Budapest is known as the spa capital of Europe, if not the world. They have at least 30 public spas in this city alone. Spa here means thermal baths, not a resort with pampering and massage.
Taxes are high here for residents. Up to 20% on consumer goods.
Restaurants everywhere, mostly Hungarian, followed by Italian, sushi, and bakeries. So far on this trip, pastries have been rather sad.
It is hard to walk around all day on cobblestone streets. Maybe time for a bus tour tomorrow.
Europeans are consumed with Catalonia and Brexit. We get little news about the Napa and Sonoma fires. Lesson: do not build or live in the hills , fault line, or flood zone. I finally saw some film of Napa on sky news. Ugly, sad, awful.
The American Embassy is just across the street from our hotel, the President. Did the Dumpster ever appoint any ambassadors? Anyway, it looks like a fortress that only Jason Bourne could penetrate.
We finally hit our stride today, after an agonizing few hours on a touring bus. We found the Grand Market in all of its glory. They have it all, meats, cheeses, booze, housewares, tourist gifts, food stalls, and of course, t shirts and fridge magnets. They had a great selection of goose liver and foie gras. Plenty of Hungarian liquor, and some rather tasty cheese. But the highlight was all the various animal sausage, including one I have never had. Yes, it was donkey sausage!!!
And we finally had a rather poor beer, the local Dreher, probably makes Bud taste good.
The Jewish synagogue here is the second largest in the world.
In honor of our Cape Town friend, we caught our tour bus at a cafe called Titiz, and got off at a cafe called Kakas. It was purely coincidence, but we knew Barry the V would understand it all.
Hungary has 16 Nobel Prize winners, pretty amazing for a small country.
Finally made it over to Buda on the tour bus. They have some magnificent buildings and monuments, and a great view of this city. It seems rather sedate compared to Pest.
The downside to Budapest, Warsaw, and Prague are the smokers, young and old. It must really cut into productivity in the workforce. They must leave their smoke free place of work, and hangout on the streets or alleys. Even the ones who appear upper class, and well dressed light up continuously around this fine city.
Coffee here is not as good as Warsaw. Even Prague coffee was better. We plan to try some of the Hungarian liqueurs this evening. We sampled a few at the Grand Market today.
I swear, Budapest has more bakeries per block than Paris.
Most people speak some English, but not as well as Warsaw. And no accent either!!
The sun made its weekly appearance today, making our view from the open top double decker bus mostly pleasant. Makes up for the shi**y weather in Prague and Warsaw.
Did I already tell you that Budapest has been the highlight of the trip, so far? I have found this city to be charming, beautiful, and silly, all at once, much like my little dog, Lexi.
Just make a wrong turn anywhere, and end up in a most charming, and lively neighborhood.
Now, Mike is threatening to buy a swim suit and go to a spa. Sick, sick man, who had to be coerced into one night on a junk in Halong Bay, Vietnam. He forgets that we don’t do water, even at dinner!
Well, our time here is drawing short, but we had a busy day. First a bus ride to the Kaleti train station to set up my ride to Bratislava, then back on the Metro underground. Thank goodness for GPS, and all of the fine ladies who inspired the movie, Hidden Figures. Their work was the precursor to our modern day GPS.
Then a big lunch and flowery shaped ice cream, followed by what now is our modus vino search. We found our Tokaji, pronounced “tow-kai”, and some palinka. You mar recall we drove over the Algarve in 2002 in search of vintage ports. The Tokaji vintages are not cheap, but the palinka was only 5 Euros.
I probably won’t make it, what with a special dinner tonight, to the big concert at St. Taffy’s. On the program are Bizet, Liszt, Vivaldi, and Mozart. Maybe in Vienna?
Today and this evening have been most pleasant weather wise and otherwise. We had a very nice dinner, heard a little Hungarian combo, who played Brubeck’s Take Five for me. We strolled the many nice plazas and walkways, a city well planned for both leisure locals, and us crazies. It is a young people’s city here in Pest.
Mike flies home tomorrow via Frankfurt , if and only if they allow planes to land at SFO, due to Napa fires. I, on the other hand, take the train to Bratislava, Slovakia, and on to Wien, Vienna for you Americans back home.
Auf Wiedersehn, meine freunde!!!