Thursday, December 15, 2016


Our wake up, call came at 7.15am this morning.  Every extra half an hour we get in the morning is great....Another day when we don't have to pack bags and get on the road early... We do however have a full day of sightseeing ahead of us....

Our breakfast was amazing and was set up in a stunning restaurant.  It would be very hard to beat the quality and presentation of meals and accommodation we have experienced here at the "Corinthia" in Budapest.  The Buffet breakfast was amazing with every sort of fruit, bread, cheese, salad, meat, jams, sauces, pasteries and then to top it all off, hot food and plenty of it.... bacon, sausages, tomatoes, baked beans, eggs, hash browns.  We even had chefs on had to make our choices of omelets.  Way way too much food.

We had to meet in the foyer at 9am to start our city tour.  Our first stop was to Hero's Square.  It is one of the major squares in Budapest, and is noted for its iconic statue complex featuring the Seven Chieftains of te Magyas and other important national leaders, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The Square also hosts the Museum of Fine Arts and the Mucsannok, and the Palace of Art.

At the front of the monument is a large stone cenotaph surrounded by an ornamental iron chain.  The cenotaph is dedicated"To the Memory of the Heroes  who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence."

The back of the monument consists of two matched Colonnades, each with 7 statues representing great figures of Hungarian history.  Directly behind the cenotaph is a column topped with a statue of the archangel Gabriel.  In his right hand the angel holds the Holy Crown of St. Stephen, the first King of Hungary/  In his left hand the angel holds a two barred apostolic cross, a symbol awarded to St. Stephen by the Pope in recognition of his efforts to convert Hungary to Christianity. In Hungary it is referred to as the double cross or the apostolic double cross.

At the base of the columns is a group of seven mounted figures  representing the Magyar Chieftains who led the Hungarian people into the Carpathian basin.

Topping the outer edge of the left colonnade is a statute is a statue of a man with a scythe and a woman sowing seeds, representing labor and wealth.  At the inner top edge of the left Colonnade is a male figure driving a chariot using a snake as a whip representing War.

The seven figures represented on the left colonnade are
  • Stephen I of Hungary (St Stephen received the crown from an emissary of the Pope)
  • Ladislaus I of Hungary (St Ladislaus slays the Cumanian abductor)
  • Coloman of Hungary (Coloman prohibited the burning of witches)
  • Andrew II of Hungary (Andrew leads a crusade)
  • Bela IV of Hungary (Bela rebuilds the country after the Mongol invasion.
  • Charles I of Hungary (Ladislaus IV defeats Ottogar at the battle of Marchfield)
  • Louis I of Hungary (Louis the Great occupies Naples)
On the facing end of the right colonnade is a female figure in a chariot holding the palm frond representing Peace.  In the corresponding position on the top of the right colonnade is a statue of a man holding a little golden statue and a woman with a palm frond representing "Knowledge and Glory"

The seven figures represented on the right colonnade are:

  • John Hunyadi (The seige of Belgrade 1456)
  • Matthias Convinus (Matthias with his scholars)
  • Istvan Bocskay (Hajdu soldiers defeat the Imperial forces.
  • Gabriel Bethlen (Bethlen concluded a treaty with Bohemia)
  • Imre Thokoly (The battle of Szikszo)
  • Francis II Rakoczi (Rakoczi returns from Poland)
  • Lajos Kossuth (Kossuth rallies the peasants of the Great Plain
From here we visited St. Stephen's Basilica.  What an AMAZING church.  The whole of the interior is made from Marble, all from Hungary except for the very white marble which came from Italy.  St. Stephen's Basilica is a Roman Catholic Basilica named in honor of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (975 to 1038AD)  His right hand is housed in the reliquary.  Today it is the third largest church building in present-day Hungary.

The architectural style  of the Basilica is Neo-Classical.  It has a Greek cross ground plan.  The church was completed in 1905 after 54 years of construction.  Much of the delay was attributed to the dome collapsing twice before they found an architect who could actually structurally build a decent dome.

I could have spent a lot more time in the Basilica just taking it all in, absorbing all of the beauty.
From here we had a 15 minute break for a toilet pit stop, a coffee or a gelato from "Gelartorosa".  These are the finest in Budapest and when you order two flavours, they scope out the gelato to represent a rose in your cone.  Quite unique and very yummy.

Our last stop on our city tour was up to the Citadella located on top of Gellert Hill.  there is a wonderful lookout up here in which you can see all of Buda and Pest, both sides of the River Danube.  The Citadella is actually the fortification located on top of Gellert Hill.  It was build in 1851.  Unfortunately it was a little hazy today so the photos aren't as good as they could have been if it were a clear day.

We left up here around 11.15am to head back to the Hotel.  We got back around 11.45am which gave us approximately 15 minutes before we had to meet in the foyer again for our trip out to the little village of Szentendre.  

Szentendre is a picturesque village along the riverside of the Danube River.
We enjoyed a traditional Hungarian lunch of Goulash soup, a pork with a sort of roasted pasta and then cooked with amazing sauce.  It was also accompanied by lettuce, a sour cabbage, bay leaf and beetroot.

We had some sort of Cottage Cheese dumpling for desert.  The meals were enormous - we couldn't eat them all.  I wasn't really that fussed on the desert.  Red and White wine was laid on.  They drink wine with every meal over here...

The restaurant we went to was really quirky.  They obviously collect antiques and these were throughout the restaurant.  The seats were wooden and carved and there was a great atmosphere to the place.  The restaurant was called Rab Raby Restaurant.

After lunch we were given a couple of hours to wander around the village.  Before lunch our tour guide had walked us up through the village pointing out the best places to shop and the shops that sold genuine Hungarian products.

We had a lovely time strolling and shopping along its cobbled streets, admiring the many craft shops and art galleries.  Both Steve and I bought genuine Hungarian leather wallets, a little wooden trinket box for Steve to show the guys at work, a lovely traditional Hungarian necklace for Steve's Mum and a little traditional dressed doll dressed in a Hungarian national costume for Willow and a lovely genuine Hungarian scarf for my friend Jannett.

We left  Szentendre around 4pm to head home.  On our way home we drove past the Hungarian Parliament buildings and were shown the Shoes on Danube River Bank monument.  This monument gives remembrance to the 3,500 people (800 of the Jews) who were shot into the Danube River during the Arrow Cross Terror reign.  The sculptor created 60 pairs of period-appropriate shoes out of iron.  The shoes are attached to the stone embankment and behind them lies a 40 metre long and 70cm high stone bench.  At three points are cast iron signs with the following text in Hungarian, English and Hebrew, "To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross Militarimen in 1944-1945."  Erected on the 16th April, 2005.

We arrived home around 4.45pm and the rest of the afternoon was ours to relax until we needed to meet again in the foyer at 7.30pm to go out for dinner.  Our meal tonight was excellent.  We had the whole restaurant to ourselves.  We had a three course meal,  first course was a kind of Pea Soup, Steve and I both had the Stuffed Chicken with feta cheese served with mashed potatoes and ratatouille and then for desert we had Ludab Hungarian specialty with chocolate  and sour cherries and it was DIVINE.   We are being fed way too well these holidays.

We sat at the table and chatted for quite a while after dinner.  I love it when we have a bit of relaxed time and we are not rushing...

After dinner Steve and I decided to check out the Spa and Pool area at the Hotel.  On my goodness, it was AMAZING.  Everything about this hotel is amazing.  it is going to be difficult to outdo this place.

After checking out the pool and Spa area we decided to go for a walk and check out the "New York Cafe"  It had been highly recommended to us by a few different people and it was situated only a few blocks away from our hotel.

Oh my goodness, how impressive was it, almost indulgent I would say... It is billed as the most beautiful cafe in the world and I think that is no exaggeration.

The New York Life Insurance Company planned a four storey eclectic palace with a cafe on it's ground floor.  The building and the Cafe opened on 23th October 1894.  The building was nationalized during the communist era.  After the collapse of Socialism, the palace was bought by Italian Boscoto Hotels in February 2001.  The building was totally renovated and reopened on May 5th 2006.

We enjoyed the most decadent Hot Chocolate before strolling back towards our hotel.

 Strolling back to our hotel.... we did not feel unsafe in any way whilst we were in Budapest.
Wonderful wonderful day and I will be sad to say farewell to this beautiful city.  I have loved our stay in the wonderful city of Budapest. 


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