Budapest – A Walking Tour
Budapest in the Morning
It is a bit amazing how places seem a bit dull and disappointing when you arrive after a day of travelling…. and that same place looks
interesting and inviting the next morning !! There is a mandatory included breakfast at the Gerloczy cafe, and it is a bit expensive, but it is excellent. I think the only indoor meal we have had was during the rainstorm in Prague in the Spanish restaurant. The beautiful outdoor setting, the Hungarian’s penchant for pastries (Czechs don’t seem so keen on pastries) which are baked fresh at the restaurant, made a great start to the day. I am not saying that Hungarians are opinionated, but the waitress informed Linda she should change her shoes due to rain being predicted.
Walking Tour of Budapest
The walking tour in Prague worked out so well, that we continued the concept here in Budapest. Our guide was Judith. Very different than Jan in Prague. She was our age and very laid back and unstructured (perfect for JJ). More than once she changed plans in midstream. Budapest is more spread out than Prague, so she had us by 72 hour passes for public transport.
She then jetted us by Metro around the city taking in the Great Synagogue, the Opera House, Franz Liszt Square, St. Stephens Basilica (with a side trip to book two evening concerts), a stop for coffee, a stop in a book store to buy an english / hungarian dictionary, then across the river and up castle hill for an orienting mini tour and she was gone. All in a 4 hour tour. We had our requisite Hungarian goulash soup and chicken paprikas (pronounced Pop’-ree-kaash” at the Raven restaurant and then marveled at and photographed the fabulous views of the Danube and the Pest side of the city (castle hill is on the Buda side).
Hungarian Folk Music and Dance
We crashed at the hotel for a short time before heading out to a concert and folk dance, back across to the Buda side of the river. Even though we are now pretty good at the Metro, there is still a ton of walking. We ate a very late, very large lunch on castle hill, so we looked for something light. We found a Vegan restaurant and welcomed a “traditional menu” alternative. Have to say everything was pretty bland and uninspired. Not terrible, just bland and uninspired. So when a vegan menu says spicy green lentil and rice balls. Don’t believe them.
The show was very good. It was a collection of folk dances collected from villages all over the former Hungary (which was much larger before Hungary was on the wrong side of world war II). They were from the past 100 years or so. The music was provided by two violins, a Hungarian version of a bagpipe, some sort of marimba like historical instrument , a bass viol and a clarinet. Lots of fun and well done.