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A Český Krumlov Afternoon

Český Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre in the Czech Republic Getting off the bus after arriving in Český Krumlov, I thought, wh...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Buddah, Pesht & Castles on a Hill


View of Museum on Castle Hill, Budapest, Czech Republic

It was news to me that Budapest used to be two cities: 'Budah', and 'Pest'. Budah was a hilly city to west of the Danube River, The city of 'Pest' was flat as a pancake and it occupied the Danube's eastern shore. Below is the view leaving 'Pest'  to the on the way to 'Buda' by crossing the Danube on the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.


One morning we drove over to Budah, where we searched and searched for 'Castle Hill'. Just off the bridge we drove through the tunnel ahead, which passed just under the castle grounds. The 'Funicular' or trams takes tourists up the hill. Hum, could Castle Hill be hiding in plain site?

Headed straight for the tunnel, in search of 'Castle Hill'
Note the eagle statue on the top left
We drove around, looping a big hill and searching for parking, with "Please do not drive in Budapest!" looping in our noggins, a haunting omen. Eventually we found parking in the vicinity of an old church.


Jo then did what she does best, jovially querying the locals on the location of Castle Hill. We were in for a lovely half hour walk to the base of the hill. Yes, I was grumbling under my breathe as I hate long walks. I know. I'm ridiculous.







So we walked.














Beautiful and old streets, shops and restaurants along the way.
Beautiful old streets and interesting shops along the route

 

There was no stopping until we were at the base of Castle Hill. Right where we'd crossed over the old Chain Bridge.










There, rather than waiting a half hour to board the funicular, i.e., the uphill tram on a track - we boarded a little shuttle, paid a small fee and rode up & around the hill to the castles. Along the way we passed the Fisherman's Bastion.
The Fisherman's Bastion









Fisherman's Bastion is young building really; built between 1895 and 1902. It's purpose? To allot everyone an elevated view of the Danube River below it.
The Fisherman's Bastion, later by night
Having arrived at the top of the hill - that we saw from the bridge - an even nicer stroll of the grand grounds was called for.
In the distance in the background, note the flying eagle statue














Aha! There is the back of the flying eagle seen earlier from the bottom of the hill. It's called the 'Turul Eagle' which appears in Hungarian heraldic emblems. 
slightly spooky castle gate bearing a crow carrying a golden ring
The Crow's Tale: A crow was caught stealing the golden ring of King Matthias. Weirdly, 
to commemorate the event, the king named the crow an emblem for his heraldic emblem. 
The king was a jerk. The end. 
Jo by the King Matthias Fountain that had hounds looking real enough to bark
We found a young man, purveyor of archery so we each had a go at target practice.








Jo had a try first
Beginner's luck! Her first shot was a bulls eye
No such luck for others...
















Awesome lion - stupid truck
Our castle grounds tour took an hour or three, and we didn't take any of the ground's tours. Later we took a cab ride back to our room in the Jewish Quarter.

One night we took a cab to the Pest side of the Danube. There we met up with other tourists and a jovial tour guide. At the quick step, she marched us down to the river where we boarded a boat for a night time river cruise along the Danube River. Marching down the gangway onto the boat we gawked at people seated at elegant tables surrounding an on board banquet.

down the gang plank & onto the cruise boat
The tour guide lead the youngish group - except for myself and Jo - across the deck to a second boat. We followed but were stopped. "These people are taking the party boat, you stay here on this boat for the dinner cruise."
Ooooo, dinner cruise, soups on!
Now for my greedy self, I was happy at the thought of 'second dinner' me being something of a Hobbit. Jo however was bummed, as 'party boat' sounded more like her cup of tea. We were seated where Jo, the friendliest of beings,chatted with an American mom and college aged daughter, while I dug into the various tasty treats. Between entrees I leapt up to photograph the beautifully lit buildings that we passed along the beautiful shining river.
The beautiful & grand, Budapest Parliament
Color changing buildings glitter on the Danube


Széchenyi Chain Bridge by night

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