Walking in the rain … again

Another day, another rainy morning. So what to do when the weather leaves a lot to be desired?
How about another long breakfast this time already with a glass of sparkling wine. It was a holiday after all and it set the mood for the day.IMG_9017IMG_9018IMG_9023

And then another bus tour, this time on the yellow line though. When we arrived at our station we found out that the bus would take another 45 min to get there since we were station No. 19 on this line. One of the bus hustlers told us to walk a couple of blocks to get to station No. 4 where buses would go every 5-10 minutes. Was so not true, because we ended up waiting at least 20 minutes again. Never mind, we were in no rush at all, just a bit on the cold side.

Finally on the bus we started another tour with annoying music and little information. At least this time everyone had a window seat.IMG_9064

Another round of sights, again from the bus. Please enjoy.IMG_8928IMG_8935IMG_8937IMG_8942IMG_8946IMG_8947IMG_8952Remember this bridge? We were back at the Chain Bridge below the Buda Castle.
IMG_8968Another train station called the west station or something because the trains are coming in from the east.

Near St. Stephen’s Basilica we got off, having decided on the spur of the moment to visit the basilica. Ok, not true at all. We wanted to lángos at the Christmas market but when we passed the church on the way there we decided to go in. It was beautiful inside, impressive and breathtaking. It also shows in a side room the right hand of the saint. The hand or better the “Holy Right” is in remarkable condition, especially when you consider that he died almost 1000 years ago.IMG_8971IMG_8972IMG_8974IMG_8976IMG_8978IMG_8979IMG_8980

When outside we headed directly to the lángos place to try this real traditional dish. It was a greasy as the Austrian version, maybe a bit better and definitely with less garlic. Still, not something to talk about.IMG_8985IMG_8992IMG_8991IMG_8990

From here on we only had one more stop at the supermarket to buy some provisions for the train ride (prosecco and such things), another one at a stall for chimney cake were we bought two right from the griddle (if you can call it that) and then found out the the locals are buying it cooled off. And with good reason because when you buy it hot, it tastes under baked. Another waste of good calories. Culinary wise Hungary was not really abundant, just rich in calories.

Back at the hotel and after a short discussion on how to get to the train station, we decided on the metro again. Quick and cheap, or “slumming” as my friend Tici likes to call it.IMG_9002IMG_9003IMG_9004IMG_9007

And with two bottles of sparkling wine, sweets, chips from the journey there, water and cold chimney cake we were well supplied for our way home. Traveling in style I call that.
Yours, Pollybert


Girls on tour

A breakfast in September birthed the idea of a weekend together and it all came to life last Saturday. Cat and I met Susi and Tici at the train station (Cat well prepared with a bottle of pink sparkling wine and some plastic cups) and we were on our way to Budapest.IMG_9013.JPG

After the first round we were ready for a selfie and some more sparkling (not to mention the three packs of chips…).

And one more picture because we had so much fun!IMG_9042.JPG

We arrived right on time at the Keleti train station (gone are the times when you had to wait at the border) in Budapest which is a beautiful old building.IMG_8686.JPGIMG_9047.JPG

After a brief discussion with a local cab driver we decided on taking the metro to our hotel. The Palazzo Zichy was only two metro stations from Keleti away. The M4 line was opened this year and it looked brand new and shiny.
The stop at the hotel was only used to freshen up and get ready to meet with Sylvia and Eva at St. Stephen’s Basilica. The name alone made us feel at home but we found out the hard way that we were all strangers in this city. With ill-founded confidence we walked out of the hotel, immediately going in the wrong direction. When we ended up next to the Danube instead of the Basilica we asked some locals and were guided to the nearest metro station. The M3 turned out to be one of the oldest lines and of course we had to take some pictures


IMG_8691.JPG (the pics which look as if done by “David Hamilton” are from Susi’s camera which adds a permanent grey veil over everything)

So with only 15 minutes delay we arrived in front of the Basilica where one of many Christmas markets was held.IMG_8694IMG_8704IMG_8697IMG_8702IMG_8706Lots of food stalls but also a fair amount of craft stalls which really offered something new compared to the stalls in Vienna. Just noticed though that I didn’t take a single picture of a craft stall (I wonder why?).

The apple punsch we tried left us disappointed but decidedly warmer on the inside and we were ready to search for a place to eat. This turned into an odyssey since a group of six is not easily accommodated and it was Saturday evening. We walked a lot that first evening in a constant drizzle of rain (rain wise this was the best evening) and saw already a lot from the city.IMG_8709IMG_8710IMG_8711IMG_8712

We also passed the Alexandra bookstore which has a beautiful café on top.IMG_8713IMG_8714IMG_8716

While walking and trying to find a nice place (we already got turned down by one place and I as usual was picky at where to eat) we arrived in front of Menza, a place we had seen in the Wallpaper City Guide for Budapest and deemed as visitable. The place was packed, but looked exactly like the spot where we wanted to spend a great evening. We set up camp at the bar and waited for a table.IMG_8717IMG_9015IMG_8735

When we finally got one, it was well worth the wait. The food was delicious, giving a twist to traditional Hungarian dishes. Check it out yourself and take a closer look at the garlic soup with Lángos.

As you can see afterwards we all looked happy.IMG_8745

Sylvia and Eva went home after dinner, but we girls were ready for one more drink. The nightlife of Budapest has an excellent reputation and we wanted to try that ourselves. Madame Noi was supposedly right around the corner but after passing the address twice we gave up. Later we learned that it was closed, so Wallpaper City Guide needs to update its books. At least there was another place (also in the Guide book) on the way so we walked to kolor. Which was definitely not worth the visit. The service was slow and inattentive, furthermore we had to pay right away although we set at a table and the lemon in the G&T tasted moldy. Not a classy ending for an otherwise fantastic evening.IMG_8747
Upon leaving the bar it was raining harder, so we were glad to catch a cab almost right away. A cab which had a taximeter, something essential in this city!
Yours, Pollybert