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May 12, 2022
To Live and Dine in Budapest

Dinner at Bistro Maison restaurant

For anyone who has concerns about traveling to Hungary in current times, please rest assured. Hungary is a member of NATO. Hungary is a member of the European Union. English is widely spoken. Hungary is as safe as any Western European country. The only caveat is that Hungary is not yet on the euro currency, but it universally accepts euros and credit cards. (In fact, we are told that Hungarians prefer euros and US dollars. Apparently, no one likes the Hungarian forint, including Hungarians.)

We have greatly enjoyed our stay in Budapest. One of the things we were most looking forward to was the local food, and we have not been disappointed. There are many restaurants right around our hotel on Castle Hill, and we have tried several of them. There is also a grocery store a block away (for locals, not tourists), and we have bought several meals here as well.

Pest Buda restaurant

Dinner at Pest Buda restaurant

Chicken Paprikash at Pest Buda

Hungarian Goulash at Bistro Maison (Gail said theirs was the best)

This is not a photograph. This is our view every morning at breakfast.

Look what you can get at the local grocery store!

And look what you can buy for US $10!

Outside of Viking’s excellent excursions, we have done a lot of exploring on our own. One of Russell’s priorities was to see a rare exhibition of “The Enigmatic World of Hieronymus Bosch” at the Museum of Fine Arts. Bosch was a Dutch artist who produced some fantastic (and nightmarish) works depicting medieval images of heaven and hell. The exhibition was all the way across town on the Pest side of the Danube River, but once again Google Maps showed us the way.

We have visited the Great Market Hall, where vendors sell fresh food and souvenirs. We have taken streetcars and metro trains. We have wandered the streets aimlessly. We have walked up and down the endless stairs of Castle Hill so many times, Gail’s feet hurt just thinking about them.

The route to the Bosch exhibition, thanks to Google Maps

For a techie, Russell is also a bit of a luddite. Here are some of the handwritten notes he carries around in his pocket.

The Museum of Fine Arts

This is the largest-ever presentation of Bosch’s work in Central Europe, and one of the most significant Bosch exhibitions worldwide in the past 50 years

Inside the Great Market Hall

One of Budapest’s specialties is “chimney cakes,” which come in all kinds of flavors (these are chocolate and cinnamon). You can even get them filled with ice cream!

We are sad to leave this incredible city, but the next phase of our adventure is about to begin. Today we fly from Budapest through Warsaw (Poland) to Dubrovnik (Croatia). Tomorrow we will board the brand-new Viking Mars ocean ship as she begins her inaugural sailings. Because these will be working cruises (Russell is a guest enrichment lecturer), we will not be blogging about them.

We may post one more letter regarding our Viking Grand European Tour. But with that, we’ll call it a wrap. Thank you, everyone, for following our latest adventure!

One last retro photo: Here are Russell, Cameron and Joss at Fisherman’s Bastion in 2002

Our 2022 update is missing two key participants

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