Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Suburban Budapest--St. Andrew's and Skanzen

The Sunday morning of June 21, 2015  dawned sunny and clear once again.  We were instructed to pack our bags and leave them for transport to our cruise ship later in the afternoon. Meanwhile we would take a little tour of suburban Budapest. 

We headed out of town on the Buda side of the river. One of the first unexpected sights was a string of preserved Roman ruins running along the highway.  It is easy to forget that this part of Europe had been settled well before medieval times.  Our guide reminded us that river coursing along next to the road had been a major highway for people and goods for well over 2000 years.

We were also reminded that the Danube was prone to flooding in the spring. One village has handled the problem with temporary barriers along their waterfront that slide into concrete slotted pylons.  They function as instant dikes and can be carted away when the waters recede.

They also have some pretty nice hanging baskets.

Back on the bus we went next to a little touristy artist colony called St. Andrew (Szentendre in Hungarian)..  It was a festival day so we were met by a band,

but that did not change the fact that the town was pretty much one narrow  street lined with cafes and souvenir shops.  If you wished to load up on knit goods, animal skins, carved boxes, and wooden toys, you were in luck.

Another big tourist item is paprika. You can buy it  in jars, vials, cans, pouches, you name it.  You have to take at least some home and of course we gave up and bought. Most of the stalls sold the same stuff at the same prices so my guess is that the big winner was our tour company, who no doubt negotiated a kick-back from everybody for stopping their buses there.

The town center provides a nice place to rest a bit before walking up to the top of Castle Hill to view a lovely 13th century church.

Then down a little narrow alley where we ran into a shop selling a local delight.

Hungry in Hungary?  Try this.

Kind of a large deep fried flat semi-donut with a choice of toppings.  Only a gozillion grams of fat. We sampled one anyway.
 After finishing off one of those the little alley seemed even narrower. 


Loaded up again and head for Skanzen.  This was a large open air architectural museum where various historic buildings have been taken from their original sites and then re-erected. There is a similar one in Stockholm and one called Seurasaari in Helsinki. Costumed docents are positioned in some buildings to describe or demonstrate historic customs.

We arrived just in time for lunch at the main building, but first we had a fun demonstration of the art of making goulash.

Our chef addressed us as we gathered at the cutting tables.
Then it was chop chop mince mince
dump dump

and stir 

 Lunch was tasty though I don't think they served the mess we cooked up. Dessert as usual was the best.

We also had a nice folk trio serenading us during lunch.

Pleasantly full we were released for an hour to wander among some of the other buildings on the site.

Most interesting was the giant windmill with its working wooden gears.

Our tour bus then took us back into town and delivered us to the gangway of our Viking Longboat.
And that's a subject for the next post

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