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Day 3  - Budapest

Day 3 in Budapest started off with the identical breakfast (they don't change things up at all, same thing every day) and then a short Metro ride and a 20 minute walk to the Liberty bridge.

Originally built in 1896 it, like every other bridge in Budapest, was blown up by the Nazis so it was rebuilt in 1946 and renamed to Liberty Bridge. A name that proved inaccurate! (Because the Hungarians were persecuted by the Commies who supposedly freed them).  They in fact, only became "free" in 1989. Then there is a whole lot more history that will put you to sleep, so we'll move on...

We had seen the bridge yesterday, but this time we noticed all the pad locks on the bridge. Literally hundreds of them, all engraved with names and dates.  A symbol of everlasting romance by lovers.  Couples buy a padlock and engrave it with their names and anniversary before locking it to the bridge and throwing the key in the river; it’s said that the couple’s love will last as long as the lock is attached to the bridge.  Let's hope it doesn't get blown up by another regime anytime soon.


Right next to the bridge there is a church built right into the mountain. The Rock Church is a unique grotto chapel cared for by Hungarian monks.

The monks were arrested in 1951 by the Communist government and charged with treason. The head monk was executed, the rest were put into labor camps and the church was sealed behind an eight-foot wall of concrete.

In 1989, after the fall of communism in Hungary, the wall was broken down and the cave reopened.

The church is rumored to connect to a vast system of underground tunnels.

We then picked up our hop on hop off bus and headed for the Royal Palace (the one that was destroyed and rebuilt 4 times).

In order to get to the top, you have to take a funicular that was built in the 19th century. You can walk, but for $5 it is a short ride.

The ride also gives you a great view of the Chain Bridge - more on that later.

The Royal Palace is built on Castle Hill and overlooks the entire city. It is now a art gallery, museum and library. Every corner offers stunning views of the city in every direction.

Picture on right is of the Houses of Parliament - Hungry now has a British type parliament system with a Prime Minister. It is a democratic republic.

Our next destination is the Chain Bridge. The Chain Bridge was the first permanent stone-bridge connecting Pest and Buda, and only the second permanent crossing on the whole length of the river Danube. It is one of the symbolic buildings of Budapest, the most widely known bridge of the Hungarian capital.

It was built in 1839 by an English architect as the Count who proposed the bridge had been to London and loved the Tower bridges over the Thames. More locks were seen on the bridge.

Next, it was off on a Danube River cruise. This cruise was included in our $25 bus ticket and with three stops is also a hop on hop off cruise.

Unlike the bus, they actually serve beer! YAY!

I also sampled the national drink, Pálinka made only from fruit or pomace grown in Hungary.  By law, no additional ingredients are acceptable, except pure water. It was tasty and at 43% alcohol had a kick!

Now this REALLY looks like some bus driver took the wrong turn, but it is an actual boat!

Our final stop for the day was supposed to be Heroes Square, where we were supposed to have lunch and explore afterwards. There is a spa there, the second oldest wooden roller coaster in the world and some other attractions. It commemorates famous Hungarian leaders.

DO NOT GO TO HEROES SQUARE! At least not for lunch.

Restaurant #1 - Tourist Museum Restaurant. We sat down, reasonable looking menu. The waiter and the chef were playing cards on the counter and continued to play cards ignoring us for 10 minutes. We walked out and crossed 2 busy roads to the next closest place we could see.

Restaurant #2 - Cafe Kara a Turkish restaurant that had a nice Middle Eastern menu and even Hookah if you wanted. We sat down at a front table. There were 3 waiters and the restaurant was not quite a third full. After a full 10 minutes of been ignored (another client came in and they served him immediately) we walked out and decided that we would take the Metro nearby and go back to the city center were we had received excellent service.

Three blocks from our hotel we stopped into the Sports 7 restaurant/pub where we had Hungarian Goulash, a plate of fries and 4 tall beers for less than $15.

A super hot drop-dead gorgeous looking waitress served us immediately and even though they did not have an English menu was very happy to translate every line item for us.

One thing I like about Budapest - there is no sticker shock, anywhere! Walk in, order whatever you want and the bill is going to be affordable!

However tomorrow we leave for Vienna, Austria. This is probably going to change!!! Vienna is on the European Euro currency system - this does not bode well for cheap beer!

A final thought...

... would you stay at a hotel with this name???



PS From Wendy: 

There are few times in life I am speechless.  Most times you can't shut me up!! 

Today is personally one of the most humbling days of my life.  Not only do I have the great fortune to visit three very beautiful cities on earth for the next several days with the one I love dearly, I was notified of some exciting news.

Windsong is in the running for the Brighthouse Regional Business Award of the Year.  This is a wonderful acknowledgment of the work everyone on our team has done over the years.  Foremost, I, we, Windsong, could never have achieved this without my amazing team.  If chosen, this award is for THEIR work!

I have also been personally nominated locally as Philanthropist of the Year.  There are no words that can convey the honor.  I am truly humbled.