Introduction
Day 1 - San Francisco to Prague
Day 2 - Kyiv from the air
Day 2 - Boryspil International Airport
Day 2 - First Views Of Kyiv
Day 3 - Guided Tour of Kyiv
Day 3 - Kyiv - On our own
Day 3 - Night train from Kyiv to L'viv
Day 4 - L'viv with Father Ken
Day 5 - Radekhiv
Day 5 - Vytkiv
Day 6 - Trip to Kolomyia
Day 6 - Halych
Day 6 - Ivano-Frankivs'k
Day 7 - Bazaar at Kosiv
Day 7 - Between Kosiv and Kolomyia
Day 7 - Kolomyia
Day 8 - Zvenyhorod
Day 8 - Back in L'viv
Day 9 - L'viv with Orest and Vitali
Day 10 - L'viv - Morning walk with Dad
Day 10 - L'viv on my own
Day 11 - L'viv with Dad
Day 11 - Night train to Budapest
Day 12 - Budapest
Day 13 - Budapest
Day 13 - Szentendre
Day 14 - Homeward bound

TRIP TO UKRAINE
September 19 - October 2, 1999

DAY 13 - BUDAPEST
A Post Office, A streetcar ride, A guided tour of Buda


Buda and Pest - tourist sites in Buda

Friday, October 1, 1999

We had the morning free, and I had several missions - see a Post Office (I'm a stamp collector), ride a streetcar (I'm a rail fan), and buy some poppy-seed pastries (I love them). Dad agreed to tag along. I got us lost again, but we accomplished all my objectives and got back to the hotel in plenty of time for our afternoon tour.

At the Post Office. Long, slow lines, because they seem to do everything at every window - banking, stamps, telegraph, whatever. An old man actually yelled at me for taking photos in the P.O. I ignored him.

 

We hopped this streetcar for a couple of blocks - no one asked for a fare - are they free? Well, no, I found out later we were supposed to buy our tickets in advance from machines located near the stops, and we could have been assessed a heavy fine if a conductor had found out we'd broken the rules.

After lunch we boarded a bus for a whirlwind tour of Budapest.

Our enthusiastic guide, Laszlo, spoke excellent English as well as Ukrainian, and though he conducted the tour mainly in Ukrainian, he kept me well-informed most of the time. Some of the tour members resented my ignorance of Ukrainian, and showed it. Others helped keep me up to date.

From the highest point in Buda, overlooking the Danube and Pest.

 

Budapest is really two cities, one on each side of the Danube. Buda is hilly, green, residential, the part of the city with the oldest, most historical sites. Pest is relatively flat, newer, the modern business area.

Liberation Monument, in front of the old medieval citadel in Buda. This is a Soviet creation, of course, renamed now, with new inscription, and a statue of a soldier plus hammer and sickle removed. There is still controversy about whether it should be allowed to remain. Its exuberance is entertaining.

#1 on the map.

   

More views of Buda and Pest from the hilltops above Buda.

   

According to our guide, Tourism is the main industry of Hungary today. With a population of 20 Million, they have 200 Million tourists every year!

Our guide talked a lot about the Russian Mafia, who have invested heavily in hotels and tourist spots outside Russia - especially Budapest, which is apparently desperate for investors of any sort.

We were there late in the season - October 1. The locals call it the Retirees Season, and indeed most of the other tourists we saw were older. It was still busy, and I was glad we weren't earlier, though the weather could have been foul - we were lucky. Indeed, the weather was great for our entire trip.

View from the steps leading up to the Fisherman's Bastion, in Buda.

#6 on the map.

Matthias Church, one of the oldest and most beautiful in Budapest. The older decorations are Turkish, and cover every surface in amazing detail.

#5 on the map.

Apparently Budapest was almost entirely destroyed in the War, so almost everything one sees today is a reconstruction. I was impressed how well they did it, as it all looked as old as it was supposed to be. (Hungary was a member of the Axis, but our guide talked as though they had been innocent by-standers.)

View of the Parliament House(in Pest) from a cafe at the Fisherman's Bastion.

#9 on the map.

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Created -- 03/22/2007 Revised -- 03/22/2007