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Sunday, June 8th, Budapest, Hungary. I took a 9:45 p.m. train from Prague to Budapest last night. It was a sleeper compartment, and although I paid for a 4-person compartment, I was lucky and no one joined me. Even though, it was pretty darn uncomfortable. But, I considered it part of the adventure of this trip and enjoyed the journey anyway. I arrived in Budapest at 7 a.m. and found my way to the hostel, left my bags and was able to arrange a 3 hour tour of the city with a tour-bus company. One of the most impressive aspects of the tour was Melinda, a 23-year-old young woman who could speak 5 languages! She gave the descriptions of the city in all languages, and was most impressive. There were about 15 of us on the tour, with English, Spanish, Italian and German. She also spoke Hungarian.
As I arrived in Budapest at 7 a.m., it was raining, and the city looked old and foreboding. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As I toured the city, it became clear that Budapest is an absolutely beautiful city, on a par with Paris or any other cosmopolitan center of the world. The sun come out at around 10:30, and it warmed up nicely. The tour made its way to 4 or 5 important parts of the city, two of which were in the hills overlooking Budapest. The views from on-high were amazing, and I fell in love with the city almost immediately.
Budapest was actually two cities, Buda and Pest, but was unified into one city in 1873. The city is separated by the Duna River. It was only a bit later that I learned that the Duna is the Danube River. This is a river we know as a river of song, poetry and beauty. It is a marvelous sight to see the river wind itself through the city, surrounded on both sides by majestic buildings, parks and people. It is crossed by 4 bridges, one of which (the Liberty Bridge) dating back to 1894.
The river itself is beautiful, and there is a wide variety of activity on the water. Boats for cruising, gambling, industry and sightseeing were in evidence. It was a beautiful day, and many people were out and about enjoying the themselves. It seemed like tourists and residents alike were everywhere. So, more adventures in this beautiful city tomorrow.
Viszontlatasra for now......