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Bec & Simon

Budapest, Hungary

HUNGARY | Thursday, 9 July 2009 | Views [2906]

Everyone on Gelert Hill

Everyone on Gelert Hill

So good to be looked after for a change! No worries about how to get to our hotel, haggling with taxi drivers or trying to work out the public transport. Peter and Timea (Simon's ?th cousin??) met us at the airport with a warm hug and some cold drinks, Timea was always super organised. It didn't stop there! The whole time we were in Budapest we were spoilt. Timea and Peter took us around the city sightseeing, out to restaurants and bars, and cooked Hungarian for us. It was brilliant!

The day after we arrived, we went with Timea, Peter and their little girl Kamilla to the thermal baths at Gellert Hotel. The spas were beautiful. There were a couple indoor surrounded by marble and stained glass. We swam in the outdoor pool, also fed by the mineral spring, but converted into a wavepool. It was pretty entertaining to watch the Hungarians being absolutely pummelled by the waves. Hungary is bordered by land on all sides and it was very obvious most of these people have never visited the ocean. After the pool we went to a park down beside the Danube for lunch at a very cool cafe where they were cooking outdoor over open fires. 

The next day Simon's parents, Anne and John, and his little sister, Ali, flew in to Budapest. It was so nice to see some familiar faces! They were pretty exhausted after their 30 hours in transit (although they pulled up very well the next day - much better than we had after our 30 journeys!) so, after some hugs and a bit of a chat we let them go to bed. The following day Simon's friend Leah (with a couple of Dutch mates) also arrived in Budapest, so we were literally surrounded by family and friends for a few days, which was very, very nice.

For the next three days Timea, Peter and their parents showed us around Budapest. We did a cruise on the Danube, checked out the view from Gellert Hill, went to a museum, visited the Parliament and took a cable car up to Castle Hill.

Budapest is an interesting city, lots to see and do. The area on either side of the river (Buda and Pest) is very nice and has been fixed up recently. There are lots of cobbled streets, beautiful old buildings, cafes, bars and shops. They are slowly fixing the city up from the river out, so the further you get from the river, the older and more run down the buildings are. We stayed on the Pest side, a short walk from the town centre and about 200m from the river.

While in Budapest we went to Timea and Peter's house for a traditional Hungarian lunch. We had duck soup, chicken stew with pasta and Hungarian coleslaw and then cake and gelato. The food was fantastic, better than in a restaurant! Timeas mum is a brilliant cook. The boys tried the local spirit 'Palinka'. It has some ridiculous percentage of alcohol and burns all the way down. Traditionally, it is drunk before and after each meal, sometimes even with breakfast. I stayed very quiet while the Palinka was being handed out and somehow managed to avoid it - I didn't know if I'd be able to handle strong spirits in the middle of the day! We left their house stuffed full. It's sort of expected in Hungary that you ask for second servings to show that you liked the food. The problem is, the first serving they give you is absolutely huge! All the food we ate in Hungary was delicious, but SO heavy! It's all meat, potatoes, pasta, bread and more meat!

I think we would have really like Budapest even if we had travelled there by ourselves, but to catch up with family and friends and to meet new ones as well, made it very special. Simon and I are hoping that one day in the future Timea and Peter will make it to Australia so that we can show them around and repay their generosity!

Now, Simon and I are travelling with Leah and a couple of the Dutchies, Lynn and Charlotte, to Vienna and Prague. Looking forward to it, it will be a lot of fun. After that Simon and I will go on to Munich and start looking for work.


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