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Adventure Log: Into the heart of Budapest’s government and culture on Crystal River Cruises

Buda Castle

Budapest, the capital of the Republic of Hungary, has been reinventing itself since the time of the Romans, through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and emerged in modern times following the two World Wars and later revolutions as a parliamentary republic. When sailing aboard Crystal Mozart’s voyages along the Danube River, it might also emerge as one of your favorite destinations. The city boasts an inescapable blend of its millennia-long history,owing to the countless occupations and territorial influences it has endured.

The grand halls inside Budapest's Parliament Building
The grand halls inside Budapest’s Parliament Building

Today, Budapest’s strength and pride is evident in the many homages you’ll find while exploring the city, which is easy to do on foot. One of the several complimentary Crystal Adventures offered with the 10- and 11-day sailings takes you even further into the storied past that makes up modern Budapest, notably, the heart of the city’s government and policy, as well as that of the daily life of its citizens.

Both the Budapest Parliament Building and the Great Market Hall boast neogothic architecture common to the late 19th century. But that’s where the similarities end.

The seat of Hungarian Parliament in Budapest
The seat of Hungarian Parliament in Budapest

Your first stop on this exploration takes you into the halls of the Hungarian government, where 386 representatives on the National Assembly have been elected by what many call the most complicated election process in Europe. The House of Lords, as well as memorials to great leaders will shed more light on Budapest’s story, while the Hungarian Crown Jewels tell a story all their own. The priceless gems have been lost or stolen numerous times throughout history, even spending some time in the United States Bullion Depository for safe keeping during the Cold War.

A decidedly less official stop on your adventure through Budapest is no less integral to the city’s daily way of life. The Grand Market Hall is Europe’s largest and oldest indoor market and is constantly buzzing with residents and visitors. Three massive floors of the roughly 120-year-old marketplace sell everything a patron could imagine, and then some, from spices, meats and pastries on the ground floor, to pickled…everything.

Great Market Hall merchants sell fresh fruit and other produce, along with everything else you can imagine
Great Market Hall merchants sell fresh fruit and other produce, along with everything else you can imagine

While the market’s function is routine, its sheer size and extraordinary design betray why it remains one of the city’s top attractions. While you’ll leave the grand Parliament Building with greater understanding of the political and governmental landscapes of Hungary, we’re pretty certain you’ll leave the Great Market Hall with an appetite satisfied by delicious local delicacies.

Crystal Mozart is set to sail this July along the Danube, which flows through some of the oldest and most storied destinations in Europe – Austria, Germany, Slovakia, and Hungary. While collectively, these locales tell the stories of centuries of landmarks, peoples, wars, innovations and beauty, each boasts a character and robust history all its own. The modern cultures in each are also distinctly exceptional, which makes for a fascinating opportunity to immerse yourself in the old and new world cultures along your journey.

Book now for added value and savings through June 30.

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