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Monthly Archives: April 2019

Short Skirts and Tight Jeans . . .

Not That I Have A Problem With That.

Breakfast this morning was splitting a Chocolate Croissant that we had bought previously at a bakery, and coffee and orange juice from the Aquavit Terrace Breakfast Bar.

Then at 8:30 we were out and about on a tour of Panoramic Budapest.

Panoramic Budapest

Some of this we’d already seen since it was near our hotel, but that just gave us more free time for exploring on our own.

We did learn a lot about the history of Budapest and Hungary from our guide. Later we stopped off at a pharmacy for a few things before heading back to our rendezvous spot, and then back to the ship.

When we were ready to board we found we had to pass through another Viking ship that was moored between us and the dock. Apparently this is not unusual, due to so many different cruise ship lines and a limited amount of dock space along the river. Sometimes as many as four ships are dock side by side.

Then after another great lunch, we were off on our afternoon adventure, a trip to the famous Grand, or Central Market. Rather than a bus, this time we all took the electric tram 4 stops down the line to the Market.

Tram To Grand Market

The Market turned out be an enormous glass-roofed building, with three floors of shops selling mostly food items.

Grand Market 1

There were a couple of places selling souvenirs for the tourists, but most of the people seemed to be locals doing their food shopping.

Maybe the most interesting was the way meat was displayed and sold. Nothing was neatly packaged and wrapped in plastic like the States, but laid out in neat, raw rows, with pretty much any type of fresh sausage or meat that you could want.

Grand Market 2

Grand Market 3

Grand Market 4

Even the fish were fresh. They were kept in large tanks, with many different species all lumped in together, packed in so tightly that they could hardly move. You just pointed out what you wanted, and they would ‘fish’ it out and then kill and clean it on the spot. Now that’s fresh.

Viking had a number of ‘tastings’ set up for us around the area, letting us try different types of honey, sausage, pastries, wine cheese, and pickled veggies and fruits. It seems like the Hungarians will pickle just about anything. And it’s all good.

Getting back to the ship about 5pm, we met up for dinner about 7 with the group of friends we accumulated. And a diverse group it is.

We’ve got a couple from Memphis that I mentioned yesterday, a couple from San Francisco, another from Illinois, two couples from Australia, Perth and Melbourne, and another couple from Houston. She’s Filipino and he’s Thai.

For dinner they have two different menu sections. The one on the left never changes, with Angus Ribeye, Roasted Chicken, Poached Salmon, and Vegetarian Lasagna.

But on the right side are regional specialties that change every day. Each side also has its own Starters, I.e. Appetizers and desserts as well. And you can mix and match as much as you want, jumping from one side to the other. You can even get one entrée from both sides if you want.

Tonight Jan and I both ordered from the Regional menu, she getting the Seared Divers Scallops,

Seared Diver's Scollaps

while I got the Hungarian Goulash.

Skirnir Goulash

For dessert Jan got the fresh-made Peach Sorbet from the Regional offerings, while I got the Bourbon Crème Brule from the Standard side.

Bourbon Creme Brule

Every evening before dinner they have the Port Talk, a synopsis of life on the ship and what’s happening the next day. One thing discussed was getting back the ship too late.

They will wait for you a maximum of 5 minutes, and then they’re pulling away from the dock. The reason for this are the 67 locks they have to work through on the Danube (which is not Blue by the way, but a dirty greyish brown), the Main, and the Rhine on the way to Amsterdam.

The waterways are so busy that you have to have an appointment for your lock transition time. And if you miss your window you will have to wait, throwing you minutes, or even hours behind schedule, each delay cascading into the next one.

So they will leave you.

I don’t know who makes the fashion rules in Hungarian, but I’d like to shake their hand. Because the clothing de rigueur for young, beautiful women here seems to be skin-tight sprayed-on jeans, or short skirts with or without leggings, but both in high heels.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Not a thing.

That’s about it for Monday, so keep checking back for our latest adventures.

jkhkjhk


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Home Sweet Skirnir . . .

The Viking Longship Skirnir is our home for the next two weeks, right here in cabin 110P (P for Port, apparently), though you would think they would know which side of the ship it’s on. And we don’t care since we just look at the cabin number on the wall.

Skirnir 110-1

Skirnir 110-2

Skirnir 110-3

Cabin 110 is down in the basement, the bilge, steerage, or the cheap seats, whatever you want to call it. We learned from our Holland-American Alaska cruise a while back that the only time we spent in the cabin was to shower and sleep. The rest of the time we were out and about. So why pay extra for more room, bigger windows, etc. when we could spend that money on extras.

This morning started off early at the Hilton Budapest hotel, hitting the breakfast buffet about 7:30 because we had a lot going on, since we had to be both checked out and packed with our luggage out in the hallway for Viking to pick up and take to our ship, all by 10am.

As I mentioned yesterday this is probably the best hotel breakfast buffet we’ve ever had.

Hilton Budapest Breakfast Buffet

Pretty much anything you’ve ever thought about having for breakfast, and a lot of things you probably never thought about having, because you don’t recognize what it is. But it was all delicious.

Especially the coffee. We haven’t had a bad cup, or even a so-so cup of coffee since we got here. Really good.

After breakfast, check out, and luggage out, we were free until about 1:30 when we would be transported to the ship, so we decided to do some more walking around, taking in the great views.

We started out by walking out in a direction we hadn’t been before, thinking we would make a big circle back around to the hotel, and we did. But unfortunately, our circle left us a couple of hundred feet before where we started,

Fisherman's Bastion Steps

and about six BIG flights of stairs back up to where we should be.

But we made it with no major heart attacks or strokes, which does bode well for all the walking tours we have scheduled.

About 1:30 they herded us all into a small van, which took us a big bus, which took us to the Skirnir. And by the time we got welcomed in and were taken to our cabin, all our bags were there waiting for us. NICE!

It took Jan and I about 30 minutes to put everything away. Despite the small size, there’s really a lot of storage space, especially since our 4 suitcases all fit under the bed. Of course it helps that we already live in a small space anyway.

We had an orientation in the Lounge at 6:15, and ended up setting next to Mike and Melissa, a couple from Memphis. Turns out we both like and dislike pretty much the same BBQ places there. They obviously have good taste.

So we ended up having dinner with them too. As well as a couple from Queensland, Australia. And we all had a really good time getting to know each other.

Skirnir Dinner Group

And the food turned out to be as delicious as promised. Jan and I both started off with the Baby Shrimp Cocktail,

Baby Shrimp Cocktail

but she got the Thai Red Curry Chicken, while I got the Angus Ribeye with double steamed veggies instead of the Steak Fries.

Angus Ribeye

Then for dessert Jan got the fresh Peach Sorbet, while I got the Fruit Plate.

Fruit Plate

While we were eating the ship pulled away from the dock and headed upstream, where it turned around and took us on a night time scenic cruise of the Danube.

What was interesting was how they turned the ship around. Not by making a big turn, but instead by using the bow and stern side thrusters to just pivot in place.

And the scenery was fantastic.

Budapest Chain Bridge

Skirnir Dinner Cruise 2

Skirnir Dinner Cruise Parliament

Skirnir Dinner Cruise

Budapest is a really beautiful city. And very old, over 2000 years old.

It was first settled by a group of Celts, but by 49 A.D. it was a thriving Roman Legion outpost with as many as 40,000 inhabitants.

Tomorrow in the morning after breakfast, we got a free Panoramic Budapest tour, and then in the afternoon, we’ve got an optional one, The Grand Market – A Taste of Budapest. Sounds like our kind of tour.

It’s got ‘Taste’ right there in the title.

So Stay Tuned.

gsfgs

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