April 21, 2018

Danube River Cruise - Budapest: April 20, 2018

Parliament and the Margaret Bridge
We arrived in Budapest around 10:00 pm last night. Both sides of the Danube were lit like the Electric parade at Disneyland. Our Viking longship gave us a waterside nighttime tour of all those lit buildings. It was quite a memorable entrance and truly glorious. We cruised past our dock and kept going under several more bridges before turning back to dock next to the Chain Bridge. Fabulous!

Parliament located on the Pest side
View of Matthias Church and Buda Castle on the Buda side
We began our first day in Budapest with Viking's "Panoramic Budapest" to some of the highlights like the Matthias Church.




Matthias Church was unlike any structure I'd ever seen. It's interior is painted with a myriad of patterns and jewel-like colors that combine into a warm harmonious vision.


The building was constructed in the 14th century and extensively restored in the 19th century. The church heavily damaged during WWII as it was used as a camp by first German and then Soviet soldiers. It was restored most recently during the years 2006-2013.

Flowering cherry trees were in full bloom along the walkways of Castle Hill.


Later that afternoon, we took one of Viking's optional excursions to see the "legendary Hungarian Puszta (cowboys). It was a fast-paced show with performers dressed as historic figures. After the show we were given a tour of the stables and the petting zoo.





We had one more night aboard our Viking longship and the next day we were on our own. 

After our one-week Viking River Cruise, we now know that at this point in our lives, it is not a good fit for our way of travel. We entered into this cruise with the idea that it was a appetizer for what the cities along the Danube had to offer. At some of the stops it was definitely less satisfying. 

The positive aspects were that the ship and our cabin were very comfortable. It was a low stress way to journey along the Danube. The meals were always good and there were many, many choices. The entire staff was exceedingly courteous and professional. 

The negative aspects (besides those I identified in earlier posts) probably relate to all cruise programs. There are a lot of people and the shore excursions are experienced only in groups. Passengers were split into several groups for each excursion with a "gentle" group for those who preferred a slower pace. We found that the pace of the "normal" group was tediously slow. The walking excursions did not have much actual walking. Except for Passau, there was little time for individual exploration of the city.

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