Vienna & Budapest Itinerary

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Here is the most recent version of the itinerary for the trip I’m taking to Vienna and Budapest with ARZA World Travel.

Day One:

DEPARTURE

• Depart the U.S.A. Overnight: Flight

Day Two:

ARRIVAL IN VIENNA

  • Arrive at Vienna International Airport.
  • Transfer on own to the hotel.
  • Check into the hotel. (Official hotel check-in is from 3:00 p.m., if your rooms are not ready upon arrival you can leave your luggage with the concierge.)
  • 2:00 p.m. Meet your guide, Ms. Siggy Massenbauer, and ARZA World staff in the hotel’s Salon Bach for an orientation to the program.
  • Depart for a panoramic tour along the Ringstrasse, the main avenue circling the city center, for a view ofthe city’s main landmarks, including:
    •  The ancient Hofberg Palace. This grand complex of a Capella and castles was once the seat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
    •  Prater Amusement Park. This 120-year-old park contains old and new attractions for all ages.
    •  The impressive architecture of the UN Buildings, which are the 3rd built after New York and Geneva.
    •  St. Peter’s Cathedral, the oldest church in Vienna
    •  View St. Stephen’s Cathedral (also known as Stephansdom), one of the city’s most iconic symbols, located in the city’s geographic center.
  • Visit the collection of Klimt paintings at the Belvedere Palace, an impressive baroque-style building which holds a remarkable collection of Austrian and International art.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Europe in Transition and Austria’s Position: A Look Towards the Future – Welcome dinner and orientation dialogue with a local journalist. Overnight: Intercontinental, Vienna

Day Three:

THE AUSTRIAN EMPIRE & THE JEWISH COMMUNITY

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 9:00 a.m. Depart the hotel.
  • 9:30 a.m. Visit the Vienna Temple (Stadtempel), the only surviving synagogue from pre-WWII days. This nearly 200-year-old building has restored its extravagant design and is still an active synagogue and community center. Dialogue with Rabbi Hofmeister, the community Rabbi of the Jewish Community in Vienna.
  • Stroll through the Judenplatz, the main square of the Jewish community for nearly 500 years.
  • 10:45 a.m. Visit the Jewish Museum of Vienna to see remnants of the oldest synagogue in Vienna.
  • Stop at the Memorial to Austrian Holocaust Victims. Learn about its unique story of its excavations and the miraculous findings of the ancient synagogue of Vienna.
  • 11:30 a.m. Visit the second part of the Jewish Museum, located in Palais Eskeles, which offers a modern presentation of the history of Viennese Jewry, including artifacts dating from the Middle Ages, a 38,000 book archive, and rotating exhibitions. Welcome and introductory remarks by Dr. Danielle Spera, Director of the Jewish Museum.
  • Enjoy the best of Vienna’s delights, while strolling through the Naschmarket, the city’s most popular food market.
  • Lunch on your own at the Naschmarket.
  • 3:00 p.m. Meet with Mr. Eugene Young, the U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires.
  • 5:00 p.m. Building a Community Dialogue with leaders of Or Chadasch, Austria’s only Progressive congregation.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure.
  • Overnight: Intercontinental, Vienna

Day Four:

INTRODUCTION TO HUNGARY

  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • 8:00 a.m. Depart the hotel.
  • Drive east along the Danube River to Budapest.
  • Meet your guide, Ms. Juli Lengyel.
  • Ascend Castle Hill – where among other historical sites, stands the first royal castle of the city. Enjoy the panoramic views of Budapest from the top of the Fisherman’s Bastion, which commemorates the Fishermen who were guarding the city.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Take a panoramic bus tour along Andrassy Avenue and visit Heroes’ Square, one of Budapest’s landmarks. Relive the 1,000 years of Hungarian history through the square’s impressive statues of kings and leaders.
  • 4:00 p.m. Visit the Joint Distribution Committee’s Balint House, the JCC of Budapest, and meet with representatives of the local Jewish community representing different social and political agendas.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Dinner on your own.
  • 9:00 p.m. Experience the fabulous night life that Budapest has to offer though a special pub crawl through the Jewish Quarter with its restored and renovated warehouses, better known as the Ruin Pubs, transformed into fashionable bars and Bistros. Good food, live music and dance club options are spread throughout the neighborhood.
  • Overnight: Intercontinental, Budapest

Day Five:

JEWISH LIFE IN BUDAPEST

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 8:00 a.m. Dialogue with political analyst Gabor Gyori, a Senior Analyst at the Hungarian think tank Policy Solutions, on socio-economic and political trends across Europe, Hungary’s place within Europe, anti-Semitism and the implications for the Jews of Hungary.
  • Meet your guide, Ms. Agi Antal, and depart the hotel.
  • Explore the story of Jewish Budapest over the past 150 years, including visits to:
    •  The largest synagogue in Europe, the Dohany Street Synagogue. Built in 1859, the synagogue holds 3,000 seats and is home to one of the Neolog communities of Budapest.
    •  The Jewish Museum, which is housed on the site of Theodor Herzl’s family home. This museum holds a unique collection of Jewish artifacts, art and memorabilia, which shed a new light on the rich Jewish life and predominant Jewish community of Hungary, its influence on Hungarian society and its long-lasting memory.
    •  The complex courtyard, where the Community Holocaust Memorial stands. This impressive monument commemorates over 500,000 Hungarian Jews who perished in the Holocaust.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • 3:00 p.m. Learn about the Holocaust of the Hungarian Jews at the Holocaust Memorial Center. Walk back in time through rare footage, artifacts and documents, in this center, focusing on the life before, during and after the Holocaust of the Hungarian Jews. This modern building organically links into the impressive newly renovated Páva Street Synagogue, which was once the second largest site for Jewish worship in Budapest.
  • Return to the hotel with free time to prepare for Shabbat.
  • Kabbalat Shabbat services at a local synagogue.
  • 7:30 p.m. Hotel inspection at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
  • 8:00 p.m. An inside look into Hungary’s Jewish community and major trends affecting Jewish life:  Shabbat dinner and dialogue with Professor Michael Miller, Associate Professor of the Nationalism Studies Program at the Central European University.
  • Overnight: Intercontinental, Budapest

Day Six:

SHABBAT IN BUDAPEST

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Optional Shabbat services at a local synagogue OR…

• 9:00 a.m. Optional Walking tour to explore Margaret Island, an island in the middle of the Danube River. The island features romantic walkways, medieval ruins, a small zoo, musical fountain, a water tower and more.

• Optional Morning at leisure to explore Budapest on your own with the opportunity to:

  •  Stroll along the fashionable Vaci Utca (Vaci Street), enjoy people watching and feel the vibe withits many local boutiques, shops and cafes.
  •  Visit Budapest’s urban City Park (Varosliget). Walk on the grounds of the Vajdahunyad Castle,the 120-year-old castle showcasing the architectural evolution through centuries and styles in Hungary. Stroll through the City Park Lake, which is great for rowing in summer and ice skating in winter, and spend some entertaining time in the Budapest Circus or the 100-year-old Municipal Zoo.
  •  Visit the Széchenyi Bathhouse or Gellert Bathhouse, known for their healing waters. Inside and on the grounds of these beautiful palace compounds, you can enjoy various styles of indoor and outdoor medicinal and natural pools.
  •  Shop with the locals at the Great Market Hall. This 3-level indoor complex includes vendors of local seasonal produce, spices and handcrafted gifts.
  •  Enjoy a cruise on the Danube River to see Budapest’s major landmarks in a different light.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • 2:00 p.m. Meet Agi in the hotel lobby and take a guided walk through downtown Budapest, including Liberty Square, with its controversial WWII monument, Hungary’s tribute to the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and a view of the Hungarian Parliament building.
  • Stop at the Shoes on the Danube Promenade, a memorial created by Gyula Pauer and Can Togay on the West side of the Danube, honoring the Jews killed by the fascist Arrow Cross militants during World War II; the memorial represents the shoes left behind on the river bank as they fell into the river after being shot.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • 6:00 p.m. Ben Kodesh Lechol: Havdallah program and discussion with young Hungarian Jewish leaders. Can Anti-Semitism and Jewish renewal work together? What’s your vision of Jewish life for the next generation?
  • 8:00 p.m. Hotel inspection at the Zara Continental Hotel.
  • 8:30 p.m. Farewell dinner and group wrap-up conversation at the Zara Continental Hotel.
  • Overnight: Intercontinental, Budapest

Day Seven:

RETURN TO THE USA

  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • Transfer on own to Budapest International Airport.
  • Departure flight to the U.S.A., arriving the same day.
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