Visegrád

IMG_3317The Danube enters Hungary from Austria and bends and turns south towards Budapest. There are some little towns at the bend, which have a lot of historical interest.  One is Visegrád.  We had a free Saturday, July 13, 2013, and we and the Carpenters decided to check this town out.  Fortunately for us, that weekend happened to be a once a year, Royal Palace Festival, which celebrates the “golden age of Visegrad,” with participants in all kinds of medieval style clothing.  We originally thought of traveling there by train, bus and ferry but the Carpenters helped us decide that getting there by car would be easier!

IMG_3283From the parking lot we could see the Upper Castle. Visegrád means high fortress and was first referred to in latin documents in 1009. The Mongols destroyed the first fortress during their raids in 1241-42.  After they left Hungary King Béla IV (1235-1270) built the current fortress.  The Turks put an end to Visegrád’s heyday in 1543 when most of the 350-room palace and the town were destroyed.  The town started to flourish again after the Compromise between Hungary and Austria in 1867.   (LOTS of history here…)

As we arrived a parade was going on…. not your usual parade…

IMG_3284IMG_3285IMG_3286IMG_3292IMG_3293IMG_3299IMG_3303Visegrad Parade 5Visegrad Parade 10Visegrad Parade 9Visegrad Parade 8These last four photos came from Sister Heath.  The Heaths and the Wiggins went to the Festival on Friday, the day before we did…

It appears to me that there are people all over Hungary who participate in these kinds of events.  I base that conclusion on the fact that there were camping areas set apart for participants.  Just like we have Civil war reenactors, Hungary (and maybe other countries) have their own historical reenactors.  Very cool – and we saw children dressed and participating with their parent reenactors.

IMG_3312Of course, there is the typical yellow Church at the town center.  If you look carefully, up on the hill, right above the yellow-orange house peak, you can see the upper castle.  As the parade ended, we followed the crowds to the left of the church – down the main street for a while.  (Main street = Fo Utca)  As we walked I took pictures of some of the parade participants who were walking back.

IMG_3319IMG_3329IMG_3334As you can also see, there were all kinds of booths set up lining both sides of the street.  The entrepreneurs sell their wares all across Hungary at similar events.  However, we saw some new items that interested us.  Like these pots and tripods!!!  (We are not your typical tourists, that is obvious.  Not into doo-dads but anything that can be used for preparedness does catch our eye!)

IMG_3324We will see one of these pots again in our next posting – in action…

After about an hour, we realized that we needed to hustle if we wanted to get up to the upper castle.  We wanted to walk up there – a 45 minute walk, we were told.  Soooo off we went.  We used the small tourist map (like the first image on this posting) to get us to some steps that we assumed would take us there.

IMG_3338IMG_3341The steps kept going up for quite a ways.  From this point you can see the Danube and across the Danube – which is still in Pest County, Hungary at this point.  On other points on the Danube you can see across to Slovakia.

IMG_3387Here is a little farm hidden away on the other side of the mountain.

The steps eventually gave way to a path; sometimes it was obvious it was a run-off during the spring time…  But it was continually up all the way!  Boy, am I glad Sister Smith asked me to walk with her 3 times a week….

IMG_3388Sweet little church along the way.  It had what I would call “stations of the cross” signs along the path until you got to the church.  One is on the right in this picture.

IMG_3394We finally got to the castle in about 50 minutes…. not bad for 70 year olds!  (Sue is MUCH younger…)

IMG_3344We got a reduced rate because we are retired … nyugdíjas.

IMG_3345Beautiful view of the Danube.

IMG_3346 Another view the other way, overlooking Visegrád.

IMG_3351IMG_3366Some parts are blocked off and not restored… my camera could fit in between the grate.

IMG_3371IMG_3375Beautiful views from the highest points of the castle.  Looking towards the other side of the mountain…

IMG_3368A cute maiden and her daughter decided to take a tour of the castle…

IMG_3376And we close with an aerial view of the castle.  It only took us 30 minutes to walk back down to the town.  We ate our packed lunch and drove up the road to see Esztergom – very briefly looked at the Basilica there (largest in Hungary) and came back home.

800px-Visegrád_Mountain_Fastness_01Very fun day – beautiful weather, in the 70s – one of our favorite places so far!  (We like little towns best.)

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