Friday, 31 August 2012

The 'other side' of the bridge

Yesterday we began the day with a delicious breakfast of French toast with red summer berries in syrup at Cafe Dumas, our new favourite place. This cost about £1.60!

Full, and with an icing sugar moustache, we crossed the bridge into Pest. We had intended to visit the Parliament building which is free to citizens of the EU.

We arrived just in time to join the back of a queue of around 1000 people stood, unshaded, in the 34 degree heat. We decided that whatever was inside probably wasn't worth getting baked alive for and quickly left the line.

The heat was unbearable and very tiring. So instead of going inside, we found a lovely shaded bench under the canopy of some trees, had a refreshing drink of water and did some people watching.

That's what most of our day consisted of: find shade, sit in it.

We had a pleasant meander through the back streets, protected from the sun by the shadow of ornate gothic buildings lining each side.

Soon we found ourselves at the Basilica of St Stephen (the first king of Hungary). Inside, we were in awe of the stunning architecture - vaulted ceilings, intricately carved stone, beautiful murals adorned everything, finer details touched with gold leaf.

At the back stood a huge golden organ so shiny it looked like it was polished hourly.

In a separate room there was a fancy bejewelled glass cabinet lit from the inside. On closer inspection we saw that it contained all that was left of St Stephen himself: his fisted, 974 year old shrivelled zombie hand, fingernails still intact (although in need of a good scrub). I hope my hands still look that good at his age!

After a very cosmopolitan lunch of a Subway sandwich and a packet of crips (I know, we're really living it up on this trip!) we decided to jump on a tram and head over to Memorial Park; the official graveyard for all of the old Soviet statues which were taken down from around Hungary at the end of the communist era in 1989. We didn't make it. We got completely lost - just goes to show, even Lonely Planet gets it wrong sometimes!

We headed back to the hotel, dumped my hefty camera equipment and wandered back down to Dumas where we commandeered a giant bean bag and a comfy lawn chair. I had an icy glass of homemade peach lemonade (delicious but I was up five times in the night after two glasses of that stuff) and rested our weary feet to watch the sun set over Budapest. Perfect!

After dinner we took our last opportunity to snap some moonlight photos of the river with boats and cars whizzing by.

The parliament building stood out against everything else and lit up the whole river. Even the "I'm loving it" sign, delightfully displayed by Mr McDonald, took a back seat in this light show.

Even at 10pm, the streets bustled with dog walkers, runners, cyclists, roller bladders and sweethearts smooching and sharing wine straight from the bottle on the walls of the banks.

This city has a pulse, the constant beat of life passing it by, and I love it!

Location:Budapest, Hungary

1 comment:

  1. Nice one!

    I think its awesome that you get to travel so much. 1 new country every 4 months! Wish i could do that!! :)

    Guess there's a lotta planning behind each trip huh?