Cruising the Danube from the Black Sea to the North Sea
April-May 2023: Day 16

Budapest, Hungary


We now had lots of new passengers onboard, finding their way around the ship and on the tours. There were two tours of Budapest, one a quick coach tour around Pest and then to Buda for a visit to the Hospital in the Rock. The other spent more time in Pest and included a walking tour. We were back on board for lunch and the first time we had a full restaurant, so service was a bit slower. We then sailed north, upstream on the Danube passing old and new Budapest. After dinner we were entertained by an Hungarian orchestra of violin, viola and double bass as well as 4 dancers. We stopped at a jetty somewhere north of Budapest to let them off around 10pm.

Old Pest by Coach

One of our tours drove around old Pest to Heroes Square then back over Elizabeth Bridge to Castle Hill. We walked up steps to see 120 cherry trees in full blossom then back down again to the entrance to the Hospital in the Rock.

Houses in old Pest
These were built by the wealthy residents of Pest.

Castle Hill, cherry trees and the Hospital in the Rock

From old Pest we drove back over Elizabeth Bridge and up Castle Hill. Behind the hill we walked up steps to see 120 cherry trees in blossom. From there it was a short walk to the Hospital in the Rock. Castle Hill is limestone filled with natural caves. In late 1930s these were extended to make a hospital for air raid victims. Hungary joined the war on side of the Axis (Germany). The hospital was built for 60 beds but catered for 650 at height of the siege by the Red Army in 1944. Later used for victims of Hungarian revolution in 1956 when Soviets took over Hungary. The Soviets then added a nuclear bunker to the hospital. For a long time the facility was closed but then opened for visits on special days. It proved so popular it became a permanent museum. Our guide was Adam who had a good sense of humour and a good explanation of Hungarians. “Hungary has joined many wars but always on the losing side. So wait for Hungary to decide then do opposite”. “Hungarians are big meat eaters. If it moves we east it. It if doesn’t move we push it aside.”

From the road up Castle Hill
View over Buda.
The start of the cherry tree display.
We saw several of these - street vacuum cleaners.
And back down the steps to...
The Hospital in the Rock.

Walking tour of Pest

The other tour we took was a coach and walking tour of old Pest. It passed architectural marvels and Heroes Square.

The grandness of Heroes Square
Organ recital at the National Insitiute for the Blind.

River views of Budapest to the north

After lunch the Scenic Jade set sail up the Danube. We passed through old Budapest again and then passed new developments of tall office and apartment blocks and many more bridges. The change in architectureal style from old to modern was quite marked.


Hungarian Dancers

After dinner we were entertained by a group of hungarian dancers accompanied by a string quartet. The performers came on board before we left Budapest and we dropped them off somewhere remote just after 10pm. They put on a great performance.

Hungarian dancers

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Last updated: 30 June 2023