Although we still have a travel day tomorrow (so will technically still be on vacation!) today is the last REAL day of our European Vacation. And what a great way for it to end.
Budapest was not on my radar as a place that I WANTED to go. It just happened to be at the end of this cruise. Little did I know it would turn out to be the crown jewel of the river cruise (and maybe even the whole trip!)
The day started out as every day on the cruise did…arriving in port and spending a portion of the day touring the city we were in.
Budapest is quite a beautiful city. It has been ravaged over and over throughout its history, and sustained major bombing damage during WWII. During its communist years most of the remaining art and other treasures were destroyed. But eventually, the most historic buildings were re-built. There were originally 3 towns that combined to form present day Budapest (pronounced Boo-duh-pesht) Buda, Obuda and Pest. A large portion of it is now a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, and cannot be modernized, leaving it to be one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe.
One of our favorite sites to visit was Heroes Square, with its statues of historical people who played important parts in the long history of the area.
We went back to the boat for dinner thinking that the day was pretty much over, but unbeknownst to us, the best was yet to come.
After dinner we were invited to come up to the sun deck for a night tour of the city by river. We went up top to find that whole city was lit up like a Christmas tree – the castle, palaces, bridges and monuments were all aglow in a golden light. It was incredible. The photos don’t even begin to do it justice.
The weather was perfect. Clear, cool and dry. The Blue Danube Waltz was playing in the background, and all the while we sipped schnapps. Can you imagine it? It was so romantic. And soul-touchingly beautiful.
What an amazing way to end an adventure.
But here’s the deal. Like I said, this was not even on my radar. And it makes me wonder how many other wonderful, amazing places are there out there that we don’t know about? For now I’ll have to imagine. We’re home for a couple of months before we hit the road (or sea) again…
DAY 2 – Gratitude:
I am grateful that we have been given the opportunity to live close to both our kids and their families! Both kids and their spouses have blessed us by allowing us to care for their children while they work (at least when we’re home!) and we feel so fortunate to be able to do that!