Szentendre, Hungary

We lost Len!!!

Well actually Len got lost!!!

We went on a ‘add on’ tour to the little town of Szentendre. Szentendre is a riverside town in Pest county, and it has become a popular destination for tourists staying in Budapest. It is such a cute place filled with old buildings, souvenier shops and restaurants. We went on a walking tour with a very informative guide, and were then left to find a restaurant for lunch, and to meet after lunch at our bus.

A little church and the street we walked :-)
A little church and the street we walked πŸ™‚
Yes... plenty of tourists and shopping available.
Yes… plenty of tourists and shopping available.
We think that this is where Len went wrong. The route to take was to the right. I think he went left!
We think that this is where Len went wrong. The route to take was to the right. I think he went left!
We had lunch at a little restaurant down this little street (or one like this one?)
We had lunch at a little restaurant down this little street (or one like this one?)
Beautiful plates for sale.
Beautiful plates for sale.
Very typical crockery for Hungary.
Very typical crockery for Hungary.

During our time in Szentendre we visited The Mikro Csodak museum. This museum contained artwork of Mikola Szjadrisztij. His artwork consists ofΒ  tiny, tiny carvings which are seen with microscope lenses. Pictures above each item explain what they are and what they are made of in several languages, including English. It was fascinating looking at the carvings. Robin managed to get a photo of one through the microscope.

The description of one of the artworks.
The description of one of the artworks.
The set up with the art and the microscope.
The set up with the art and the microscope.
What we saw when looking through the microscope.
What we saw when looking through the microscope.

We found a lovely restaurant down by the river. The tour director always gave us an hour to an hour and a half for lunch. Sadly the restaurants always used most of the time up in preparation and we needed to rush the eating to get back to the bus on time. At Szentendre we finished eating only five minutes before we were meant to be back at the bus. Len likes to walk slowly after eating so he left a little earlier. When we all got back to the bus, there was no Len! Oh my goodness the panic then started! Robin, Judy and Teresa went off in different directions. The decision was for the four of them to catch a taxi back to Budapest once they had found Len. Our tour guide suggested I stay on our bus so the others would fit in one taxi. As we were about to leave another Insight Vacations bus was seen to be at Szentendre and the tour director was asked if they could transport Len, Judy, teresa and Robin back to Budapest once Len was found. They had one hour to find him!

I sat on our bus waiting for a message that Len was found. Which he was, and eventually we all had a very happy but emotionalΒ  reunion back in Budapest. What a worrying experience it was. Thankfully Len was okay and just a misjudgement in the walking route taken. We were all so worried it was a health issue. It was a wake up call for all of us. We all need to appreciate our loved ones and friends. Without them life just wouldn’t be the same.

The Tour Starts!

Let’s pretend this is still the 30th of August and our 17 day tour of the Balkans is just starting! Yes… I am way behind in my blog posts! It’s the 9th of October and I have been in London nearly a month! To be honest it has taken nearly all this time to sort through the photos. I have Judy’s, Robin’s and my photos on my hard drive and have been trying to pick the best of the three to put on this blog. I hope I have done okay πŸ™‚

We met out fellow travelling buddies in the Hotel foyer and then wandered down the road a little to a lovely restaurant for our first meal together.

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Nearly missed Judy from the photo, but managed to get four of our travelling buddies in the background πŸ™‚

The first morning we were up bright and early to start our bus tour of Budapest. We started on the flat area of Pest…

Our first stop and we had a wander around
Our first stop and we had a wander around
Some of the beautiful decorations on the buildings
Some of the beautiful decorations on the buildings
I thought this building looked great as well :-)
I thought this building looked great as well πŸ™‚

We then headed up to the Hilly Buda part of Budapest. The views from here were spectacular. Shame it was nearly raining as we were out and about taking our photos. I have been here before and blogged some better photos if you look in my archives. It was a beautiful sunny then (just over a year ago). It did actually start to rain just after we got our tour group photo taken. Only a few of us had rain gear!

Looking at Matthias Church, built in Romanesque style in 1015
Looking at Matthias Church, built in Romanesque style in 1015
Isn't it fabulous!
Isn’t it fabulous!
Just look at this amazing roof!
Just look at this amazing roof!
It has stood the test of time beautifully :-)
It has stood the test of time beautifully πŸ™‚
The wall just HAD to be sat on! The view was great but it was very high!
The wall just HAD to be sat on! The view was great but it was very high!
What Robin can do.... so can I :-)
What Robin can do…. so can I πŸ™‚
But I didn't sit here. Fabulous wall huh!
But I didn’t sit here. Fabulous wall huh!
And just look at that Cathedral from this view :-)
And just look at that (Robin) Cathedral from this view πŸ™‚
Another great view!
Another great view!
The view from a different spot
The view from a different spot
You can see the cloud coming in... ready to pour down upon us!
You can see the cloud coming in… ready to pour down upon us!
A photo of the fortress and Cathedral from the bottom of the hill
A photo of the fortress and Cathedral from the bottom of the hill
Just one of the many neat buildings we saw :-)
Just one of the many neat buildings we saw πŸ™‚
And this ones roof is just beautiful :-)
And this ones roof is just beautiful, and the statue in front amazing! πŸ™‚

That evening Teresa and I went down to the riverside as we had heard there was a memorial there from war times…. around 1945

In memory of the victims shot into the Danube!
In memory of the victims shot into the Danube!
This is just a few of the shoes left there as a reminder of the lives lost! So very sad :-(
This is just a few of the shoes left there as a reminder of the lives lost! So very sad πŸ™

We finished off the day with a dinner cruise on the Danube river. The food was yummy and the views fabulous.

The lights looked great!
The lights looked great!

Well once again Budapest proved a fantastic place to visit. The photos don’t really do the place justice. I hope I never forget the wonder of seeing Budapest in person. A real treat to see πŸ™‚

Finally I will add a photo of our tour group (thanks to Hammie)

Super people from all over the world :-)
Super people from all over the world πŸ™‚
The Balkans :-)
The Balkans πŸ™‚

We travel from Budapest, Hungary and finish at Bucharest, Romania. I aim to put a blog post up for each of the 17 days of our tour, along with some of the best photos…. hopefully. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Walking tour of Budapest

We woke to a beautiful, sunny, cloudless day! Yes finally we were going to get a lovely summers day in Europe! So out came the summer dresses and a venture out in the warmth of the day to discover Budapest πŸ™‚

August last year Judy, Teresa and I met up with Daniel and Marysia in Budapest. They had travelled there from London for a wedding, and we had just completed our tour of Italy and Sicily. Because we had already seen a lot of the famous sights, we decided to do our own walking tour, and see some of the places we missed last time.

Our first place to see was only a short half a kilometre from our Hotel, the Sofitel. It was St Stephen’s Basilica. It was huge! Well worth the visit. We were lucky enough to arrive when a choir was singing inside. The sound was amazing! Here are some photos of this amazing place…

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It reminded me a little of St Peter’s Basilica in The Vatican City but on a much smaller scale. That place is huge!

Our walk took us next to the Iron curtain memorial and the ‘House of Horrors’, but I’m not including photos of those places. We didn’t actually go in as we went through the museum last year, and the men weren’t bothered about seeing it.

The Parish Church of Terezverce was our next place to visit. A smaller Cathedral but still very lovely inside.

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Last year we also visited the Antique markets in the Jewish Quarter and decided it was also a MUST SEE for this year as well. The atmosphere is great! So many people as well πŸ™‚ This led us on to the ‘Rumbach Street Synagogue’, the spiritual home of the local Hungarian Jews and was built in 1872.

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Sadly we couldn’t enter the Synagog as it was Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath πŸ™

Not far from the Synagog was the National Museum. We climbed the steps and wandered around the entrance, but didn’t want to look at all the museum contents. But it is a fabulous building with a huge statue in front.

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We headed for Market Square. I love looking in markets and this one didn’t fail to impress me. The bottom floor was full of produce. Vegetables, fruit, fish and meat of many varieties. The top floor was clothing, souveners and restaurants.

Bottom Floor
Bottom Floor
Top Floor
Top Floor

We crossed the first bridge and then did the very long waterfront walk back to the Chain bridge, that is right next to our Hotel!

Crossing the  greenbridge
Crossing the green bridge
o many tourists!
so many tourists!

Well it was an enjoyable day but also a very tiring day with LOTS of walking. We did see some amazing sights though.

At 6.30pm we met up with our Tour leader, and also all the other people traveling on the tour with us. They seem a really good bunch of people and it will be great to get to know them all better over the next two weeks. We had a lovely three course meal at a near by Restaurant, said out goodbyes until tomorrow morning, and now it’s off to bed for me after a very rewarding day.

Catch you all tomorrow πŸ™‚

 

 

Sad farewells and new beginnings

So here we all were in the hotel foyer saying our goodbyes. The Insight Vacations ‘Grand tour of Italy and Sicily’ had come to an end! And we were on our own! No more Brad to lead us into unknown terrtiories. We had to make and follow our own decisions! Ahhhhh! And no more Max! Our trusty bus driver. Big hugs all round again…and a few shed tears and we were off!

Rome to Budapest via Athens! Yes we land in Athens for one hour. I asked the air hostess if the flight was leaving on time as we had another flight to connect with. Her answer was I am sure you will be okay. We land in Athens and are directed to the gate we need to board the next plane…and the gate leads directly to the plane we had just gotten off! Naturally we were going to be okay…it is the same plane!..she could have told me that and then Judy could stop worrying (I wasn’t worried of course!) Anyway out came the cameras and we take as many photos as we can (in the departure gate) to prove that we have been to Greece…even if we haven’t even left the airport!

Our next worry was finding our way to the Hotel in Budapest when we land. But that was easy peasy as well. The airport has buses that run to the various areas of Budapest. All you have to do is pay the fare and tell them where you are staying. We boarded the right bus and away we went. To think that the transit from Rome to the Hotel in Budapest was our biggest concern…and yet it was as calm as anything. All three of us were delighted and ready for the next stage of our journey.

We wandered the local area and found that we were just a few blocks away from a street of restaurants. Entree at one, main meal at one, dessert at the last. And at the end we had savioured food from the local Hungarian dishes. Goulash is delicious and the Chocolate pancakes so yummy!

on the plane to Budapest!
on the plane to Budapest!
Amazing building on our way to tea at Budapest
Amazing building on our way to tea at Budapest
The street not far from our Hotel in Budapest
The street not far from our Hotel in Budapest
First course
First course
Budapest has very unusual money!
Budapest has very unusual money!
Between restaurants
Between restaurants
Dessert time :-)
Dessert time πŸ™‚

We decided that the hop on/off bus was the best option to see Budapest the next day and weren’t disappointed. Budapest is lovely and has some amazing buildings and things to see. We found out that Buda is the flat area and Pest is the hilly area across the river. We went over to Pest and took some very good shots of the whole area from a lookout on a hill. We also had a lovely bowl of Goulash there…I could eat Goulash for every meal. It is a bit like a beef stew but a lot runnier…like a soup. Big chunks of veges and meat! Yum!

Looking through the archway. The place was crowded with people
Looking through the archway. The place was crowded with people
Through the palace
Through the palace
Budapest gardens
Budapest gardens
great view of the gardens and buildings
great view of the gardens and buildings
A lovely ceiling
A lovely ceiling
A Museum???
A Museum???
On the hop on/off bus at Budapest
On the hop on/off bus at Budapest
Dolls..dressed in local clothing
Dolls..dressed in local clothing
Another view of Pest from Buda
Another view of Pest from Buda
Great views
Great views
another good view
another good view
And these too
And these too
These took my fancy
These took my fancy
Look at the view behind us. We were amazed at how pretty Budapest looked
Look at the view behind us. We were amazed at how pretty Budapest looked
The view of Pest from Buda
The view of Pest from Buda
Fabulous architecture
Fabulous architecture
Underground
Underground
Underground caves
Underground caves
Cathedral with an amazing roof
Cathedral with an amazing roof
Cathedral at Buda
Cathedral at Buda

Teresa had really wanted to go to Auchwich, but we really didn’t have time to go up to Krakow in Poland. When she found out that Budapest had a tour available which was all about the holocaust, we made that our next stop. Once again a very sad but memorable reminder of just how cruel humans can be to each other…when you add prejudice and hatred together! We came out to see a statue of the iron curtain and were just taking our photos, when Daniel and Marysia walked along the path! Yay…now our second part of the holiday was really about to start…and I loved reconnecting with my second to eldest and his lovely fiance πŸ™‚

At the Holocaust Museum
At the Holocaust Museum
The iron Curtain
The iron Curtain
Judy and Teresa at the iron curtain
Judy and Teresa at the iron curtain
Another pleasing view
Another pleasing view
Yay...we have met up with Daniel and Marysia!
Yay…we have met up with Daniel and Marysia!

Life couldn’t get better!