East Euro 2012
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                                                 Weather:   84 - Sunny   City:  Budapest, Hungary   Hotel:  Marriott City Center   
                                                            Transport:  Hop On/Off Bus - Metro - Tram
Events of the Day
Full day of sites and routes are scheduled with Hop on and Hop Off tour bus routes - starting at Astoria Metro stop.  Started on the "yellow route" and followed with the "red route" - Later "blue route" is  on the river.
"The Gem of Europe" is a proper label for Budapest (Buda on the left and hilly bank and Pest on the left flat main city area).  While Prague is a large serving of tourist delight, Budapest is the "real thing" - on the scale of Paris or London.   It was tarnished in the USSR days; however, potential is on every block. Aggressive street-scaping and palace restoration provides glimpses of the "Gem".
From Baroque to Deco and all architectural styles in between are included in Budapest.  There are not enough pictures (or flash drive memories) to gather all the images.  
Sights along the routes included the massive Parliament building directly on the river, the Great Market Hall with endless foods and meats (including multiple types of strudels), and 2 hour hike on Margaret Island located in the middle of the river with several pools that can hold over 22,000.  The hill located citadel (built by the Habsburgs with cannons pointed at the city as an authority "reminder") was another site with excellent views of the Danube river.   A large commemorative statue was constructed at the end of WWII for liberation by USSR (Change in ownership basically); however, the large bronze Russian soldier on the statue was removed after the Communism departure. 
Late lunch, or early light dinner, with an outstanding dessert was at the infamous Cafe Gerbaud - anyone would be impressed with the tapestry type carpets, multi-level chandeliers, and continuous glass counters of decadence.  Five slices of the traditional cakes and pies were escorted back to the hotel.  

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