If God ever gives me an opportunity to settle down anywhere else away from home , this place would be it . The drive from Salzburg to Budapest was a long one , but on reaching the city , all the soreness just vanished and we were fresh as a horse . Budapest is basically bifurcated into two parts by the river Danube flowing through the middle of the city and housing the most important centres on either side . The Hilly side is called Buda and the plain, Pest . I can't exactly vouch for its authenticity as I'm giving you the guide's version . Our tour bus led us through the important landmarks of the city and dropped us at the city centre . The Hungarian Forint being weaker than the Rupee , we went on a shopping spree and half of my credit card limit got exhausted there itself at the shopping avenues , but wait the highlight is yet to come . Come evening and we were taken for a river cruise on the Danube , and God it was so beautiful with the sun going down and the lights of the buildings beside the Danube ,shimmering . A trivia , I'd like to mention . Many of us have watched the blockbuster movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam , and we were told that the place is Italy , wrong . The bridge over which the famous scene happens with Aishwarya Rai running to Ajay Devgan is the Széchenyi Chain Bridge . I remember every moment of that cruise where we were sitting on the open top of the cruise with a complimentary glass of wine and enjoyed the serenity and the beauty of the place .Etched in my memories forever .
Eger in Hungary is, yet again, inimitable in itself. Well-known as a wine growing center, its thermal baths and Turkish Minaret reflect the 91 years of Ottoman rule (1596-1687). In around 1000 AD, St. Stephen, first king of Hungary, founded a bishopric in Eger. The town’s religious importance led to the construction of a castle for its protection in 1248, built around a Romanesque cathedral. The castle, famous for repelling the Turks’ attack during the Siege of Eger (1552), is in ruins today. The Romanesque church no longer exists. Instead, the classical 19th Century Eger Basilica in the town center stands grand and towering, surrounded by numerous later churches.
Eastern Europe’s medieval squares continue on to Sopron in Hungary, with its walls and foundations going back to the Roman empire. There is often something particular about a place that lingers on within us, long after we leave it. With Sopron, it was the Benedictine Church for me. Set up by the Franciscan friars in 1280, it has absorbed Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque influences over the centuries, and moved from its original Franciscan order to the current Benedictine one in 1802. It is neither grand nor artistically profound. Yet a sense of continuity hovers over it with serenity …