Because of the distance between Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria, the boat was scheduled to move during the morning’s tour of Buda. We rode a passenger bus on a road alongside the Danube to a city called Esztergom in the northern part of Hungary.
On the other side of the Danube is Slovakia. Anita was still with us and pointed out a border crossing. She said that border checks aren’t performed anymore and when they were part of Czechoslovakia, it was not uncommon to wait 5 hours before being able to cross.
Because I didn’t read our daily itinerary, I didn’t know that we weren’t spending any time in Esztergom. We quickly boarded our ship and departed west. I was slightly disappointed because I recently learned that Esztergom was the first capital of Hungary. It was also the birthplace of Saint Stephen of Hungary.
The Gabčíkovo–Nagymaros Waterworks is a large barrage project on the Danube. It was initiated by the Budapest Treaty of 16 September 1977 between the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the People’s Republic of Hungary. The project aimed at preventing catastrophic floods, improving river navigability and producing clean electricity.
This barrage contains the only lock on the Danube River between Vienna and Budapest. The difference in elevation is 20 m (65 feet) and it produces 8% of Slovakia’s electricity.
Our cruise director mentioned that if we stay up late, we would be able to see the ship travel through a river lock. Since I haven’t experienced that before, I drank a couple cups of black coffee and braved the cold weather.