A Short break to Budapest 4 – 8 June 2015
A group of 20 from the society spent 5 days enjoying a tour of Budapest recently, organised through Tailored Travel.
We were lucky as the weather was extremely hot and sunny. We stayed at the 4* Mercure Korona Hotel, which was in the centre of the Pest side of Budapest, which meant we could walk to the Danube, the restaurant area and explore the City as we wanted. The public transport was great and free for those for those of us of a more advanced age.
Our first full day included a morning tour of the city firstly covering the Pest side and then on to the Buda side. Highlights included the Hero’s Square, the Coronation Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle and the Market where we could buy our lunch. In the afternoon we had a guided tour of the Hungarian National Gallery, particularly looking at the development of Hungarian Art. A highlight was the church Altar screens, which were saved by the locals during the war and communist era.
The next day we visited Szentendre, a small town situated on the banks of the Danube with old medieval streets and churches. We were fortunate that our guide knew the person helping to restore the church so we were given a bespoke insight into some of the treasures and how the restoration work was progressing. During the lunch break there was time for some of the group to visit the Margit Kovacs museum to see her ceramics. The rest of the afternoon we were able to have some free time. Some of our party decided not to go on the organised trip but explored on their own – visiting the famous thermal baths and spa for a dip for example.
That evening we had the chance of an evening cruise on the Danube so we could see the landmarks lit up and see them from a different perspective.
We had an early start on the Sunday morning for a visit to the Opera House. There were rehearsals for a production so we had to go before the rehearsals began. However this did give us the opportunity to explore a bit more of the city on our own. Some of us visited the Jewish synagogue and museum, other explored the local Cathedral or just sat in the sun having a coffee and leisurely lunch.
In the afternoon we visited the Castle of Sissi – built as a summer residence for Queen Elizabeth (Sissi) wife of the Austrian Emperor in the 1800s. It has been beautifully restored having suffered badly during the communist era. Again locals has managed to save some of the art work, furniture etc. which are now back in place. A highlight was the small theatre where production can still be held.
On our final day most of the group visited the Parliament buildings, where the Hungarian crown jewels are on display. It is a splendid building with the session room an impressive central staircase and a wonderful Great Vaulted Hall. Unfortunately a few of the group had an accident and therefore missed the visit. However we were all back together before our return to the airport and our trip home.
Many thanks to Michelle for organising the tour and supporting the injured on the last day.