7th August 2015:
I was sorry to leave Belgrade but also eager to visit Budapest a city I had heard so much about over the years. As I was checking out at reception the clerk handed me two postcards from Karolina and Alex thanking us for the ride the other day. Such a thoughtful thing to do and very much appreciated. Thanks girls.
The ride on superhighways is amazing after all the tough roads we have travelled. They do however have one major drawback and that it makes the ride uneventful. We did see a traffic queue on the motorway that was at least 10 Kms long. Poor buggers it was going to be a long time before the back cars got moving again.
Stayed in a nice hotel in Budapest called the Mecure Hotel that was excellently located in the city but out of the city so to speak. The next morning I was up early and decided to go for a walk – between the hotel and the city is a hill which has three spires on it across about a couple of Kms. Having seen many church spires over the last couple of days, I didn’t take too much notice. Rather than walk up the hill I started my walk in the park opposite. As so often happens in a new city and you take off wandering you end up somewhere other than expected. I ended up on the other side of the hill. In order to get a better view of the city I climbed up some stones stairs. You can imagine my surprise; not only did a I get a fantastic view of the city and that magnificent Parliament building, I had ended up right in the middle of the Castle area. Such a beautiful place and being able to wander around with only the locals who were starting their day was just wonderful. Later in the day as I passed in the bus it was just crawling with tourists.
After a sightseeing bus ride to get my bearings, I had lunch in a little back street in the city centre. I got chatting to a local guy who gave me some good info on the city and the surrounding country. After awhile some mates came past and he left with them, not before however paying my lunch bill before he left, something I only learnt when I went to pay the bill myself. Such a lovely person and I didn’t even get his name.
After another sightseeing bus ride, to see the other half of the city I was taking a break at the Hard Rock pavilion set up in the city centre. The day had been sweltering so it was nice to sit and have a beer in air conditioned comfort. I had only just been served when dark clouds started to form, ten minutes later it started to pelt down with hail. It was very entertaining to watch the people run around, using bags to cover their heads whilst a number of the guys just stripped off their T Shirts and walked in the rain. The contrast between those who felt the rain and hail an inconvenience and those that saw it has an opportunity to have fun and get wet was quite remarkable. One of the barmen kept up a running commentary that was quite witty. A good time was had by most.