*Note from Communications Manager, Andi Davis: Morgan White President and CEO David White is currently on a much-deserved vacation. Saturday, August 11th, he was in Budapest, Hungary and this begins the first of several blogs during his travels. I know you will enjoy.
The city of Budapest is a city of 2,000,000 in a country with a population of 10 million. The airport was not too large and easy to navigate. We had no trouble getting to the luggage area as most signs are written in English as well as the local Hungarian language. Taxis are abundant and not very expensive. The city center is about 30 to 45 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic.
Today was our first full day on the River Cruise. We are in Budapest, Hungary. A beautiful city which was in Nazi hands beginning in 1939 and then in Soviet hands until 1989. The transition was very peaceful, and this was the first place to change, even before the Wall in Berlin fell. But the people here remember the occupation very well and do not want it to happen again. All the communist statues have been removed and put in a special place outside of the city, so the memory of that time will not be forgotten.
Hungary marked its beginning in 896 AD with the recognition of its first king, Stephen I, by the Pope in Rome. Attila the Hun, was the leader of the first tribe in Hungary many years prior. The Golden Age of Hungary, according to their people, lasted through 14 kings ending with Matthias Corvinus in 1490. This is a beautiful city and one that I highly recommend you visit. The river cruise is a good way to see a small part of the city, but it can offer so much more, such as museums in addition to beautiful churches and synagogues. Hungary boasts the third largest synagogue in the world.
The city has always been known as Buda on the west hilly side of the Danube River, and Pest on the flat east side of the river. The locals pronounce it “Phest”, not Pest, as we Americans would. Pest is where all government buildings and most museums are located, but Buda is where the old castle is and where living is more expensive and desirable. It is a very safe city and we are told the safest in Europe. You can see people walking and jogging at all hours of the night. The prices for restaurants and hotels in the city seem reasonable versus other places I have visited in Europe such as London, Paris, and Rome.
The government building lights brighten the city brilliantly at night, and on a dinner cruise or river cruise, seeing this is truly a beautiful sight. There are lots of restaurants with outside tables, and it seems, on those streets, the city comes even more alive, visiting, eating, drinking, and having a good time. For me, it was a place I want to visit again and spend more time. The people are friendly and most speak English, at least those who are in the tourism business. The food is good and there are lots of restaurants. I ate Hungarian goulash for the first time and it is very good. All the ethnic foods you could imagine are here as well.
As you can see, I thoroughly enjoy this place. The day is August 11th. The weather was a little rainy this morning but turned into sunshine this afternoon with temperatures in the high 70s. All quite enjoyable for me and my colleagues.