Hungary part 2
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
We decided to stay over in Esztergom an old historic town on the banks of the Danube. It was a beautiful sight arriving over the Danube to see the Catederal perched on top of the hill overlooking the town. Esztergom is one of the oldest cities in Hungary and was the capital and royal residence of the early Árpád princes and kings and successive Hungarian kings until the mid-13th century. Stephen 1 was born in the town and crowned there in 1000. The archbishopric is the oldest in Hungary, dating from 1001. The town has long been the centre of Roman Catholicism in Hungary. Esztergom’s fortress, last restored in the 18th century, is still largely intact atop Várhegy (Castle Hill). The town’s great cathedral (built 1822–60), modeled on St. Peter’s in Rome, overlooks the Danube and is the largest church in Hungary, the outside height of the cupola being 348 feet (106 metres). It is on the site of St. Stephen’s original cathedral (1010). We took a stroll up Castle hill to the cathedral which is very impressive. While we were there a mass was underway and it was a sublime feeling looking at the ceiling painting and realising that mass has been held here for more than a thousand years. We left for Budapest and on our way we stopped at Szentendre which is located on the Danube River, north of Budapest. It’s known for its baroque architecture, churches, colorful houses and narrow, cobbled streets. The main square, Fő Tér, and the alleyways around it are lined with art galleries, museums and shops. Just off the square, the 18th-century Greek Orthodox Blagovestenska Church has elaborate decor and an ornate partition screen. We strolled along the cobbled streets and peeped into the little tourist shops that line the streets, Ben and Ella had another slushpuppy which is becoming their new favorite drink.
Arriving in Budapest and following the Danube as we headed to our campsite was amazing, the city lining the Danube must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We decided to do a city tour by red bus because there are so many things to see that walking in the heat was not really an option. The bus was great and the twins loved having their own earphones although they could not really understand the commentary they thought Chinese was the funniest language. The bus trip included a boat ride on the Danube and this was probably the best views you will have of the city. We got off the boat at Margaret island and took another bus back to where we started and had lunch before we went back to our campsite. All in all it was a great experience and a great way to see the city. Budapest really grows on you and it would be great to spend more time exploring all the little streets.
From Budapest we headed east towards the Romanian border, we stayed at a campsite close to the town of Eger which is in the wine region of Hungary. Our campsite was next to the valley of the beautiful woman where all the different wine makers have a little cave from where they sell there wine. We met a Polish couple Grzegorz and Monika who was on holiday from Poland by motorbike. We had a great chat with them the evening and finished a 2 lt bottle of rose wine that they bought from one of the cellars. We took a stroll down the winding road the next morning to visit the cellars. They were selling award winning wines from 1 lt to 10 lt in plastic bottles. We left for the town with the unpronounceable name of Hajdúszoboszló. When we arrived the road entering the campsite was partially closed off and we saw a big stage and lots of security. The lady at reception told me that there is a rock festival happening over the next 2 days, how bad could it get? Well they started playing really loud head banging music at about 8pm and finished at 5am, we only got to sleep at 5am and woke up a bit grumpy. Fortunately the twins slept through the noise. We upped the next morning and headed to our last camp in Hungary, there was also a concert happening in the far distance but at least it was bearable. My impressions of Hungary are mixed, Budapest was the highlight and is a beautiful city with a lot of history and culture and rates right up there with Paris and London. The rest of the country had some beautiful places that were worth seeing. We did indulge in the local food a couple of times and the goulash was very good, the wine was drinkable and things were affordable and there are lots of supermarkets in every town. What was noticeable was the neglect of houses and buildings in the countryside villages. There were lots of half built houses where people were living in and many houses had plaster and paint peeling off and no one seemed to be bothered with the state of it. I also found that the Hungary lacked the authenticity that i had envisioned before visiting but Budapest is certainly a reason to visit the country again.