Our G Adventures tour continues on the public train from Vienna, a city the 13 of us all enjoyed. That post can be found here: A taste of Austria. Vienna, a jewel of a city. 2 days is not enough
Thursday, April 28; We got.a ride from the train station to the hotel where we dropped our bags and took a tram to the NGO restaurant Nem Adom Fee which is Hungarian for Never Give Up. It’s operated by disabled folks and it’s a joy to spend time there. They have a Facebook page as well: https://www.facebook.com/nemadomfelkavezo
We split into two groups with some going on an organized tour and the rest of us joining Achilles for a walk about and orientation. Apparently Budapest is actually 3 cities that merged. Buda, where the castle sits, Old Buda and Pest. The river divides Pest from the others.
Friday; Twas a busy day today. What else is new? After another amazing breakfast we wandered down to the meeting point for our walking tour. Walking tours are our favourite way to get our bearings in a new city and Sandeman’s never disappoints. They’re “free”. Not really. The idea is that you tip at the end according to what you think the tour was worth. It’s a great concept as the tour leader does their best to impress you and earn their tip. Orsi was really good. Not only did she show us the highlights but she provided an interesting, personal historical view into what Hungary (the country) is and who Hungarians are.
We walked to the market and got ourselves a cherry strudel as recommended by Orsi. It was pretty good but the goulash smelled amazing. I’d eaten too much breakfast though so wasn’t ready for a big meal.
Next we headed across the Liberty bridge, eyes peeled for the tiny statue Orsi said was there. A man named Kolodko created tiny statues and planted them all over the city. It’s kind of fun to try to find them all. We didn’t succeed but maybe you will if you check out this website: https://budapestflow.com/hidden-mini-statues-budapest/
Gellert Thermal baths was our next destination. There we spent a couple hours enjoying the therapeutic hot pools. It was nice and relaxing but it didn’t cure our body aches from all the walking. Bummer. So we walked some more.
This time we walked to the Jewish Quarter to find the great synagogue closed. Oh well. The outside is pretty. Then we looked for the infamous Szimpla Kert. It’s a ruin bar. Literally a bar created in a ruined building. Well. It’s an interesting building with lots of little rooms that appear to be in various states of disrepair, lots of which contained drunk people. Since they didn’t appear to serve food we took some pictures and left to go down the road a bit and try some street food. Today’s adventure was langos. It was good but once is enough.
That night the whole group booked the Danube river cruise which was really nice. The weather was perfect and it was nice to see the city lit up and view the buildings from a different perspective. After that we all walked back to the hotel where we said good bye to our fearless leader and some of the other travellers. A few of us will carry on with a new tour guide.
Saturday. Keith joined Sue and I today as we walked to Buda castle. The escalator helps avoid the worst of the hill climb. I’m pretty sure we saw most of the castle grounds though they are immense. On the way to Margaret island we did find another tiny statue. On Margaret island we sat and enjoyed the musical fountain for a while before exploring a bit and enjoying an ice cream. We headed off to find some lunch which ended up being supper. I think we wore Keith out but it was still early so Sue and I decided to check out Heroes Square. There was a big festival or market set up there which we quickly walked through. The statues in the castle area were great fun to take photos with and then we checked out the inside of the Szecheny bath. Since we didn’t have suits we didn’t go in but it looked nice too.
Back at the hotel we joined Shelley for a drink and said good bye. Twas a 37,000 step day. Our feet were pooped.
Goodbye Budapest for now. I might have to come back as the Chain bridge will be done in a couple of years as well as parts of the castle. On to Serbia!