Saturday..Day 3 began as a cloudy and cold day…we had the usual delightful breakfast in the Club Lounge….then decided to Ride the Yellow Hop On and Hop Off bus….to see more of the city. About the Hop On Hop Off….there are actually 3 or 4 companies that call themselves Hop On Hop Off….and basically all of them are the same and three of the four wear the Red Coats….so it is a bit tricky to get the correct bus. And,   a couple of the lines have a covered top, which is critical in this cold weather. In any case, you can pick and choose the bus…and we chose one that did not have the cover…so we sat inside the bus. You don’t see as much, but much, much warmer.

The ride was fine and when we concluded we decided to take the small streetcar that runs along the River up to the Parliament Building. This is a must see building and is the one featured on may many of the ;publications. Magnificent building. We went down into the Visitor Center…sold out for Saturday and Sunday….and the best way to get a ticket is on the internet. Probably well worth it, and more after the Viking Tour on Monday.

Upon returning to the Hotel, we decided to go straight on to the Restaurant that had the small museum that Carrie had told us about. We got there and it was full…but did go downstairs into the museum…very interesting and well worth it. The restaurant was full of Viking Pre Trip folks, and the food looked like full meals, etc,,..and pretty expensive…so sent down to Costa Coffee again….and again, pretty much sold out…so went back to Perfetto, where we were the night before. It was also jammed, but the manager saw us and got us a seat…big lunch of salad, sspaghetti, and lasagna…mine was great.

We then returned to the hotel and on our way heard the demonstration and saw the police cars…later found out it was a political demonstration to cross the Chain Bridge…which is the main bridge…. a big crowd of people walking with flags, etc….woman’s voice over the loud speaker in English…but not much more.

Had a nap and at 5:45 PM went down to catch the bus at 6:15 for the night light bus tour….as we were going to take it up to the Matthias Church, for the concert……and it was gorgeous going up and seeing the lights…definitely recommended.

The Solti Concert Orchestra and Choir and Soloists was the best of the best, and the setting in Matthias Church is unmatched in the world. Definitely another MUST SEE. Absolutely  supurb musicians, with the concert master actually leading the orchestra on the first 3 numbers, which was a first for me. For me, the 90 minute program was perfect, as the quality of the musicians and the singers and soloists were the best that one could find anywhere. The magnificent church is probably perfect acoustically… you could hear every instrument and voice as is right next to you. The full house audience….probably 90% of them followers or the orchestra or patrons….would not quit at the end, with 3 “curtain” calls. Just a “once in a lifetime experience” for me.

We went next door to the Hilton for a “potty break” before heading back to the hotel using the taxi…10 minutes back and a good nights sleep.

Some observations…

  1. Budapest is a huge city that literally features its old and functional and beautiful buildings, and to see them lit up at night is a MUST.
  2. The River has allowed massive development on both sides, and both sides have these gorgeous buildings. Thinking of other cities in Europe, I cannot think of another one with this setting, with these magnificent buildings, palace, and parliament buildings being so prominent. London is a 2nd at this stage.
  3. The city just goes and goes, and the bus tour is a necessity….as traffic is very heavy and the road lanes run in all directions.
  4. The  attitude of the people is very friendly….there is evidence of policemen around…but a very, very safe feeling all of the time. A lot of English is spoken, so it is easy to get around……
  5. Today we are going to change plans and go to the Central Train station…then back to the hotel by about noon…get ready for the River Boat…and will leave the room about 4…that is the plan.

Should be another great day….