Day 9: Budapest
Last night we went on a river cruse down the Danube River. They served us a variety of cold dishes and then beef goulash, summer stew, and chicken paperkash. The cold dishes were good; Jim really enjoyed their selection of salamies. All the hot dishes were good, and defiantly heavy on the paprika. Since this was a night dinner cruise, we got to see the sights of Budapest light up at night along the river. The city looked absolutely beautiful at night, especially the castle. I hope my night shots came out ok.
The next day was the city tour, which was good but not one of the best we have had on the tour. We drove around past the important sights then walked up to castle and spent some time there looking out over the river and the Pest side of Budapest. We opted not to walk around the city, since it has a high rate of pit pocketers, and stayed with the group for the tour of the Hungarian Parliament, lunch and shopping in a small town just outside of Budapest. The Hungarian Parliament is beautiful inside, lots of gold and stained glass. We also saw St. Stephen's crown which is the royal crown of Hungary. I also hope those pictures came out decent since we couldn't use flash. From there we went to the town of St. Andrew for lunch and shopping. The town is rather small but nice. We had a good lunch of beef stew, turkey with spatzel and this wonderful desert with apricots. Then we had time on our own to explore the town. We stopped at a few shops and picked up a puppet, some paprika, and some liquor of the region. We had a nice relaxing time. Tonight is an included dinner at a Hungarian wine cellar.
Tonight’s dinner outside of Budapest was at a family restaurant, which has a 900 year old wine cellar. Before dinner we did a small wine tasting of three wines, a white, a rose, and a red. I preferred the white and I was surprised Jim actually said it wasn't too bad. This is impressive since he doesn't like wine. As a pallet cleanser we were given Hungarian potato bread rolls, they were actually tasty. Then dinner was salad with smoked and dried thin sliced ham, pork chops roasted for six hours (very tender and juicy), and new style plum torte. It was all very good. They also served a very good apple and grape juice for those who didn't want wine with their meals. After that it was back on the bus to head back to the hotel.
Tomorrow morning we'll see the secret treasures of Budapest including the mummified hand of St. Stephen. Then we are off to Vienna.