One day is really not enough time to see Budapest. This is a truly magnificent capital city and we have just skipped over the highlights today. We spent the morning in the old town of Buda – having crossed the Chain Bridge on foot.
From the end of the bridge a short funicular railway leads to the top. Buda was populated only by crocodiles of tourists with earpieces. I must have watched too many ‘alien control’ sci-fi movies because I find these quite sinister. It must be the blank faces. Anyway – the best thing about Buda is the view back over the river to Pest – particularly from the Fisherman’s Bastion (a 19th cent mock medieval folly that Walt Disney would have been proud of).
But today was mainly about cafes and relaxation. So we sampled a couple of Buda’s best and then headed back down and across the bridge to Pest. This is the modern heart of the capital – buzzing with shopping streets. We started to walk up the main avenue (think Regent’s Street – very imposing architecture and posh shops) but soon gave up – it was too long. Helen was about to buy a smart bag at Louis Vuitton but then we realised that it didn’t have pannier clips for attaching to the bike.
Getting the tube as an alternative to walking was quite an experience. This line was the first after those in London, and nothing much has changed since 1896. The original stations are intact, with cast iron supports holding up the street, and tickets are dispensed by hand, from a roll, by uniformed operatives. Fantastic. We travelled to ‘Heroes Square’ and had a beer on the edge of the City Park.
But the best thing about the underground train was that the return trip spilled us out right outside our favourite cafe from yesterday afternoon – so we had to go in and have posh tea and cakes all over again. It’s a hard life!
Helen’s track of the day: Queen, Don’t Stop Me Now, which was playing on the radio at breakfast and seemed very appropriate!