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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Christmas cruise on the Danube River - Dec 17th....

The Sofitel Hotel offered the advantage of being close to where the Amasonata was docked. Check out was 11 am, and check in to the ship was not before 4 pm.  The front desk said that the ship’s docking berth was not far from the hotel.  Since I had a lot of time, I walked towards the dock - this  was about a mile and a half stretch along the Danube on the Pest side where ships dock.  This was about a twenty minute walk - a dark cold morning -  it appeared like it might snow. 

I stopped at the ship and asked if I could check in before 4:00 - they said no but they would accept my bags at any time.  So I walked back to the Sofitel, waited in the hotel lobby until after 11:30, and then walked back and arrived at the ship before noon. After a light lunch at the ship (including two cappuccino), I walked to the famous Central Market.  It was only a couple of blocks from the ship and was in-doors and out of the cold. 

The Central Market Hall is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest - the building was built in 1897, completely destroyed in WWII, and was restored through the 1990s. Stalls on the ground floor offer produce, meats, pastries, candies, spices and spirits. The Hungarians are very fond of goose liver, which can be purchased at the market as canned or fresh.  They also like pigs’ feet and snouts.  There seems to be more butcher stalls than any other type of business. 

 The upper floor has eateries and souvenirs, such as crystal, porcelain and embroideries.

The meals were outstanding on the ship, and the wines were likewise - unlimited servings of wine with lunch and dinner.  They were the best wines that I have had on any river cruise. For supper tonight, I had the following - Atlantic lobster appetizer, cream of potato soup,  roast prime beef - it was tender and delicious.  The chocolate dessert buffet was amazing; there were so many choices, mostly chocolate.  I had a flan and three levels of chocolate mousse in a large flute glass.

 Photos belong to Phil Bianco

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