Day 14: The Last Day (and Night)
While some passengers aboard the Viking Skirnir were off loading luggage and boarding buses at 3 a.m., we slept in until 6 a.m. But our turn comes tomorrow when we (hopefully) board a bus from our hotel in Budapest at 3 a.m. for OUR trip to the airport and the beginning of a long day that should end in Maggie Valley sometime before midnight.
After being dropped off by our surly Hungarian charter bus driver three blocks from our hotel because he said his bus wouldn’t go down the street and dragging our luggage the remaining distance, we only had to wait about 30 minutes for a room to be ready. Once our luggage was stowed in the room, we took one final stroll through Budapest, walking all the way from Pest to Buda and back. (It’s actually only one step on the Chain Bridge because the river separates the two pseudo cities.) We really did walk across the rusting 7i00-year old bridge and then walked for several hours through the city.
I wanted one last look at the Parliament building, which, as it turns out is far more impressive from a ship in the river. There was one site though that I did want to visit not far from the Parliament. About 12 years ago, the people of Budapest commemorated a memorial to the 600,000 Hungarian Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and developmentally challenged individuals slaughtered by the Nazis as part of the Holocaust. The memorial is simple: 100 iron shoes on the edge of the river, each shoe symbolizing 6,000 innocent lives. The story we heard is that many of them were marched to the river and, after removing all of their belongings and valuables, including shoes, they were cast into the river. When their relatives went to find them, all they could find were shoes. Very touching.
After lunch of a traditional Hungarian kabob and a beer at a street cafe near the shopping district, we headed back to our room for a short nap before going to dinner one more time with friends.
Last night, after the blog was posted, we cruised down the river to see Budapest after dark. I will let the following pictures speak to that experience.
This will probably be the last post for this trip. I don’t think I’m going to be up for it after flying all day and half the night. Budapest to Paris to Atlanta to Charlotte. Hope everyone who’s still with me at the end enjoyed our trip. I know we did.
A few more from Budapest.