Blue Danube – 2017 – Budapest Schedule – Sept 23-28

Sept 23

Climb Gellert Hill – Gellért Hill is a 140-m high dolomite rock rising above the Danube in Buda. – 2-3 hours

Gellert Hill received its name after bishop Gellért who came to Hungary from Italy around 1000 AD. King St. Stephen invited him to help converting the Hungarians into Christianity. Some resisting pagans rolled him down the hill in a barrel into the Danube in 1046. A large statue, holding a cross in his right hand, commemorates the bishop on the northeastern slope of the hill, facing Erzsébet híd (Elizabeth Bridge).

View from the hill


Pagony – The Most Unusual Eatery in the City

Address: Kemenes utca 10., district XI.
Open: Mon-Sun: 10.00-23.00


St. Stephen’s Basilica, the largest church in Budapest, is dedicated to Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen.

About 8 500 people can get in the beautiful Neoclassical cathedral at the same time. Apart from its vastness, the Basilica offers some unique attractions:

It houses Hungary’s most sacred treasure, St. Stephen’s mummified right hand, the Szent Jobb (Holy Right Hand). Go up the cupola and take in the view of whole Budapest from above!

Great Synagogue, the largest functioning synagogue in Europe.

Sept 24

Bath/Spa day – alternate, shopping, museum

Sept 25

Hungarian Cooking Class- Culinary Hungary

9:00 – 11:00 Market and tasting tour at the Central Market Hall, we select fresh ingredients needed for the cooking class. Also, we sample Hungarian specialties.

11:15 We arrive at our apartment. While we review the recipes you are served some Hungarian home-made fruit brandy.

11:30-13:30 Cooking time. Under our careful eye you prepare the dishes you chose. Soup, main course, dessert.

Goulash Soup
Chicken Paprika with Noodles
Poppyseed Bread Pudding


Visit bar/music venue

Sept 26

Aquincum – alternate, museum other day trip

Sept 27

Transportation to the airport

Sept 28 – Fly home

Blue Danube Tour – 2017 – Backroads

Sept 13 – Day 1 – Wed
Meet at Hilton Prague Old Town
Shuttle to Tittling, Germany 31⁄2 Hours

Museumsdorf Bayerischer Wald

Bike through Bavarian Forest to Vilshofen – choice of 16 or 26 miles
Settle on boat

Amawaterways Viola –

In case you need a little more biking, there is a fitness room

And a heated (but outdoors) pool


Welcome Reception, Oktoberfest Celebration, Dinner

Sept 14 – Day 2 – Thurs
Bike (or cruise) to Passau, Austria – Bavarian countryside

Biking – 19, 26, 35 or 36 (steeper)
possibilities – Neuburg Castle, Austrian hills
Lunch – Neuburg Castle or on ship

Can do guided walking tour of Passau
dinner on board – intro to Austria
Through The Ages – Dance Party in the Lounge
cruise overnight to Linz

Sept 15 – Day 3 – Fri
Biking or tour Linz

afternoon biking – Enns
Biking – 14, 27 or 43 miles
OR 3 hour ride to Salzburg and 4 hour tour
OR Austrian Hills

OR Český Krumlov tour

dinner on board OR on your own in Linz
Explore pubs in Linz
cruise overnight to Melk

Sept 16 – Day 4 – Sat
Bike or bus to and tour Melk Abbey
Melk was settled in the 9th century
Abbey dates from 18th Century

bike on Donauradweg (bike trail)

Return to ship for lunch
Bike or cruise to Krems

dinner on board
Biergarten in Krems – evening

Cruise overnight to Vienna

Sept 17 – Day 5 – Sun
Danube Island Biking (hmm, there is a nudist area on the Island)
or Guided Tour Vienna (bus and walk)
lunch on board or in Vienna
Guided tour Vienna or Schönbrunn Palace ($)
Dinner on board or in Vienna
Concert on shore (opt $)
Overnight in Vienna

Sept 18 – Day 6 – Mon
Bike – Danube Wetlands National Park – some great wildlife viewing

lunch at Schloss Hof castle

or on ship if not biking
Walking tour of Bratislava if biking – capital of Slovakia

Dinner on ship
80’s Party
Cruise overnight to Visegrad

Sept 19 – Day 7 – Tues
Biking to Esztergom, Hungary in morning

In the Basilica, Esztergom

Bike or cruise to Vac

Lunch on board
Cruise to Budapest
Short walking tour of Castle Hill in Budapest

Farewell Reception- Hungarian folklore show
dining on ship
Night Illuminations cruise in Budapest

Bright Lights White Nights party

Sept 20 – Day 8 Wednesday
Breakfast and leave the ship

Blue Danube – 2017 – Budapest Schedule suggestion Sept 20-22

Sept 20
Breakfast and leave the ship

Get cabs to apartment
Check in to our Castle District apartment

Lunch – nearby and buy some basic groceries? if we want to eat breakfast at home or do any cooking??

Unpack, wash clothes  – at least for those staying longer?? – Or start touring… walk to St Stephens Basilica and Great Synagogue

Kasca Restaurant – Hungarian food (recommended by Agnes, an Airbnb host)
Walk (weather permitting) is a little under a mile and along the river – will be beautiful at night – bring your cameras! – 20 min walk north of apartment (less than a mile) – Gypsy music starting at 7.

Schedule depends on what we saw on quick walking tour with BackRoads the day before.  Possibly move up St Stephens Basilica or Great Synagogue

Sept 21 – BUDA
Buda Castle

Built in the 13th century, the first castle was located on the south spur of Castle Hill to provide protection from attacks by Mongols and Tartars. The current incarnation of Buda Castle (sometimes called the Castle Palace) is a massive 18th-century Neo-Baroque-style structure of more than 200 rooms. These are arranged in a symmetrical layout around the 62-meter-high central dome facing the Danube. The castle was badly damaged in WWII, but much of the exterior has been restored. Although the interior was stripped and destroyed during the war, parts are open to the public, and these contain its museums and galleries: the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum, and the Széchenyi National Library.

Outside the castle walls, a number of Turkish tombstones can still be seen, while in front of the domed building, facing the Danube, stands a bronze equestrian statue representing Prince Eugene of Savoy, a hero for having opposed the Turks. This entire historic landmark is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

History Museum/Art Gallery – 2 hours for grounds/views/gardens
more for museums
Matthias Church – Matyas Templom – 1 hour

A prominent sight in Budapest, Matthias Church (also known as The Church of Our Lady) was completed in 1269. Reflecting a distinctly Baroque style, this Catholic Church served as a mosque during the Turkish reign. Its side aisles were extended and given polygonal ends in the 14th century, when the magnificent south doorway with its relief depicting the Death of Mary was added. In 1309, Charles Robert of Anjou was crowned King Charles I of Hungary here. Under King Matthias, after whom the church is named, side-chapels were added, together with an oratory for the royal family and a new south tower bearing the arms of Matthias Corvinus, dated 1470. In 1867, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and his consort Elisabeth were crowned rulers of Hungary here (Franz Liszt composed the famous coronation mass for the occasion). Point of interest – Franz Liszt would be known as Liszt Ferenc, they use last name first.

Fisherman’s Bastion – 2 hours

Behind the Matthias Church, at the exact spot where the local fishermen’s guild built their defense installations in the Middle Ages, is the spectacular Fisherman’s Bastion. Built between 1895 and 1902, its seven towers, colonnades, and embrasures were designed in Neo-Romanesque style by Frigyes Schulek. From here, you’ll find some of the best views over the city and the Danube. In the north courtyard of the bastion stand two statues of the monks Julianus and Gellért (Károly Antal, 1937), while in the south courtyard stands a bronze equestrian statue of St. Stephen (Szent István), the first King of Hungary (A. Stróbl, 1906). The plinth includes four lions, and the reliefs on the sides depict scenes from Stephen’s life.

Chain Bridge

and at night

Wine Tasting – Faust Wine Cellar, Buda Castle (also recommended by Agnes from Airbnb)

Sept 22 – PEST
Old & New Budapest (Pest)

Liberty Square and Liberty Bridge – 1 hour

The new monument dedicated to the victims of the German occupation of Hungary during WW II

The new monument dedicated to the victims of the German occupation of Hungary during WW II is seen at Szabadsag (Liberty) square in downtown Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, July 20, 2014. In the middle of the night and guarded by police, workers have set up the main elements of the disputed memorial to the 1944 occupation of Hungary by Nazi Germany. The memorial meant to commemorate all victims of the German invasion, which also resulted in the deportation of over 430,000 Hungarian Jews to death camps like Auschwitz, has been widely criticized by Jewish groups and others, mainly because it is seen as an effort to downplay Hungarians’ role in the Holocaust. (AP Photo/MTI, Noemi Bruzak)

Liberty bridge offers many chances for beautiful photo ops!


Central Market (AKA Great Market Hall) if not on 20th

Hungarian National Museum?  – 2 hours



Best Sunset watching spots –

Includes Pest Quay, Fisherman’s Bastion, Elizabeth Tower on Janos Hill, Urania Observatory on Gellert Mountain, Liberty Bridge, Aria Hotel’s High Note SkyBar,

Best places for Live Music in Budapest –

Aszú étterem – good Hungarian Food, (wild boar) – on Pest Side near St Stephens Basilica – live music (classic?)
Sas u. 4.  1051
Jedermann Cafe – good food, live jazz
Ráday u. 58 – Pest side further south
St Stephens – Classic concerts – but website not updated for a year…


Sept 23 – Bill and Kathy to airport.

Transportation to the airport
Through our host or

Blue Danube – 2017 – Prague Suggested schedule

Sept 8 Friday

Arrive around 2-3PM, Cab to AirBnb – get one at airport if controlled or  – I have app

Check into Airbnb, shopping in the market for food?, go for a walk to stay awake.

Dinner –

or go for “tea” – (4 minute walk from our apartment)
Henry James once said:

„There are only a few hours in life that are more pleasant than those devoted to the period of “Tea at Five” ritual.“
Enjoy the best quality of mixed black teas, sandwiches, classic pastry and desserts, always from 16 to 18:00 at
Cafe Louvre
Národni 22, Prague famous people ate here frequently – Kafka, Einstein, well known writers use it as office and meeting place.

Early to bed? Or visit a pub?

Sept 9 (Saturday)

Breakfast at apartment?
say eat about 7:00 (we will wake up early) and most restaurants open later
Or Cafe Louvre if we didn’t do it last night – or go again 🙂

Stare Mesto –The Old Town, this is the medieval settlement of Prague, settled in the early 9th century and expanded in the 14th century. Home to many famous sites like the Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock, and Synagogue.

Astronomical Clock – try for 8:00 or 9:00, if too late, skip until later.

Old Town Walk – Rick Steves

Town Hall and tour of tower

and behind, Kostel Panny Marie Pred Tynem – Tyn Cathedral

Brews and Views at 12:30 for 3.5 hours (to 4 PM) 65 Euro, prepaid

Prague Beer Tour Meeting Point
Letenské sady 341
Prague 7

one mile – 20 minute walk OR take tram

(Letna Park is a large area on the opposite side of the river, easily accessible by public transport (or by foot). Take tram 8 from Florenc to Sparta (opposite the football stadiom). Once in the park keep an eye open for signs towards the large metronome (Stroj času na Letné) – and don’t forget to have a refreshment in the Beer Garden with cheap drinks and snacks and wonderful views over Prague)

Our guide will be awaiting you by the kiosk in Letna Beer garden, in front of Letna Chateau, park. The meeting point is a five minute walk from tram stop Letenske Namesti (lines 1, 8, 12, 25, 26)

Craft Beer & Food Tasting Tour

Probably just walk back and relax for the evening – maybe go out later for a late, light meal/dessert and take night pictures along the river – or bed and leave pictures for tomorrow.

Prague bridges at night.

Sept 10 Sunday

Breakfast (opens 9AM) or lunch at Cafe Savoy – 5 Vítězná Prague

Mala Strana – Little Quarter, and any of the old town we missed on the 9th

Visit Popelka Hotel
Na Popelce 215/12, Prague 150 00, Czech Republic

The “U Zvonu” tram stop is 200 m from the hotel (about 5 minutes).

The Anděl metro station is only 10 minutes away.



Possibly tour of Czech Beer Museum (near our Apartment)

Sept 11 Monday – up early and get to Cathedral when it opens at 9
3 hours at least for this

Hradcany – Prague Castle and cathedral – other side of river up to Castle district


Sept 12

Josefov – synagogues
The Jewish Quarter in Prague, known as Josefov, is located between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River. Its torrid history dates from the 13th century, when Jewish people were ordered to vacate their disparate homes and settle in one area.

Over the centuries, with Jews banned from living anywhere else in Prague, and with new arrivals expelled from Moravia, Germany, Austria and Spain joining them, more and more people were crowded in.

To add to this, inhabitants of the Jewish Quarter, or the Prague Jewish Ghetto as it also became known, were forced to endure structural changes. The latest occurred between 1893-1913, when a number of buildings were flattened, and the layout of many streets remodelled.

Fortunately, most of the significant historical buildings were saved from destruction, and today they remain a testimony to the history of the Jews in Prague. They form the best preserved complex of historical Jewish monuments in the whole of Europe.

The Jewish Quarter has six synagogues, including the Spanish Synagogue and Old-New Synagogue, the Jewish Ceremonial Hall, and the Old Jewish Cemetery, the most remarkable of its kind in Europe.

The monuments even survived the Nazi occupation in the 20th century. Adolf Hitler himself decided to preserve the Jewish Quarter as a “Museum of an Extinct Race”.

Indeed the Nazis gathered Jewish artefacts from other occupied countries, transporting them to Prague to form part of the museum.

Today, these historical monuments, all except the Old-New Synagogue, form what is called the Jewish Museum in Prague.

Visitors can gain entry to the museum monuments by purchasing a ticket or by taking a Jewish Quarter Walking Tour (a guided tour with the entry ticket included).

The Old-New Synagogue requires a separate ticket. Built in the 13th century in early Gothic style, it is the oldest preserved synagogue in Central Europe, and is the main house of prayer for the Jewish community in the present day (if you take the walking tour and wish to visit this synagogue too, your guide will arrange the ticket for you. Just ask them on the day).

Interestingly, the Jewish Quarter is also the birthplace of the celebrated writer Franz Kafka, who is commemorated with a statue on Dusni Street.

Anything we missed earlier.

Move to Hilton – see area around Hilton

KRCMA – Kostechna 925/4 | Stare Mesto, Prague

Or so many other good restaurants on Yelp/Trip Advisor

Blue Danube – 2017 – Budapest Info

The only official currency in Hungary is the Forint. Euros, or even Dollars or Sterling may be accepted by some tourist businesses, but very seldom at a reasonable exchange rate. Credit cards are commonly but not universally accepted. Exchange rate Feb 2017 – 1 HUF = .00349 US$

Budapest is pronounced “Buda-pesht”. Left side of the Danube (West) is Buda and right side is Pest.  A little like Mpls/St Paul.

Apartment is on the Buda side.

Apartment address

Dísz tér 8 23-24
Budapest 1014

This consists of two apartments with doors right next to each other. One with one bedroom and sleeping room in the living room. The other has two bedrooms and one bed in the living room.  I plan on the bigger one for Bill and me, Kevin and Judy and Tim. Smaller one for Vanderwalls, Mike and Marcia. We have to vacate the smaller one on the last day so figure probably easiest to put the ones staying less time in the smaller one. But it can be rearranged too once we see it and which one has better sleeping in the living room for two people.

This is the best I could do without either getting two rentals further apart or one bigger one that had dorm like rooms with 4-5 beds in each room and cost more.

Because we had to rent a larger one to accommodate all nine of us, I am just splitting the cost by nine. So $220/person for their stay.


Blue Danube – 2017 – Prague sights

Stare Mesto –The Old Town, this is the medieval settlement of Prague, settled in the early 9th century and expanded in the 14th century. Home to many famous sites like the Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock, and Synagogue.

Mala Strana –The “Little Quarter”and is touted as second only to the Old Town. The neighborhood is situated on the left bank of the River Vltava, and below Prague Castle, across Charles Bridge from the Old Town. Originally called “New Town beneath Prague Castle” in the 13th century, until it was renamed in the 17th century.

Josefov –Called the “Jewish Quarters” and it is the smallest area within Prague, completely surrounded by the Old Town. Known for the narrow streets, where you will find sights such as Kafka’s birthplace, the Old Jewish Cemetery, and several Synagogues you may visit.

 Nove Mesto –Literal meaning: “New Town” but still considered as part of the historic center of Prague. Founded by Charles IV as an extension from the Old Town. Here you’ll find Wenceslas Square and the New Town Hall.


Blue Danube – 2017 – Prague Info

The currency in Prague is the Czech Crown (czk). Czechbanknotes are issued in the following denominations: 100/200/500/1000/2000/5000. Some hotels, shops and restaurants accept Euros as well, but many only take Czech Crowns. Exchange rate 2/2017 – 1CZK=.0409 US$

Getting to Prague

From the airport – 20 min to Old Town by taxi or 45 min by public transportation

If coming by train – main station is Praha Hlavní Nádraží, there are two other stations too.

Taxis in Prague may overcharge or otherwise be a bad experience – use a “real” taxi, not one that solicited you on the street. One is – download their app to call a taxi.


AirBnB – Jan’s Duplex by the old Town Square – Sept 8 through 12 (maybe 13th)
About $100/night/couple for all 4 nights
1 Vejvodova
Prague, Prague 110 00
Czech Republic

Hilton Old Town Prague. – Sept 12