Waking up in Budapest, with a view like this out my hotel window, and having a fresh, fluffy hotel robe to get ready in, is a wonderful feeling. I throughly enjoyed waking up early enough to watch the sunrise over the beautiful, European architecture.
Our first stop for the day was at the Great Market Hall. This is one of my favorite places in Budapest. It's bustling and busy and full of so many fun things to see. It is a photographers dream! I didn't take too many photos this year because I covered it so well last year, click HERE to see those pics. Every single one of us found some fun souvenirs to take home. It was fun to watch the boys browse around the different stalls, and it was interesting to see what everyone picked out as their special mementos of Hungary.
This picture confirms it, there are no longer any doubts, my nephews are taller then me. When did this happen??
After a productive (and sweaty, it is HOT in the market!) morning, we headed back to the hotel to meet up with the 100 other people we would be cruising with the next week. Our three friendly tour directors divided us up into different groups and then we were on our way up to the Fisherman's Bastion and Matthias Church. I know I have said this about pretty much everywhere in Budapest, but the Fisherman's Bastion is truly one of my favorite places in this city. It is absolutely gorgeous and so unique, it is unlike anything I have seen during my travels in Europe.
Again, click HERE to see more photos from last year.
There was some sort of air show going on, so we got to watch different models of planes sore above the water and do tricks in the air and below the bridges. It was every guy's dream. The parliament building made for a pretty awesome backdrop to the dips and dives of the planes.
The one and only picture of the whole gang
Then it was time to board our ship! It was all decked out for the 4th of July since we happened to be boarding on the holiday. It was such a fun and festive welcome. We were shown to our rooms and had a little bit of time to relax before the big bon voyage party up on the deck.
After the captains reception, we all headed up to the deck and were served champagne and Blue Danubes (Sprite with blue coloring, the drink of the upper class) and watched as we pushed away from the dock and began our voyage down the beautiful, and scenic Danube river. It was quite the celebration.
We got excellent views of the exquisite parliament building as we sailed by.
Then it was time for the super fancy 6 course welcome dinner in the main dining room. Our drinks server introduced our table of 9 to the European Shirley Temple, ginger ale + orange juice + grenadine. Many European Shirley Temples would be consumed over the course of the next week.
They had a very special presentation for dessert to help all of us American's abroad celebrate our beloved Independence day. It included sparklers and fancy Texas sheet cake decorated as a flag, you really can't get more American then that.
Then we silently sailed off into the sunset, Bratislava bound.