Mozart Danube river cruise review day 3
Day 3 Esztergom & Budapest
Today we have arrived in Esztergom, Hungary and are docked at Mahart pier 1. Our tour left just after breakfast, and whilst we were on the tour, the Dertour MOZART would leave and meet us in Budapest . Esztergom was the the ancient residence of Hungarian kings and the seat of the archbishop. King Stephen was born here around 970, and founded the cathedral in 1010. The monarchy moved out after the mongol invasion in the 13th century, but the archbishop stayed on. We visited the giant neoclassic basilica that dominates the skyline, built on the site of King Stephens original cathedral. Begun in 1822, it is the largest church in Hungary, and took over 40 years to complete. The dome is based on St Peters in Rome. It also has a wonderful viewing terrace that gave superb views over the Danube and of the Dertour MOZART. We saw it leaving it’s moorings and headed down stream, a great opportunity for some photos.
We then headed to the ruins of Visegrad, the remains of King Matthias Corvinus oppulant 15th century palace, and the views of the Danube bend were superb. It was nearing 35 degrees and a heat haze hung in the air. At the Danube bend we saw MOZART coming round the corner and waited there until it passed us, hundreds of feet below.
Then it was back on the bus to Szentendre, a photogenic small artists village founded by Serb refugees in 1389. We wandered the quant streets for a while, admiring the local handicrafts such as the deep blue dyed material which is a traditional blue cloth patterned with white flowers, as well as a lot of fur hats and animal pelts, and of course paprika and lots of embroidered items. Upon reaching the baroque main town square, marked with a large votive gold cross in the centre (erected by the Serbs as a thanks for the plague not reaching their village) we stopped for a local beer before heading back to the bus.
We soon arrived in Budapest , and were advised that the hilly side of the city is Buda, and the flat side on the other river bank is Pest. Back on board for lunch and then it was off again for a city tour of Budapest. This really is a lovely city, very ornate with so many wonderful buildings, we passed the city hall, the parliament, visited the Hero’s square with monuments of many Hungarian kings. Crossing the Chain Bridge we made our way up the hill where we visted Matthias church and stopped for wonderful views at Fishermans Bastion. This area was built on the site of a medieval fish market and celebrates the fact that in the 18th century local fishermen were responsible for defending the fortifications. The present structure looks like a sand castle built in a Disney style and was constructed in the early 20th century . Then it was up to the Citadel, perched high on Gellert Hill and the statue of liberty for more amazing views before returning back to the ship.
After dinner that evening we were entertained by some local gypsy musicians, followed by a river trip past the Parliament building all lit up at night and under a few of the bridges. It was then off to bed after a very hot day.
- Mozart Danube river cruise blog day 1
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