Prague to Budapest [then back to London]
on the Imperial Cities & Danube Cruise tour

Wednesday, 25th September 2019

Following breakfast at the hotel our coach collects us at 08:30 for the fifteen minute journey to the central station in Prague. The train to Budapest is at 09:50 and takes six and a half hours. We get to the station early to allow time for the tourees to buy snacks and drinks for the journey.

Arriving at Budapest-Nyugati Station we are met by a coach that delivers us onto the quay at Budapest to join the river cruise boat.

It is here that I say hello to the four other tour managers who have brought groups by a variety of routes across Europe and say goodbye to my group of tourees.

Along with a couple of other tour managers I catch a taxi to take me to my hotel in central Budapest.

Once I have dropped my bag at the hotel I venture out to my favourite evening venue in Budapest – Szimpla Kert. Szimpla Kert is the original ruin bar in Budapest.

The ruin bars are built in Budapest’s old Jewish quarter in the ruins of abandoned buildings, stores, or lots. This area was left to decay after World War II. From the outside, it looks like a normal house. But once you walk in and enter the inner open air courtyard, you find yourself in the midst of a series of bars. I highly recommend a visit. It was raining while I was there and it is weird to feel the rain coming down on you when you are sitting inside the building.

Thursday, 26th September 2019

Today I am flying back to Gatwick from Budapest. The flight is at 14:15 so I have a brief opportunity to do a bit of culture before I head off to the airport.

Just along from my hotel I pop my head into the New York Cafe. Unfortunately the large queue of people waiting to enter, even this early in the day, doesn’t mean I can do much more than take a photograph of the interior.

Next I walk down into the old Jewish quarter of the city, first stopping at the wall memorial. The most famous tribute to the half a million Hungarian Jews who perished under the Nazis during the Holocaust is the 60 pairs of cast-iron shoes placed on the edge of the Danube’s bank in memory of Budapest Jews killed here by members of the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross Party. They were ordered to remove their shoes before being shot and their bodies fell into the river and drifted away.

The old entrance to the Jewish ghetto is marked by a large memorial. The ghetto was a 0.12 square mile walled area of Budapest created by the Nazis in 1944. It only lasted for six weeks. 70,000 Jews were crammed into 4,513 apartments (14 people per room). 10,000 lost their lives during those six weeks.

From the memorial I walked down to visit the Dohány Street Synagogue. This is the largest Synagogue in Europe, built between 1854-9 in a Moorish style. Unfortunately time did not allow me to look around inside.

Back to the hotel I collected my bag, met my fellow Tour Managers, and caught a taxi to the airport.

Following the flight back to Gatwick I took trains to London and then Bromley.

Home again…albeit briefly…I’m off again in two days to collect the tourees at the end of their cruise in Passau.

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on the Imperial Cities & Danube Cruise tour”

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