Hungry for Hungary

Today we are arriving in Budapest for our final full day with Adventures by Disney. Tomorrow we are set to leave the ship to start the second leg of our own adventure.

The schedule for today was fairly laid back I’d say. You had the option to join the guides to Lazar Equestrian Park to watch Hungarian cowboys do their thing. Afterwards we would learn how to make goulash. Mum and I opted out of it. We wanted to see Budapest and the Christmas Markets!

But before all of that, we were told to be on deck to view our arrival into Budapest. I was so happy they let us know to be outside, the city is stunning from the water! With the sun piercing through the morning fog, it made our arrival into the city a memorable one.

We docked at our temporary location for the day. Dad was on his way to watch the cowboys, and a big group of us followed our AmaViola cruise director to the city centre of Budapest. It was an easy walk, not more than 5-10 minutes from the ship. She dropped us off at the Christmas market in Vorosmarty Square. I could smell the mulled wine and the traditional foods whirling through the air. We decided to grab a bite before shopping. Mum and I had, what I can only really compare to a goulash pita. It was goulash wrapped up in a crepe, but a bit heavier than a crepe. I don’t know….it was damn good though!!

We wandered through the rows of vendors. I noticed right away the difference in gift quality here than some of the other markets we had been to. These were genuinely handcrafted goods, not just the commercialized version. I was really quite happy with the assortment of items being sold! I purchased a few things; earrings, a t-shirt, food mostly.

After the market, we left to seek out the ‘Shoes on the Danube.’ I had read about this instalment prior to coming and I told mum it was not to be missed. We found ourselves back at the Danube, right in front of Chain Bridge. I knew it was towards Parliament, but there are no signs telling you which way to go. We just followed the water to be honest. A crowd of people were ahead of us, we knew it had to be it! Sure enough, we came upon the bronze shoes placed along the edge of the pavement.

The history behind this memorial is quite sickening and sad. Between 1944-45, Jews were rounded up on the riverbanks and shot in the back of the head at close range. Their bodies would fall into the river to be washed away. The memorial is quite moving. 60 rusted bronze shoes of different background (children, women, men, athletes and businessmen). No one escaped the brutality of the Arrow Cross militia.

If you are going to Budapest, I do recommend paying a visit to this memorial. I wasn’t even aware that this had happened, along with the endless terror happening during that time. It was quite moving.

After paying our respects, we made our way back along the Danube towards the ship. Passing Chain Bridge, again, the walk felt longer than it should have been. In any case, we arrived in time to rest up before our onboard entertainment. They were hosting a Hungarian Folklore Show in the main parlour prior to dinner. Not knowing what a Hungarian folklore show was, I was excited to see what it was all about.

Now that everyone was back onboard, the show began. It was filled with story telling and dancing. Mostly dancing. The costumes were beautiful. The show was very good. Afterwards it was time for our final dinner onboard the AmaViola.

We sat at Table 25, just as we had been doing this whole trip. Mary and Charlie with us as was the norm. It would be the last time we would all be feasting on such wonderful food together. Laughing and crying…well, Mary was crying. But it was all a bit overwhelming! We had only met these people 7 days ago, and here we are talking about how much we were going to miss everyone. Funny how travel can bring people so close together.

Our ship set sail one last time to our final parking spot for the night. We made our way back along the Danube. We watched on the top deck as we passed the city beautifully lit up at night. I had managed to sneak away after taking as many photos as I could. I wanted to leave little notes behind in the rooms of all the friends we had made during our time onboard. With the help of the Ama crew, I was able to find all the rooms I needed. Just little postcards telling them how much fun I had on this trip with everyone. Leaving contact information for those who wanted to keep in touch. Some I still do talk to regularly actually. I hoped they felt the same as I had on this journey together.

With one last meeting in the parlour about our disembarkation protocol, we all drifted off to our rooms to pack and go to sleep. The morning would come too quickly and we would be having to say goodbye to everyone onboard.

Our final breakfast at Table 25, no Mary and Charlie though. We weren’t sure where they were or if they had left. They hadn’t said goodbye or anything. I know Mary was quite upset. That’s ok though. I know we would be seeing them again in a few weeks when we go to Walt Disney World. Breakfast is done, our bags waiting for the crew to pick them up and all we had to do was wait for our names to be called. We sat in the parlour with Maryann and the kids. It wasn’t long before our name was called and we were waving goodbye to everyone.

Our Adventures by Disney Christmas River Cruise had come to an end, but this was not the end of our journey. We were leaving the AmaViola today to start our own adventure! We would be staying in Budapest for two full days, and leaving on the second night to Krakow.

Stay tuned for more sights and sounds of Buda and Pest!

Until next time…

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