Café Crawling in Budapest

30 05b

(This is a book shop with a cafe…)

We went walking very early this morning to begin our tour of the cafés. There’s a lot. Budapest is famous for it’s cafe culture dating back to the time of the Turkish invasion in the 1600’s (I looked that up) They were the perfect place for artists, poets, writers and revolutionaries. So nothing new then…

30 05a

(This is one of the traditional Hungarian cafés – Müvész)

I was going for the ambiance (read cake) Denis was going for the coffee. We’re both a little hyper now and have proved the saying, too much of a good thing etc. Anyway, we got some pictures along the way so not all bad.

30 05d

(Another traditional – Gerbeaud. I had a great salmon and cream cheese baguette here)

We’re going home tomorrow morning and due to a technical oversight (didn’t notice the very very early flight departure time) on my part, we will be getting the airport shuttle bus at 4am. So, I’ll be writing tomorrow’s blog under the influence of sleep deprivation. Just to warn you, I might continue to be grumpy for a while…. so don’t say hello to me if you meet me during the next few days.

30 05h

(This is McDonalds… almost. This is a railway station and McDonalds is right beside it in an identical building. We were just passing)

30 05x

(Inside the railway station)

I’m not ready to come home yet, Mairead.

Lost and Alone in Budapest…


29 05d

(Beautiful Buildings)

Budapest is quite beautiful and quite big, so we gave up the walking tour for a bus tour… not our finest hour. Not just because of the lack to exercise but for the choice of tour. Our home for the next two days is situated beside Margaret’s Bridge or as we’re saying now Mairead’s Bridge (Well, I’m the only one saying it… if you don’t know Mairead is the Irish for Margaret… ) And as there’s a bus stop for the tour on the other side of the bridge we went looking for it. Took us a long time meandering around trying to find it with a less than useless map. Eventually Denis went into a chemist to ask for directions while I waited outside taking pictures of all the beautiful buildings.

29 05f

(Mairead’s Bridge… well ok it’s still officially Margaret’s Bridge)

Now, you may not know but as soon as you tell people you’re off to countries like the Czech Republic or Hungary the stories of adventure gone terribly wrong start surfacing. The worst of the stories were generated by the mention of Budapest. (Just as an aside, while we’ve been away I’m keeping up with news of car hijackings around Ireland and murders in Dublin, we’re at the moment attempting to change our flights to land in a safer country…..) While it is very helpful to be wide awake and notice what’s going on around you, it’s not so great to be walking around in fear. It makes the walking around noticing all the amazingly beautiful things very difficult.

29 05c

(Street Scene)

Anyway, there I was on my own with an expensive camera in my hand in Budapest. I didn’t know where I was and I didn’t speak the language, did I mention I was all alone? …and nothing happened.

29 05g

(Beautiful Parliament Building)

Well, nothing bad happened. There was this older man and his wife who practically crawled along the ground so as not to get into the shot I was taking of a building across the street. When I realised the pains they were going to for my art I was mortified and grateful. I said Oh sorry and thank you and smiled. The woman smiled and the man was a joker and said something funny in Hungarian to me and I smiled in return. Of course, I have no idea what he said but I completely know from the way he said it and his body language that he was being nice to me, making a connection with me, encouraging me. That’s what humans do. It’s hard to spot when I’m afraid.

29 05b

(Look at the cute car!)

Meanwhile Denis was in the chemist having little luck explaining in sign language to the people behind the counter what he wanted when one of the customers spoke in English and said he might be able to help. He did help and we found the bus stop but we might have been better off going for a coffee instead.

29 05h

(A public transport bus with the reminder that Budapest is two cities, Buda and Pest)

We’ve had great tours with great guides in Prague and Krakow (sigh) and now we were on a bus listening to a recording. Prague and Krakow have ruined the simple pleasures of a bad bus tour for me…

From lovely Budapest, Mairead.