Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 3: Fisherman's Bastion & Concert

After visiting Heroes' Square and St. Stephen's Basilica, we drove across the Danube to Buda and uuup the hill on which the castle sits. There we climbed the Fisherman's Bastion (left). The name comes from the Middle Ages, when that guild was responsible for defending that part of town, but the building (really mostly a facade) dates to the turn of the last century. Its seven towers represent the seven original Magyar tribes, and a statue of King/St. Stephen on a horse stands in the square between it and Matthias Church,which was used as a mosque when the Ottomans were in charge and was under renovation when we were there. There's a restaurant on the first floor, and the ramparts above are a popular vista point with tourists.

Across the river you can see the Parliament building (right). Constructed in a frilly, Gothic Revival style, it was the winner of a design contest, inaugurated the same time as Heroes' Square (1896), and completed in 1904. They liked the two runners-up so much, they built them, too (facing Lajos Kossuth Square on the other side). This is the largest building in Hungary and the second-largest Parliament building in Europe, after London's. Today it is rather out-sized for the single-chamber legislature, which only uses half the building.

Despite all that sightseeing, can you imagine that this day was only half over? Dear Husband and I ate a quick lunch before setting off on our own for a hour or two at the Gellert Spa. We had to meet the group at a nearby restaurant for an early dinner, because this evening they rehearsed and gave their first scheduled concert, in St. Matthew's Church back in Pest. DH accompanied them and played a few organ pieces; I organized his sheet music and turned pages. As you can see below, the venue was really beautiful. The concert was, too. I had several "musical moments," and I know the audience did as well, because they were very receptive and appreciative.

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