When we arrived last night, it was already dark. We walked along the Danube watching party boats sail by with their lights glistening in the water below. All of Budapest's most impressive buildings and bridges were lit up to demonstrate their beauty. Car's lights flickered around like fireflies. A big yellow moon glowed, perfect, above. Couples and families strolling casually along the river sat on the walls to chat a while, with their dogs waiting patiently at their feet. Even tired and hungry, I could tell this was a magical place.
And I was right! When we checked in (D'art Otel), we were told that we had been given a free upgrade. They didn't say why. When we got to our room, it had double doors where all of the others only had one. This was the executive suite! One of the bathrooms is bigger than my living room! The bed is whopping, there is a living room, a study and a dance floor. Ok, I lied about the dance floor!
This morning we took the funicular up to Castle Hill on the Buda side of town. We took the back car so that we could see the landscape panning out in wide angle.
The views from the top were impressive. You can see for miles in both directions, every bridge, every building.
The castle grounds were surrounded by huge statue of birds with wings outstretched and lions standing proudly, mid roar.
We arrived at the start of a beer fest so we had a wander round looking at all of the different tipples on offer. It was before lunch so a bit early to drink any!
We were lucky enough to see the changing of the guards at the castle gates which was quite a spectacle. Think men in uniform doing synchronised gun stuff. Very nice. Ahem.
We had lunch from one of the stalls, I had chicken in mustard cream sauce with fried potatoes and onions. Delicious! I will try and replicate it when I get home!
We walked over to the cathedral which reminded me very much of St Vitus cathedral in Prague only much whiter and with a beautiful ornate roof in very Moroccan colours with zigzag and diamond patterns.
I'm seeing some kind of patchwork quilt here!
While we were there I held a hawk. Four year old 'tweeter'. She was beautiful and very well behaved.
Even when perched above my head, she didn't think to peck me (or poo)! Her wing span was about four foot.
Later, we went back down the hill to one of the famous thermal spas (Gellert Baths). The water was 36 degrees celsius, which in a colder climate would have been just what we needed. Here, though, it's 34 degrees so it didn't really help! The interior was stunning though, mosaic from floor to ceiling, with little windows in the roof to allow the light to come streaming through. There were several baths indoors and out, ranging in temperature from what felt like -62 to 36 degrees. we stayed in until we were sufficiently pruned and then ventured back out in to the golden evening sun.
The perfect end to a perfect day.