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Published: February 23rd 2019
7-22-18 Sunday, Budapest (day 2). The boat was docked very near the Hungarian Parliament Building so Simon and I walked over for the guided tour we'd booked. It is Neo-Gothic, very grand, long hallways with arched ceilings lined with arched stained glass windows, an enormous hall with ceiling murals and a double stairway. The most fabulous hall, under the major dome featured much historical statuary but was unfortunately off limits for photography. As we were leaving there was a changing of the guard with 5 men in grey-green uniforms and swords overseen by a soldier in a brown uniform creepily reminiscent of the Nazis. In the afternoon we took the subway to City Park and visited the fabulous Széchenyi Thermal Baths. The beautiful Neo-classic building surrounds a huge exterior courtyard with large pools of different temperatures and statuary. Indoors is a variety of steam rooms, saunas, cold plunges, showers and bathing pools, some with vaulted ceilings. Simon said that his visit there was his favorite part of the trip. We spent a few hours there sampling the water options. The park also has a zoo, botanical garden, an ice rink and boathouse on a lake, Vajdahunyad Castle, and the Millennium Monument,
a curved colonnade with equestrian statuary on an enormous grand plaza. Two Neo-classic art museums face each other on either side of the plaza. Unfortunately there was no time to explore them. After dark we sailed along the Danube to view the city lights. We didn't sail until the next morning so got a final thrilling view of the city from the river. As much as I enjoyed our visit to Budapest, when I look at the photos I feel troubled knowing that the country is becoming authoritarian and xenophobic.
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