Eke & Brian - Balkan Adventure - 2019 travel blog

St. Stephen's Basilica

Parliament Building


She's not as angry as she looks.

School day trip.

Three of Budapest's finest (in retro uniforms)

Bronze version of the above.

More of St. Stephen's Bascilica.

Even the manhole covers are beautiful.


Viking Cruise boats


Bronzed shoes on the bank of the Danube




Almost looks like Paris.


Interior of St. Stephen's Basilica.



Zsuzsuanna Gion, mezzo-soprano

Exiting the Bascilica after the concert.

This town ROCKS!

Flying and Arriving in Budapest

May 16 – 17

Our trip has started! We left the house on May 16 at 1 pm and drove to Toronto; parked at Valet Parking; took the bus to Terminal 3; went to the Self Serve luggage check in and then enjoyed something to drink and a snack in the Air France/KLM lounge.

We left Toronto and had an uneventful flight. Eke talked with the person beside her who was going to Arusha in Tanzania. Eke had been there last year and they shared experiences in Africa and then on to other things in their lives. You do meet interesting people when you travel!

We arrived at Schiphol (Amsterdam) at 6:25 am on the 17th of May. We disembarked at Gate G and had to walk all the way up the alphabet to Gate B to catch our next flight to Budapest. That was a good early morning walk of at least 20 minutes!

The plane left late and we arrived in Budapest at 12 noon. Our driver was waiting to take us to our hotel The Star Inn close to the center of Pest (Buda is on the other side of the river Danube). It was about a half hour drive.

Our room was ready – hoorah! We got settled a bit and had a good hour nap – sleeping in the plane doesn’t come easy for us!

After freshening up a bit we got a map of our immediate surroundings and ventured out. The weather was good – sun and clouds – the wind was still cold!

We walked to the St. Stephen Basilica and admired the exterior. We discovered that there was a concert tonight and bought tickets.

We found our way to the Danube and admired the architecture of the old buildings along the way. It was a pleasure walking along the river where the sun was shining, keeping us warm.

We found the small exhibition of bronzed shoes at the river’s edge with several small Jewish flags stuck in them. It is a memorial of the Jews that were murdered in Budapest during the Second World War. A very touching experience.

Close by are the beautiful Parliaments Buildings –across the street along the water. The buildings are stunning and we marvelled at now they ever managed to build these magnificent structures with a lot less powerful equipment that what is used in construction nowadays.

We made our way back to the hotel (bought some fruit on the way), relaxed for a little while and then it was time to find a restaurant for our evening meal! We found a bistro and enjoyed our meal. Brian had Hungarian goulash soup and Eke had chicken with roasted vegetables and sweet potato fries. Brian helped Eke finish the meal – large portions!

By then it was time to head to the Basilica for the concert. We had good seats right in the front pews.

To say that we enjoyed it is a monumental understatement! The music and the singing were amazing, touching and moving. The big pipe organ is so powerful, the music filled the Basilica and it felt like waves rolling over us! The mezzo soprano Zsuzsuanna Gion sang three different versions of the Ave Maria and her voice brought tears to our eyes.

The trumpet was clear and triumphant especially with the playing of G.F. Handel’s water music.

We are so happy that we experienced the beautiful music in such an amazing building!

Time to go to the hotel and go to sleep!

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