Early Saturday morning we were transferred from our river cruise boat to the hotel, as we had signed up for the post-cruise extension. Besides a 1/2 day local walking tour the 2nd day, it was basically free time to check out sights on your own.
First up we hired a car and driver to take us to the main cemetery, Kerepesi. I am a fan of "Angel of Grief" statues, named after a sculpture by William Story made in 1895 for his wife in Rome's protestant cemetery. I had read recently of one in Budapest's cemetery, so off we went. It looked haunting in the recent winter snow.
|Mrs. Ferenc Beniczky (nee Bajza Lenke)(1839-1905)|
|Lajos Kossuth Mausoleum|
|Shoes on the Danube|
Later we visited a World War II memorial along the Danube which paid tribute to over 3,500 citizens killed during the "Arrow Cross" terror in late 1944-early 1945. Citizens were lined up along the river bank, told to take off their shoes, then shot with their bodies falling into the river to be carried downstream. The memorial contains 60 empty pairs of iron shoes in the style of the period.
The next day was reserved for the Budapest Zoo. The polar bear was out and about, but the tiger was in a heated building, along with the giraffes. The elephants were outside too--they didn't seem fazed by the cold weather. The entrance gate and the elephant house were both constructed for the 1896 400th anniversary celebration.
|The Entrance Gate and the Polar Bear|
We checked out the Basilica first. Men in frocks stood at the entrance to the Basilica, to insure you paid your entrance fee if you wished to enter. Seemed a bit out of place for Christmas season, but they probably thought with the market crowds, they should take in some forints too.
|Overlooking the square and the Christmas Market from the Basilica steps|
|At the Christmas market looking towards the Basilica in the evening fog|
Some of the booths at the market:
A wonderful evening, then it was back to the hotel and return home. To make our Frankfurt connection, we departed Budapest airport at 6:30 a.m. My that was an early departure from the hotel!
Very enjoyable trip, however, with many, many memories!