Last night we enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Danube river, an “extra” tour made available by our tour director Paul. I’m so glad I went!
It was almost magical as the illuminated buildings and bridges seemed to come alive. Paul told us none of the buildings and bridges were lit during the Communist era, so this is all been done only since 1989.
As for the dinner, it was typical Hungarian fare and really delicious.
I wanted to mention some of the differences between life in the United States versus Eastern Europe. For one thing, breakfast is included in the cost of the room. And what a sumptuous breakfast it is here at the Grand Hotel Margitszekit. It has as many dishes as I’ve ever seen at a hotel breakfast buffet.
The price you see on an item is the price you pay; there are no taxes added. I have to be taken aback, though, by the huge numbers on price tags: I bought a Budapest T-shirt for 4000 Hungarian forints: that’s only $14.72.
Yet many things are not free, such as ketchup or mustard for a hot dog, drinking water in a restaurant, or even going to a public toilet—you have to pay.
Because of a mechanical problem we had to wait for another bus and were not able to leave our hotel until 11:00. We stopped in a 1000-year old village called Szentendre where there were many vendor stalls to do window shopping. We climbed up a narrow pathway and came upon a church of St. John the Evangelist; I took a bunch of pictures of the interior including of course, the organ with blue painted pipes.
After a stop in Visegrad for lunch, it was not until after 7 pm that we arrived in our modern and very upscale hotel in Vienna, where we went immediately to a welcome dinner with cream of celery soup, Wienerschnitzel with parsleyed potatoes, and a pear pancake for dessert.