Holidays and Other Excursions

Tag: Chain Bridge

Euro Tour 10 – Budapest

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Today is officially a free day and in view of the excellent weather (the heatwave continues) it seems entirely reasonable to us to go and make use of the Szechenyi Baths.  By walking back to the station where we arrived it is possible to catch a direct service to the Millennium Monument we visited yesterday and then walk through the park grounds to the baths.

Obtaining an entry ticket is not difficult – but working out where to go inside turns out to be a bit more complex.  We find the changing cabins and take all of our stuff with us.  We arrive just about in time to get two sun loungers (and move them into some shade) before entering the large pools outside.  They are quite busy – and the temperature of the pool is about 32 deg C – and the air temperature is not much higher.

Whilst I do not believe the pools are as effective as the spa at Rotarua in easing aches and pains they certainly provide some relief.  Inside the building there are a variety of pools at different temperatures and we both take an opportunity to relax in these before departing.

We start walking across the park and I am reminded we were told of a couple of local cafes when we were on the tour so decide that a light lunch here would be a good idea before we head back.  Jackie is feeling the heat and is looking forward to the air conditioning in the hotel and is very glad when we get back there!

I decide to return to the centre of town and to see if I can traverse the funicular which was closed yesterday – I also have to master an ATM for some cash – but after our practice earlier on the holiday this is not difficult.  I can report that the funicular is working and I take it up the hill; at the top I am in time for the local changing of the guard; then I return to the bottom.  It is very hot and I consume a huge beaker of orange juice.  Dehydrating!  I walk back across the Chain Bridge and return to our hotel on the metro.

Photographs of my solo excursion are here.

In the evening we are back on the group tour.  Our fellow travellers have apparently also enjoyed the various Baths which exist in the City.  We are taken to the Danube for a river cruise and dinner.

From the river we are able to see some beautiful sights.  With the river cruise completed we rejoin our coach noting that the next party are ready to embark – they keep these cruisers busy.  The coach takes us to the top of Gellert Hill which enables us to enjoy some views of a lit up Budapest at night.

Photographs of this evening’s expedition are here.

Some of us remain in the reception for a drink and a chat once we are back at the hotel.

Euro Tour 9 – Budapest

Monday 31 July 2017

Formal organised tour for the group this morning.  Our first calling point is the Millennium Monument, or Heroes Square, celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the formation of the Hungarian state in either 895 or 896 AD; the construction commenced in 1896 and was completed in 1900.  The parkland adjacent to the Monument surrounds the famous Szechenyi Baths, so the location of these is now known.  There are a number of other public baths in Budapest.

Our tour moves along and we see some more wonderful architecture as we head towards the City centre.  Our next stop allowing us to visit toilets and have a cup of coffee is adjacent to St Stephen’s Church.  It is one of the largest churches in Hungary and was completed in 1905.

Our final destination is the Castle district which is atop a hill on the Buda (western) side of the Danube; Pest was on the eastern side of the river.  They were united as a single city in 1873; previously Buda had been the capital of Hungary.

Featuring in the photographs is the Matthias Church, although we did not go inside the external features are magnificent.  It is adjacent to the Fishermans’ Bastion.  This accords some marvellous views over the city.

This marks the end of the official tour and we decide to return independently to our hotel, mainly because of a wish to use the funicular to descend river level.  However the funicular is closed for the day – and in the upper station I can see a man with a feather duster industriously removing cobwebs!  It was a hot walk to the top station, it feels even hotter as we walk back to the bus stop (especially as we subsequently establish that there are other powered routes up and down!).

Once we have identified the right bus to catch (!) it is a straightforward ride downhill, through a tunnel and across the Chain Bridge.  Once on the Pest side of the river we leave the bus and in a side street which leads back to St Stephens Church we find a series of restaurants and make a choice after studying the menus.  The sun is beating down so it is nice to be in shade as we eat lunch.

It is still very hot when we set out for a little walk along the eastern edge of the Danube.  We have a very specific target in mind – Shoes on the Danube Bank.  In late 1944 / early 1945 a large number of Jews were executed on the orders of the local fascists and this memorial was created in 2005.

A little further along is the magnificent Parliament Building.  We only see the outside but we understand that the inside is equally magnificent.  It was inaugurated in 1896 again marking the 1000th anniversary of the State but not completed until 1904.

There is an adjacent metro station facilitating return to the hotel.

Later in the day we walk along to Blaha Lujza and find Cafe New York around the corner.  Again this had been identified for a visit prior to leaving home and we made a wrong choice – we chose to eat a meal – but the service is designed to cater simply for those coming to have some cake and a drink and not for a meal.  Beautiful inside as the photos on the web demonstrate!  Oh well you win some and you lose some!