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Hungary

Christmas Markets along the Danube

AMAMagna

rain 35 °F

At was a foggy and drizzly day in Budapest today, so we decided to forgo the city tour, which we had done before. Also, Budapest does not have one big Christmas market, but smaller ones spread around the city. Instead I chose to stay on board and take some pictures of the ship, which has been stunningly decorated for the Christmas season. From the AMA web site: "As imagined by AmaWaterways’ Co-Founder, Co-Owner and President Rudi Schreiner, the “Godfather of River Cruising,” the AmaMagna is twice the width of traditional European river ships and offers more personal space, more unique dining venues and more leisure opportunities, redefining the river cruise experience! Most accommodations are spacious suites measuring 355 to 710 sq. ft. with full balconies. In addition to the Main Restaurant and The Chef’s Table, AmaMagna introduces two enticing new dining venues: Jimmy’s, a family-style restaurant named for AmaWaterways’ late Co-Owner Jimmy Murphy, and the Al Fresco Restaurant, with retractable windows and outdoor seating. Both a sun-deck pool and whirlpool invite guests to refresh and enjoy the views. AmaMagna’s Zen Wellness Studio is an expansive space with a fitness center, two massage rooms and a refreshing juice bar. And finally, The Marina opens to reveal a Sundowner boat upon which intimate river excursions take place."

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Posted by rpickett 02:54 Archived in Hungary Tagged amamagna Comments (0)

Christmas Markets along the Danube

Budapest

sunny 40 °F

We arrived in Budapest at about 4:30pm, long after the sun set at about 3:45pm. Our driver met us at the front of the train and we headed from Pest to Buda to the Hilton Budapest on Castle Hill. Castle Hill is a kilometre-long limestone plateau towering 170m above the Danube. It contains some of Budapest’s most important medieval monuments and museums and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Below it is a 28km-long network of caves formed by thermal springs. The walled area consists of two distinct parts: the Old Town to the north, where commoners once lived, and the Royal Palace to the south, the original site of the castle built by Béla IV in the 13th century and reserved for the nobility. The oldest part of the present-day palace was built in the 14th century by Stephen, Duke of Slavonia, who was the younger brother of King Louis I of Hungary. Only the foundations remain of the castle keep, which was known as Stephen's Tower. The Gothic palace of King Louis I was arranged around a narrow courtyard next to the keep. We ate a wonderful dinner at a Michelin rated restaurant, which I had made a reservation for before we left. There is a beautiful Catholic Church next to the Hilton, Mátyás Templom, which celebrated a high Latin mass at 10:00am, which was perfect for the second Sunday of Advent. According to church tradition, it was originally built in Romanesque style in 1015, although few references exist. The current building was constructed in the florid late Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century and was extensively restored in the late 19th century. It was the second largest church of medieval Buda and the seventh largest church of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom. After church, we packed up and took a taxi down to the Danube and checked in to AMAMagna.

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Posted by rpickett 06:44 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest Comments (0)

Bucharest to Budapest

Pecs, Hungary

rain 69 °F

Our final excursion of this trip was to a hidden gem called Pecs, Hungary - a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its episcopate was founded in 1009 by Stephen I, and the first university in Hungary was founded in Pécs in 1367 by Louis I the Great. (The largest university still resides in Pécs with about 34,000 students). Pécs was formed into one of the cultural and arts center of the country by bishop Janus Pannonius, great humanist poet. Pécs has a rich heritage from the age of a 150-year-long Ottoman occupation, like the mosque of Pasha Qasim the Victorious on Széchenyi square. Pécs always was a multicultural city where many cultural layers are encrusted melting different values of the history of two thousand years. Hungarians, Croatians and Swabians still live in peace together in economic and cultural polarity. In 1998 Pécs was given the UNESCO prize Cities for peace for maintaining the cultures of the minorities, and also for its tolerant and helping attitude toward refugees of the Yugoslav Wars.

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The Sts. Peter and Paul's Cathedral Basilica foundations of are from the Roman period, around the fourth century. It is believed that at the site of the cathedral today an early Christian basilica, which spread westwards between the eighth and ninth centuries. Under the reign of Stephen I, the decision to modify the construction and, presumably, the two western towers date from this period was taken. After a great fire of 1064 was carried out construction of the Romanesque basilica, with the participation of Italian architects. In the Middle Ages the church was enlarged with two lateral towers and Gothic chapels.

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Posted by rpickett 06:23 Archived in Hungary Tagged pecs Comments (0)

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