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Danube Bend

We're interested in the Danube Bend. We understand that the Danube Bend is a curl of the Danube river does as it gests out of Budapest. Anybody knows exactly what involves? According to Rick is a visit to the villages located in the Danube Bend, but we don't know details. We'll appreciate any input in this respect. Thank You
John

Posted by
34 posts

Looking more for the actual experience! Thanks

Posted by
12327 posts

Okay John, personal experience. The only time we have done the entire Bend is with a private guide and a car. Even with all that efficiency it's a full, full, full day. In my opinion too full to really appreciate. We have gone back on several occasions and done the first city, Szentendre. Szentendre has a great barouque central district full of very pleasant shops and hand crafts. It's just a pretty town and you can easily spend half a day there. Take the M2 Metro line to Batthyány tér metro stop in Buda. You just crossed under the Danube River so you are deep, deep, deep; so the first step is the steep, steep, steep escalator up. At the top is a ticket window. I've bought metro tickets there but I can remember if that is the same window I bought the HEV (commuter train) tickets. Pretty sure yes. If not just keep your eyes open as you follow the HEV signs to the commuter train rails (and there are ticket machines if you want to try and navigate them). Also, if you have a Travel Card make sure you show it as part of the HEV ride is covered by the Card. The train leaves about every 20 to 30 minutes so what time you arrive really doesn't matter much. Once on the commuter train it's about a 30 minute trip to Szentendre. From the train station in Szentendre walk north and take every right until you reach Fo ter. Returning to Budapest before October and after March is really, really great. Right outside of Fo ter on the Danube there is a River Taxi that will take you back to Budapest in about 50 minutes. Entering Budapest by the water is pretty special. The boat leaves Szentendre at 5 pm http://www.mahartpassnave.hu/. A ticket is 2,000 forint (less than $10) This is an excellent half day trip. Leave after lunch and be back by 6pm.

Posted by
12327 posts

The full tour of Szentendre, Viesgrad and Esztergom can be done on public transportation but I really think it's much for one day. Some day we go back and spend the night at Esztergom. Really lovely town.

Posted by
34 posts

James and George: I probably ask too many silly questions but I'm totally GREEN and first time to Eastern Europe. THANK YOU!!

Posted by
2130 posts

One point about terminology: Only recently has Hungary been considered "eastern" Europe. Historically, it is central Europe. Eastern Europe today is Roumania, Bulgaria, Belorus, parts of Russia (to the Caucus Mountains, Ukraine, and so forth.

Posted by
3696 posts

I have taken a river boat cruise there a couple of times and it was lots of fun. Stopped at a few of the towns, had lunch, shopped and returned to Budapest. It was a nice way to spend a day. The view of Budapest on the return was absolutely beautiful.

Posted by
389 posts

If the Urals are taken as the eastern edge of Europe, then Belarus and the Ukraine are firmly part of Central Europe.

Posted by
868 posts

"CENTRAL EUROPE without much debate includes: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Austria, Switzerland and Germany are either Central or Western Europe depending on which source you use while Slovenia is either Central or South East Europe depending on which source you use. Croatia, Serbia and Romania belong either in Southeastern Europe or Central Europe depending on who you talk to; but oddly enough only show up as Eastern Europe on Cold War spy maps. " -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Europe

Posted by
12327 posts

George, been there, seen that. Guess I am guilty of supporting such things. Another example "was" Krakow a dozen years ago where the Christian population was running Jewish tours complete with Christians playing Jewish music and cooking Jewish food (there were no or at least very few Jews left in Krakow). But as creepy as that was maybe it focused some attention on Krakow because the Jews have been moving back and things apparently are very different now. There are not many communist relics left in Prague or Budapest but you can find them if you look hard. I've also noticed that it has gotten harder to find Russian memorabilia these days. It's always a conflicting emotion. Curiosity vs Reverence vs Some Sort of Romanticism of the past. Everyone is guilty of some sort of insensitivity to one degree or another. The book list elsewhere in forum helps to straighten things out but no one should feel guilty for the curiosity, after all its education and education helps to prevent the repeat of such things. A trip to Eastern/Central Europe can open your eyes about things you never expected. Go learn and draw your own conclusions.

Posted by
12257 posts

"Historically, it (Hungary) is Central Europe." True, specifically East-Central Europe. The rest you named are in Eastern Europe.

Posted by
868 posts

Sorry, but this is a purely American discussion. Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, Austrians or Slovenes don't see themselves as Eastern Europeans. They know that their history didn't start 60 years ago but a millenium earlier. It's not their problem if foreign tourists don't know history.
Just one example: if Americans visit Prague they probably only see a fairytale city which was once behind the Iron Curtain. If Europeans visit Prague they see the capital of both the Holy Roman Empire and of the mightist state of the Holy Roman Empire. So, why should Czechia, the successor of Bohemia which for a millenium was part of the HRE and Austria, be Eastern European, while Austria and Germany, the successor of the HRE, should be Western European? This makes no sense.

Posted by
12257 posts

The above argument by Martin is historically correct. These groups mentioned were part of the Mittelmächte. True, they did not see themselves culturally as part of Eastern Europe but Central Europe. Americans will call them Eastern Europe regardless if they like it or not.

Posted by
11261 posts

John, to take this back to your question, I visited Szentendre and Vac on separate days. Szentendre was interesting and worthwhile, but crowded with tourists. Vac (not in Rick's book; I found out about it from Frommer's Budapest) was lovely, very interesting (wait till you see the mummies they found under the main square during its renovation), and not crowded at all. As a bonus, Budapest to Vac is faster than Budapest to Szentendre (at least, if you don't make my mistake, and take the express along the Danube taking 25 minutes instead of the local inland route taking 90 minutes).

Posted by
12327 posts

Harold is correct I agree Vac is worth the effort, but don't write off Szentendre. It depends on the time of the year. If it were someone's first trip to Budapest in April, May or September I would say Szentendre Most of the Pest to Vac trains take 45 minutes and the Buda to Szentendre train also takes about 45 minutes. In both cases you will have about a 10 to 15 minute walk from the station to the center of the town. For Szentendre you depart the Batthyany ter HEV station in Buda which is a lot easier to navigate and understand than the Nyugati rail station in Pest from which you depart to Vac. AND, you can take the boat back from Szentendre which is a pretty nice trip. Budapest is special when you enter it on the river. In June, July and August the tourism can be pretty thick in Szentendre. The town center is pretty small and Szentendre attracts a lot of Hungarian weekenders as well; so Vac might be a better choice. I haven't been to either in the dead of winter but my guess is that Vac might be a little more interesting under the snow. Finally I would recommend either one unless you are staying in Budapest more than 3 FULL days or you will miss to much of Budapest.

Posted by
34 posts

Even though I enjoyed this Postdamstyle exchange about the partition of Europe, I'd like to acknowledge the help, so far, from Fred, James, Terry Kathryn and Harold regarding my question about the Danube Bend.;)

Posted by
12257 posts

@ John...you're welcome. Your question focused on the Danube Bend. There is also the Vistula Bend.