Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back from Budapest

I could say,  "Running the Roads",  and I'm not sure which would be more fitting.
It was about a two and a half hour trip to Budapest Saturday morning.  We didn't exactly hurry to get out the door,  so I think we arrived there some time in the middle of the afternoon.
I think I try to somehow distance myself from the rigid schedule keeping that one has to endure if travelling by plane.  Barring any traffic considerations,  I've never been one of these,  "let's get up at four and get a good start!"  kind of travellers.  Besides,  we couldn't check into our hotel until 2:00 p.m. anyway.
Since the hotel restaurant was actually OPEN,   we figured we'd have something light to tie ourselves over until dinner time.   Turns out there was no need for dinner,  since the "Caesar salad"  I ordered was huge.  I put "Caesar salad"  in quotation marks,  since well,  it wasn't.   It was good,  but it certainly wasn't any thing remotely like a Caesar salad.  I knew I was taking a bit of a risk when I ordered,  and sometimes the surprise is worse than you expect.  In this case it was better.
 I think that might be the one significant difference between our visit to Budapest compared to say,  going to Rome?  There were no disappointments in the food department.

Dana across the Danube from the Hungarian Parliament

Having gone by car,  and having found a hotel with decent parking,  it was a no brainer to then jump back in the car and head out to tool around Budapest.   Our hotel was on the Buda side,  of Budapest. 
What we didn't know was,  there was some sort of 'ride your bike day' thing happening,  so we did end up sitting in traffic for a fair amount of time.   Funny thing though,  if there's plenty of fuel in the car,  and nobody has any pressing need to be anywhere (like a bathroom?)  then I don't really mind sitting in the car.   Too much.

There was no way we were getting across that river.  There are seven bridges over the Danube,  and we just happened to turn in the direction of those that were being used by this bike riding event.  Some sort of "critical mass"  thing?  I still haven't found anything on the internet to tell me what was going on.  They were having a good time though.
By the time that got sorted out,  and we made our way over to the other side,  some of the shops were starting to close up.  I didn't seem to have any problem finding a parking spot,  and we took a little stroll down one of the pedestrian areas.  "Lonyay Utca"  if you must know.
The rather curious thing was,  Travelling Companion spotted a small shop where she found some little thing to purchase,  and the proprietor not only spoke English, but was from Australia.   I pegged her at being a Kiwi,  but I never seem to be able to tell the difference between the two.  She wasn't too terribly insulted.  
Now this is where we had a bit of luck. She was kind enough to not only directed us to a shop where we could buy a couple bottles of wine,  but was quick to point out that most of the restaurants that would be trying to lure us in as we continued down the street had been "black listed"  by the city council. 
Well,  that's good to know.
They just hadn't gotten around to closing them down.  I wouldn't want to make any assumptions as to the workings of government in any foreign countries,  but when I suggested that perhaps there were some payments being made,  she nodded in agreement.
I had read about some situations where restaurants in certain cities were known for bilking their customers with prices other than those on their menus,  so I was quite content not to experience it first hand.   We simply ordered some more food later that evening when we got back to our rooms.  It so happened we had a nice little balcony,  and the temperature outside was just about perfect.  Besides,  that whole "drinking and driving"  thing is a real non starter for me,  especially in Europe where it's basically zero tolerance.   So if the car is safely back in the stable,  I have no problems cracking open a bottle of wine.   Or two.
Looking back to Buda at the Liberty Bridge.

Sunday... well,  Sunday it rained.   And rained. 
I even broke down and bought an umbrella,  so you know that if I'm willing to part with €6 for yet another umbrella,  I'm not kidding.  I think we have maybe what?  a dozen umbrellas?  Only had one stupid umbrella in the car.  Doesn't exactly work for three people.
Again,  this is where going around by car can be where you can make the best of a less than ideal situation.  When it's overcast,  I do find that I rely quite heavily on the built in map in the navigation system,  so I was quite grateful for that piece of technology.  

Taken from the "castle district"  by Travelling Companion.   She has a unique way of composing a shot.   We were just happy to be out of the rain.

I have to say,  there's something to be said about being a "dumb tourist",  since on each of the two occasions when we went up to this area,  I never did end up paying for parking. The first time on the way out I just followed this one car that I'm sure belonged to someone who worked there,  since he didn't line up to pay like all the other cars and tour buses.   What do I know?
Hey,  they left the barrier up,  and I simply followed him out.   The second time,  (and it was on the same afternoon)  we drove to the same side of the booth,  and Travelling Companion got out to plead our case,  telling the guy that we made a wrong turn.   This was in fact a truthful assertion,  and if he had bothered to check the time stamp,  he would have seen we hadn't been there for very long.  We thought we were somehow going to end up in a different place.  There's more than one way to go up to the "castle district",  and with it being overcast,  and the roads being steep and winding,  we really had no clue where we were going half the time.

I try not to get too carried away with the length of these posts,  so I'll pack it in for now and possibly try and come up with something half-assed interesting to say tomorrow.  Maybe we'll have a go at the currency?

Keep it between the ditches.



  1. Thx for the great photos from Budapest. ..... Gunnar

  2. You're welcome. And there's more where that came from, but it's usually best to keep the volume of cr*p within acceptable limits.


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.