BY JANET STEINBERG
“I would not eat the soup of life with a fork; I would continue to use a big ladle.”
George Lang, Holocaust Survivor/Restaurateur
TIME: 11 PM. PLACE: The Danube River. COUNTRY: Hungary.
As we glided down the Danube on our approach to Budapest, all passengers rushed to the upper deck of the river boat that had been our floating hotel for the past week. The cruise staff had forewarned us not to miss the sight of this city that would be our on-shore home for the last three days of our Danube River tour.
As we approached the final stretch, a breathtaking sight appeared before our eyes. The city of Budapest, gracing both sides of the Danube River, was ablaze with thousands of lights. Lights outlining the regal bridges; lights outlining the Neoclassical buildings; lights outlining the grand monuments. Budapest (pronounced Budapesht) was a veritable fairyland. A fantasy that Walt Disney might have conjured up.
With morning came reality. Here we were, one-fourth of the way around the world, in an exotic, mysterious city that had been devastated in WWII and inaccessibly cloistered behind an Iron Curtain in the last half of the 20th century. Here we were, watching history being made in a city that was, once again, being rebuilt and reinvented by its proud people.
The city we know as Budapest was once three cities existing side by side. Obuda, with Celtic and Roman ruins, is the oldest section; Buda is the home of Castle Hill and the finest residential areas; and Pest is the seat of the bustling government and commercial areas.
|PEST FROM THE BUDA SIDE|