Lush green fields, small villages and simple stations flashed past us as our train trundled through the Czech countryside. The seven hours from Prague passed quickly enough, aided by books and music, before we arrived in Budapest just before 9pm.
Our first full day in Budapest was spent wandering the beautiful boulevards, making our way to Elizabet Square. In the height of summer, this square is constantly packed with revellers for festivals and fashion shows and concerts. Despite the blue skies and fluffy clouds that greeted us for the morning, the weather turned suddenly and a spectacular thunderstorm rained out the entire afternoon. We were huddled on a ‘hop on hop off’ bus and it was the ideal way to see the city that day!
Budapest had been affected by the flooding in Eastern Europe and the river was bulging, almost ready to spill into the city. The most incredible sight was the angle of the piers as they bobbed precariously, the ramp like an arm struggling to hold the pier in it’s place. There were a number of bridges spanning the river that looked too close to the angry currents underneath.
Another day was spent climbing the hill overlooking the city – a good way to combine a workout and sightseeing – for the most incredible view of Budapest. From the hill we could really appreciate the stunning architecture of the city.
On the last morning, we walked a few blocks to the ‘New York Cafe’ where, at the turn of the 20th century, Hungarian writers, journalists and poets would come to work on their latest novel or anthology. At one point, the cafe was crowned ‘the most beautiful cafe in the world’ because of the ornate and delicate decorations. We sipped our coffees/chocolate milkshake and waited for inspiration (would we feel the inclination to speak in rhyming couplets?) but none came. Perhaps we should have had more!
We have enjoyed parts of Eastern Europe and feel like there are places we would like to have more time. Budapest is one of them! It has been a fascinating city in terms of it’s history, very picturesque and visually stunning, easy to navigate.