Monday, September 19, 2016

Budapest - The Danube River and Architecture to Die For!

I believe a night cruise on the Danube is de rigueur and we certainly did not demur:

Not sure what building this is

  Castle Hill

The Chain Bridge

As with every other city we visited on this trip, Budapest has wonderful architecture with beautiful little touches, like this Art Nouveau gate:

Even the utility covers are beautiful

One day our guide took us to the Houses of Parliament. The arcade opposite retains bullet holes from the 1956 Hungarian uprising against the Soviet-backed government. Reprisal was swift and thousands were killed.

On the riverbank is a really touching memorial to those killed in the last days of World War II, when the Hungarian Nazis lined up hundreds of people along the river and shot them. They lined up five or six people so they could kill as many with one bullet as possible, so although those closest to the shooter died, sometime those at the front of the line were only injured and could swim across the Danube where they were pulled to safety. Those marked for execution had to take off their shoes before being shot, so the lineup of bronze shoes, including many children's shoes, is really heartbreaking:

The Hungarian State Opera House was quite near our hotel. It opened in 1875 and Gustav Mahler was the director from 1888 to 1891. Otto Klemperer was music director from 1947 to 1950. Its acoustics are supposed to be almost as good as La Scala's and the Opera Garnier's.

Bronze sculpture of Imre Nagy. During Hungary's 1956 revolution, he was the president. He withdrew Hungary from the Warsaw Pact and declared neutrality, and called upon the US and UK to recognize Hungary's neutrality. His calls went unanswered, of course, and when the Soviets retailiated, Imre Nagy was executed as a traitor. Now he looks over the Hungarian parliament forever.

Wonderful Metro tiles, although not quite as magnificent as Prague's

We boogied off to Szentendre, about an hour's drive from Budapest, for lunch. I'm not sure how old it is, but it was first mentioned in a will in 1146, and it retains a lot of charm, not all of which was so easy to discern on a rainy miserable day:

I love these hanging signs that tell you exactly what's offered for sale in the shop!

1487 Baroque Serbian Orthodox Church - there was a Serb majority here in the 18th century, but a one-child policy allowed Germans to take over, who in turn were displaced by Hungarians.


And that concludes this trip, which is a good thing, because I'm departing on another (Grand Circle's Riviera Cruise) tomorrow! With any luck, I'll get those photos up on the blog in less than a year... 

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