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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

We start the day with the ubiquitous buffet breakfast. A waiter asks about working in London or Dublin. We warn him about being exploited, but wish him well.
 
SpaFlagThere's a spa in the town. My advice is to not taste the water: it's metallic and disgusting!

We take a mid-morning boat trip on Lake Balaton. Only four passengers book up. All very pleasant and un-crowded.  The captain refunds us half the charge - he will make this a quick trip and return early to catch more punters. (We each got a glass of Hungarian Champagne on the boat too.)

The sun's out - I buy some sun tan lotion. Real travellers do this. 

Boat

TrainBy afternoon we're on the train to Budapest.

 

 

Budapest

I am the way, and the truth, and the life.ParliamentBudapest is a sprawling city bisected by the river Danube, with Buda on the hills to the west, and Pest on the plain to the east.

From the main railway station we walk though a park; then along a fume laden tunnel under the castle; finally we see the Danube and the splendid city.

We walk across the Chain Bridge, one of the three major bridges crossing the Danube.
 

ChurchTourists on Castle Hill
The Marriott and other large tourist hotels were full. A tourist information office finds us the Hotel Pest that has rooms available. (After charging us a referral fee.)

A 15 minute walk finds us at Hotel Pest, which despite its name, turned out to be remarkably salubrious.
PrincessStatue on Chain Bridge
We investigate tomorrow's hydrofoil boat journey to Bratislava. There's only one boat a day at this time of year, and that means getting to the boat at 07:00. Ridiculously early!

We buy the tickets and, mindful of our early start, attempt to "do"  Budapest in five hours. (What a daft thing to attempt: we'll do it properly next time!)

PalaceChain Bridge

We walk across the Danube via the Elizabeth Bridge, reaching the Buda Palace by using the funicular railway.

Our evening meal involves goats cheese and dead cow, very good potato and paprika soup, all washed down with mighty fine beer!

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