After breakfast, our group was ready to go to the west side of the Danube for a tour of Buda, again led by Elemer. We began the tour in the in Castle Hill district, known for its crooked, cobblestone streets, fascinating architecture, and views of Pest.The Royal Palace is high on the hilltop. Over time, the building was conquered by the Ottomans, the Hapsburgs, and the Soviets, and was rebuilt after WW II. The National Gallery and the History Museum are located inside the Palace. In the front is a statue of Eugene of Savoy, a famous general and statesman who was born in the 17th century. There’s also a fountain in which King Matthias, born in the 15th century, is hunting incognito.
We reached Trinity Square, the main part of the old town, where we saw a column that was built to commemorate the end of the plague. Next was another view of Matthias Church, and then, the seven domes of Fisherman’s Bastion, one for each of the seven original Magyar tribes.
We walked through neighborhoods that had charming architecture, and we entered some doorways that led to courtyards surrounded by residences. We reached the site of the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene that was built in the 13th century, but all that is left of it is its bell tower.
After the tour, we took a bus with others from the group, and we got off at City Park. Nick wanted to try the food at some of the stalls that we had seen the day before. I was skeptical, but I saw locals enjoying their lunches, so why not give it a try? Nick and I shared a plate of chicken with red, yellow, and green peppers in a delightful sauce that included paprika, of course. We loved it.
From there, we walked to the far side of Heroes’ Square, to the Museum of Fine Arts. The museum had recently reopened after a long renovation, and it featured a temporary exhibit of twenty-nine sketches by Michelangelo, some from his days as an apprentice. The artwork in this exhibit is on loan from the Uffizi, the Louvre and the British Museum. Because the exhibit’s focus is the Renaissance theme of the human body, many of the drawings were considered scandalous in the artist’s lifetime. Photos of art in this collection were not allowed, but photos of the permanent collection were welcome. There were works by Renoir, El Greco, and Pissarro (no relation), among many others.
At this point my spirit was renewed, but my body was exhausted, so we went back to our hotel for a rest. While Nick napped, I finished reading the latest adventure in the “Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series.
Nick awoke thinking about dinner. Should we take the metro again in search of a restaurant, or should we eat at the hotel? We chose the hotel, and we were delighted to find that the patio was open. We shared a duck pate served over shaved radishes, so good! For our main course we had a lamb burger, something rarely served at home. For dessert, we chose opera cake, a layer of cake topped by marshmallow creme topped by meringue, with chocolate pudding on the side.
If there was a city in which we wanted to spend more time, it was Budapest, but we’d be on the road tomorrow, so we went back to our room to pack.