Our House in Budapest
We dock in Budapest while we are having breakfast. Just from the dock we already have amazing views of the city. We can see a castle, the parliament building and a cathedral. We go for a drive around the town in our touring bus. We find out that Budapest comprises two parts separated by the Danube River; Buda is the hilly side with Pest is the cosmopolitan side. Our lovely guide then takes a deep breath and tells us about the history of Hungary for an hour with that one breath. It is impressive but like I have mentioned before – you can’t fill a full cup. We visit the highlights of the city including the National Opera House and the historic Heroes’ Square. We walk along Fisherman’s Hill to Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church and from here we get amazing views of the town and the river and our boat; did someone say lunch?
This afternoon we visit the legendary Hungarian Puszta “cowboys” in a show of awe-inspiring horsemanship. The day has been nice, warm and sunny but as we arrive at the Puszta Equestrian Centre and get off the bus there is lightning and a clap of thunder and within a minute it is pouring with rain. The rain is so bad that I assume the show will not start; but no, we are ushered to a covered area and the show goes on. Even with thunder and lightning and rain the horses are completely un-phased. In fact during most of the show the horseman are cracking whips within inches of the horse’s ears. One of the horsemen is riding at full pelt past us while shooting arrows at a target, meaning he is using both hands for shooting the arrows. Four of the horseman make their horses roll on the ground with them on top. They then make the horses sit up on their hind-quarters – they look like giant dogs – it is so out of place (remembering they are still getting whips cracked around their ears). The four horseman then each get a glass stein with “coke” in it. They ride at full pelt around the 400 metre course. The last man is holding a tray with the stein on it. They get back and the glasses are all still full??? We then get a change of pace when a lady in a long flowing red dress/robe comes out and does dressage drills all the while riding side saddle??? We also get to see oxen pulling traditional carriages. The finale is a man driving 5 horses standing on the backs of two of them riding at full pace around the ground.
At the end of the show we get a tour of the Centre. We see the horses from our show being cleaned and stabled. We get to inspect the horses and when we pat them they are so gentle, it is amazing. All too soon we are on the bus and guess what? The sun is shining and we get a nice ride home.
After tea the boat slips its moorings for a cruise of the town. All the historic buildings and all the bridges are specially illuminated. Everyone on the boat goes up to the top deck and it is a memorable experience.
Tonight is our last night. We have an early start. Our bus for the airport leaves at 6:30 in the morning. Fortunately the boat provides a breakfast for us which I did not expect. This Viking cruise has been sensational.
So for now its over and out. I’ll need to invent a new blog topic.