Thankfully, we seemed to encounter better luck in Vienna, where we arrived after a un-noteworthy train journey. We had selected a boutique hotel recommended by Dad's "Bible," the New York Times, the Ring Hotel, and even though the taxi driver had never heard of it and seemed skeptical that it even existed, we were very happy with it, especially when they gave us a free upgrade to a suite that is supposed to retail for 750 Euros a night. It was utterly posh -- three kinds of soap in the bathroom, two plasma TVs (one for the bedroom and one for the living room, two closets, a position on a corner such that there were windows on two sides, and lovely, modern furnishings in wenge. The only problem was the traditional separation of the toilet from the rest of the bathroom -- it's actual location was initially unclear (that speaks again to the size of the room), and Dad was starting to fear that we didn't have one. We managed to locate it eventually, and after a tasty supper at a nearby restaurant recommended by the concierge, we settled in for a most pleasant stay in Vienna.
Continental Drifters - Day Four
Today saw us equally as thwarted in our touristic efforts as yesterday, as our best-laid plans to visit the Hungarian Parliament were put to waste by a closure on account of official state business.
The Hungarian Parliament, which was clearly not in the cards for us.
A quick appraisal of the situation led us to head out to Hero's Square, one of the top sites in Budapest, and which had been cut from our agenda due to time constraints. Much as we would like, we simply cannot see everything. The square was quite stately, and was full of typically expressive Hungarian statuary featuring former kings and mythical warriors from Hungarian history.
The base of the main sculpture features equestrian statues of the seven principle Magyar (ethnic Hungarian) warriors who led their people into the territory that would eventual become Hungary during the 10th century.
We also checked out the nearby Vajdahunyad Castle, a baroque structure (of course) that had caught Dad's eye on the way back from the baths the day before. Mostly, we tried to find someone to take one last photo of the two of us in Budapest, but with the bright sunlight shining from an unfavorable angle, we were largely unsuccessful in that enterprise as well.
Vajdahunyad Castle, a faux castle designed in a late 19th century swell of Hungarian national pride, intended to showcase the evolution of architectural styles during the country's history.
This was the best we could do, squinty faces and kind of blurry, but at least part of the statue is in the picture, unlike the attempts made by other tourists on our behalf.