Get Away With Fran

September 15, 2009

Cruising from Budapest on the Viking Legend

Filed under: Cruise,International — admin @ 3:55 am

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While I have written at least dozens of articles advising people to plan ahead, I don’t always take my own advice. And so with the Viking Legend overnighting in Budapest, my plans yesterday to tour the House of Terror Museum were thwarted by the fact the museum is closed on Mondays. Darn, should have checked.

Before you think I am into the macabre, let me explain the museum outlines the decades of Nazi and Communist repression in Hungary. It’s located in the former headquarters of the secret police. About 10 years ago when I visited here, there were lines literally out the door and I couldn’t get in. Maybe next visit I’ll actually get to tour the place.

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Having done top sights like the Central Market, the beautiful neo-Gothic parliament and the impressive synagogue (the second largest in the world) on my previous visit, I headed to the city’s famous opera house (above), a beautiful elaborate building that replaced another opera house that burned in the 1800s during a performance. There were huge crowds for the 3 p.m. tour (one of two offered daily). I didn’t feel like dealing with crowds.

So I continued my walk heading to Vaci utca, the main pedestrian shopping street (where I resisted using my credit card at tempting shops). I did decide a treat was in order, however – the goulash and stuffed peppers I’d had for lunch on the Viking Legend were wearing off. So I settled down at the 1858 Gerbeaud Café in an outdoor table and watched passersby as I munched on a 7-layer, chocolate filled Dobas torta (Hungarian for many calories, lol).

While I was doing all this, most of my fellow passengers on the Viking Legend took the complimentary, four-hour morning bus tour to the main city sights. Some booked afternoon excursions as well – you could do a free visit to a small village if you were willing to endure a stop (and pitch) at a diamond factory or pay extra for an excursion to a Hungarian horse farm to see horses perform.

Back on the ship, the German Captain greeted us with a champagne toast, and we departed Budapest under lighted bridges as the sun went down.

But the highlight of my evening was when I stopped after dinner to see the featured evening entertainment, a lounge singer/keyboard player. Those who went to bed before 10 p.m., which was most of the ship, missed his eastern European rendition of Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville,” which in his interpretation came out “Margar-ita-wille.” Me, I left the lounge quickly, not able to stop giggling.

1 Comment »

  1. Bad luck Re the museum tour – 6p’s of planing there!!

    Better luck 3rd time around xx

    :) x

    Comment by Mike Groves — September 25, 2009 @ 4:43 am

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