“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Budapest” (Day 4)

April 21

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[I suppose you’re all wondering when does this river cruise thing start?  Well, there goes our boat!  I just happened to look out our hotel window at 6:00 am just as the Viking Embla was passing by.  It was going to tie up by Chain Bridge, and we would all be boarding later that day.  But, in the meantime . . . ]

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[We still had places to go and things to see.  Pam and Tom went separately to see the horse show in the country (we were there last year), while we led the Etniers on a walking tour in the other direction from where we had gone the previous days.  Here are the sights along the way . . . ]

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{Yes, this time we were walking in the direction of Liberty (though she is on the other side of the river) . . . ]

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[On the way to (the view back to Buda Castle) . . . ]

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[Central Market Hall!  The best way to describe this place, opened in 1897 (and still has the original roof), is Ron’s Warehouse on steroids!  From visitbudapest.travel, The largest indoor market in Budapest. Among other things, on the ground floor you’ll find a large selection of sausages, meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. On the second floor, there are food stands and plenty of vendors selling handicrafts, clothing, embroidery, chessboards and other souvenirs. Paprika and Tokaji are also sold here. In the basement, there is a fish market, a small Asian grocery store, a supermarket, and a small drugstore.]

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[But because it is a ginormous market, crossing the street to get to it was life threatening.]

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[Whew, we made it!]

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[Of course, as men, John and I could only take so much shopping.  We told Helen and Ruth that when they were done, they would find us across the street – enjoying an outdoor coffee and watching the world walk by!  While sitting there, an older gentleman from a nearby table dropped by and asked if were Americans?  Where could he ever get such an idea?  Anyway, he was a hoot, from Wales, and just wanted to the talk about the American political system, a total mystery to Europeans we encountered!]

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[Always nice to be welcomed!]

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[The pedestrian streets of the Old World are such a treat.  BTW, we are heading back to the hotel – we had hoped to drop by Dohany Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe (Ruthie and I saw it last year), on the way back but we were running out of time.]

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[It’s not everywhere you can find a green cow on the street!]

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[We checked out of our hotel, schlepped our suitcases down the street a couple blocks, and boarded our boat in time for lunch.  Here the Super is checking out the evening’s menu.]

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[Our first meal on board – beautiful day for outdoor dining.]

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[Plus, it came with a view!]

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[Rooftop on the boat.  We really didn’t have much time to enjoy these amenities.  And we didn’t have many more days like this.]

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[We were still on our own for the rest of the afternoon.  Time for a walk to Margaret Island, a little over a mile and a half away from our boat, but on the way passes The Shoes, one of the more memorable memorials I’ve ever seen.]

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[Attila Jozsef, Hungarian Poet]

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[Count Gyula Andrassy, on Parliament grounds]

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[And . . . Parliament!]

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[John and Helen marvel at the marvel.]

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[Gee, I wonder what these are?  Budapest is hosting the 2024 Olympics.  Gee, maybe I will go back there again?]

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[Margaret Bridge]

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[Sunbathing on Margaret Island (as we were walking down the road from the bridge onto the island).]

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[A sports center here – maybe an Olympic venue?]

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[And just like last year, we took a 4-person bike for a ride around island.  We put John at the helm.]

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[Ahhh, we remember that!  I think it’s an homage to Madonna, you know, “Like a Sturgeon.”]

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[We probably should have stopped and checked out this place.]

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[Pedaling without a license?]

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[The island is a mile and a half long . . . and we circled it!]

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[Walking back to the boat, we took a more inland route, i.e., the Olympic rings from the other side.]

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[Parliament grounds statuary]

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[I suspect government buildings on the Hungarian equivalent of Constitution Avenue.]

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[The Parliament from opposite river-side.]

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[Prince Ferenc Rakoczi II]

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[The first Eastern bloc country uprising against the USSR.]

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[And we’re back to Count Andrassy.]

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[And poet Jozsef]

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[And now the boat would become home.  We were pooped – 3-mile walk and a 3-mile bike ride, just in the afternoon.  Here is our program director, Violeta (from Serbia, as I recall?), welcoming us aboard.]

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If there was such a thing as building porn, it would be this. Just looking out the window as your drive or trolley by you think, ‘I want that. Who lives there? Who lived there? What’s it like inside? And where did they go?’  ~  Anthony Bourdain

Up Next:  Part II (the first evening on the boat)

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