Monday, October 6, 2014

Sailing Into Budapest

Sailing by Margaret Island
Arriving in Budapest, Hungary at the culmination of the river cruise was quite the experience. The ship’s program director obviously knew how to arrange this event. It was announced that we would not be arriving in the city until late on Friday evening so that we could experience the city all lit up for us. What a let down when the evening after the boat left, we found that looking out the apartment window, the city just as brilliant; they had not actually done it just for us . . . .?

Castle Hill and Royal Palace
Regis is usually so polite she does not like to take “front-row” seats because then we block other’s views, but tonight she was happy to go up on the top deck early and grab the best seats right in the front. Now she did set up the entire two front rows for anyone else that wanted a good seat, and I went for blankets for everyone as well (it is October and getting cool even in Hungary).

Parliament Buildings 
The captain obviously knew what he was doing, because he was going unusually slowly all afternoon, ensuring we would arrive at the best time. Sitting in deck chairs wrapped in blankets we watched the black Danube glide by as we waited for the city to appear. Finally after one false sighting – just a highway bridge, we rounded a bend and could see the city glowing in the distance. As we drew closer it grew in brilliance. Budapest has four major bridges spanning the Danube at its core, and these are all illuminated. Each bridge is different. First is the Margaret Bridge, a modern looking span, although over a hundred years old, followed by the Chain Bridge, an old historical stone and steel structure built in 1849. Next is the Elizabeth Bridge, a bit of a boring modern one, and finally in the distance is the Liberty Bridge, built in 1896. It is nice to know that even though some of these bridges have been destroyed in wartime, they were rebuilt rather than replaced.

Chain Bridge
The Parliament Buildings
Although we could not help but focus on the bridges as we were sailing under them, the really spectacular sights were on either side, the huge Parliament building styled after the British Houses of Parliament, built right on the bank of the Danube, and the Royal Palace perched on the opposite hilltop on the Buda side. These and most other major buildings are fully illuminated by flood-lamps, making them glow like golden monuments, and off in the distance like the statue in Rio is the huge statue of the Liberty monument glowing on the hilltop. In between were the various Cathedrals, churches and Synagogues, each trying to outdo the others.

It really was a beautiful sight, and sailing into the city on the grey Danube (The waltz “Blue Danube” was obviously written before pollution), but really the pictures show it so much better than my description.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! And you get to see this every night .... Enjoy!