With lunch somewhere in between, this time a few of us deciding to not go the standard Indian Dal Chawal route, found a wonderful Pizza place near our Indian restaurant, which amazingly was excellent from a vegetarian perspective. The day being a walking tour, we quickly headed off in our bus to the St. Stephen’s Basilica, where our next walkathon began. Named after the first King of Hungary, whose right hand was supposedly housed in the relics shrine, the Church, it seems was amongst the two tallest buildings in Hungary, along with the Parliament, the Basilica also boasted of the biggest bell in Hungary, weighing almost 9 tonnes. The square (I tend to call most of the open spaces as squares) was another delight to be in and per our guide, a key time to be present was when there were musical concerts played in the Basilica (not the rock ones ofcourse). Again, this being a walkathon, our views were limited to the external structures of the Basilica and not an internal tour, we headed off.
Walking across the Basilica area our tour continued towards the Hungarian Parliament Building, another awe imposing building that lies across the river Danube. Built during the 19th century, it can surely be stated as a marvel in engineering with the minarets and the Central Dome that are all too visible. Interestingly we were also told, that this was among the two of the highest buildings in Hungary, the other being the St. Stephen’s Basilica and per Hungarian Law, no building was to be created taller than this.
Being a weekend, traffic was light and since we had started early, we managed to walk around comfortably, without the zillions of tourists that normally throng such monuments. On the way, we also passed by a street fountain, which interestingly was different. Normally, the fountains start and stop randomly, however this one was unique in that the fountain stopped as one approached it. Passing on, with a good hour or more spent walking around the Basilica, Parliament House, we headed off to the Danube river, where we joined in a cruise boat for a short river tour of the city.
River cruises are always nice and pleasant to a certain extent. Of course it depends on the route and the start stop points. The cruise on the Danube was no different. Starting off where we wound up post the Parliament building, the cruise boat took us around the city giving a river view of all the monuments that we had been seeing; the Castle, the Bastion, the Basilica, the Citadel, the Universities and back again to the starting point. Not that they are bad, but sometimes one realizes that they are good, if you have nothing much to do, or you should do it when it is extremely hot to walk, or a bit late in the evening when the lights are on. Though some of the views were superb, I have had some more wonderful cruises, especially the one on the Danube River in Germany or even the Seine River cruise. One could say that this was more of a, relax your muscles, take a breather until your next destination.
Post another quick tour around the city, we headed off to the highlight of the day or the evening, a show at Borkatakomba or also popularly known as Borkatakomba show. Simply speaking, a wine cellar converted into a restaurant. Impressive entrance which had seats created in Wine barrels, and a restaurant created in an actual wine cellar. Flavour of the evening of course was the Wine which was accompanied by a show performed by local artistes. A musical song and dance show, completely taking out the stress of the day. The food was fairly decent, considering we were all vegetarians, however was still quite impressive considering that this was a country where Vegetarian food from the local cuisine was not a specialty. Which also makes one wonder, how difficult is veg food. Get a bowl of rice, take five to six vegetables, make a mash up and it becomes a vegetable stew.
However enough of this, a wonderful show at the end, brilliant performances, followed with a night tour of the city seeing all the monuments lit up at night was as always an exhilarating experience. Back to the Hotel as an eventful Day and the Hungary visit came to an end.
2 brilliant days, just flowing away, wonderful moments, memories, plans were afoot for another early morning the next day and heading off to the Czech Republic.3