Budapest Day 3 – climbing and sweating through Buda
Today I am off to the Buda side of the city, which is on the other side of the Danube. I have some idea of where and what I want to see and with my trusty map, I am off.
On the way though, I pass through the market again to eat some of those Langos I spotted yesterday for breakfast. As I said, they had gazillion topping choices for the things, but I like them best with just some dusting sugar and thats how I order it. The lady behind the counter says “just sugar?”, I confirm. But she offers jam very enthusiastically and then she grins with some peaches…Oh, ok, just a little bit. She obviously doesnt know the meaning of little bit and whams the langos with as much as it will hold.
Its not quite what I had in mind, but its still pretty deliciously naughty (thanks, Bec!). As I eat the jam and peaches start to dribble and ooze off. I manage to gobble the thing after dropping some of the filling in the near by bin and it was quite enjoyable.
Next I am going through the Elizabeth bridge to get to the Buda side. The bridge is under construction, so no cars or anything are going on it. Seems like some serious work is being done to it. There is a narrow pedestrian passage that we go through. I can still peek through the security fences and see the views. I am very hopeful of what it will be like to see the Pest side from up high in the hill.
Soon after I get to the other side the park starts. My map shows that there are some passages that go through it and I can follow that instead of walk on the main street along the bank of the river. Sounds good, so I go up. The park is on a hill, and the paths are basically climbing up.
Its still early and the green surroundings feel fresh and because of all the blooms around, the aroma is oh so lovely.
I reach a view point of some kind and I am already quite high. This is the bridge I just crossed.
I go back through the paths and my map just does not reflect what I am seeing. On it there is one way, infront of me there are three options. I try to keep close to the edge of the park and the views and push on.
There is almost no one around. There were two tourists I passed once, but other than that, the place is quiet and as though in some forgotten part of the world.
After some wondering and guessing I reach another look out point. Its magnificent!
After that things got really confusing. My map was useless, the paths were not making any sense, I took one and then it went nowhere, Another one was going up some very steep stairs that seem to go forever… the temperature was rising and there was no one around. After some wondering around and not seeming to get anywhere I decided to make my way down to the proper streets and walk behind the park.
The way down was quite steep, I didnt realize I had climbed up so high.
Back to the world and off through the streets. It doesnt seem far on the map, so I guess it wont take longer than 20 minutes to get to Castle Hill.
The suburb here was like out of some old storyline. Big houses or even mansions behind decorative iron gates; lush green surroundings and all well aged, not some new development with lack of any character.
The streets are steep and that adds to the mood of the area. I wonder if this is where the rich fellas of Budapest live. The cars dont seem to be much more posh than what one sees on the streets, but one never knows.
It feels quite hot now. Later I find it was in the 30s.
The winding streets are not quite clear on the map either. From time to time I am able to figure out whats going on by some crossing street, but I am not convinced the way I am going is the right way 100%. This is also no busy Pest street and people are far and between. Mostly behind the gates, doing their home thing.
After some more walking and sweating I spot a guy on the street fixing his car. I give him my map and ask him to let me know where I am.
He looks at it for awhile. Twists it around…makes some sounds. Asks me if I speak French. No. Looks at it again. He ends with – Go (points direction) five minutes…taxi!
Hahahahaha! Great! Thanks.
Even the local cant sort this map out, at least its not me. I push on again. I am not completely lost, just not with an exact idea of where I am. I know which street it is, but it just doesnt fit on this plan infront of me.
The heat is pounding now. The streets are steep and keep on going. And the I spot it, I am pretty sure its what I think it is…a convenience store!
Fresh water would do me wonders. Can you see it? The little yellow building?
I get my refresh supplies and expose the attendant to my map in hope that he will put some light to my exact location. He points and its exactly where I thought I was. Excellent! I dont have long to go until the main street.
I sit on the side of the street and rest for a bit. The sweat is collecting on my body, I can just feel it.
Do you have any idea how good these two articles felt? Ohhhh….
After a few minutes I get to a cross street and I realize that I am much further from the end of this area than I, or that attendant, thought. Shunks!
I speed up to get this over and done with, but it doesnt help with the warmth or the hilly neighborhood.
I saw a Trabi though! That was the first car I had and her name was the White Swan. They are not really a car, but an ingenious german cheap invention to wrap up a motorcycle two stroke engine with some duroplast (forget about metal) and send it off to the communist countries. I loved that stinky car with falling exhaust.
Walking, walking, walking…the end is near.
And then I spot the big street! Its down a very steep one I need to go through. I start descending and my legs are quite tired by now. I see a ledge on the street under some trees and collapse to compose myself. I am not even half way through the things I want to see today.
Up and move again. On the main street I decide to go through the shadier back streets to the Castle, as it is quite warm and bright sunny.
Down and down and down I go. I spot the Castle Hill and the lower I get, the more I realise I will have to get up again, as the Royal Palace is getting higher and higher. I get almost to the bottom and as I am walking through a small park area I spot a long grassy area under a good shade and just collapse my hot body there…looking at the Castle and wondering how exactly I will get up there.
The picture doesnt show that I am still a bit higher than the bottom. There is more to go downwards before having to get up again.
I told you I was hot and wacky…
Walk, walk, walk….
Stairs! Climb, climb, climb…wait! What is this sign saying?…LIFT!? I feel most strength coming over me.
Reach the base of the hill and in a building there is a lift it says. I get in and the signs say it costs 100ft. Fine, but I dont have one coin to put in the turn thingy. A shady looking dude pops out of a room next by and blabs something. I show him my change and ask for a coin. He pulls me aside, asks for my coins and then sneakily points to on of the entries. I go through. Who knows what he is doing there, but I dont care, I am through and going UP!!!
I am there.
There are numerous buildings housing various exhibitions and whatnots. I dont feel like walking through either of them. The hill is quite impressive. Huge and high above the city, you can see why a king would want to build their castle up here. It feels strange with all the sudden presence of tourists. They just appear at the famous sights from nowhere, or most likely the buses that dropped them off.
The view from here is of Chain Bridge, the famous old one from my night pictures yesterday.
From here I take on the cobblestone streets to Mathias Church, one of the oldest in Europe. The place has a very touristy feel. Its time to grab something to eat, but trying to avoid the food for the tourists seems to be an impossible task, so finally I plop my tired hot body in one of the restaurants and order lunch.
The service is crap, but the food was delicious. That is paprika chicken stuffed pancake with a pepper sauce and fresh and crispy salad in the lettuce with a yummy dressing.
All was well until I see they charged me 3 times for the juice. I ask whats going on and the waiter explained that the price in the menu is for dl – deciliter! I say great, but I ordered A juice, not 3 deciliters of juice. This is obviously a tourist trap, as the glass of juice worked out to $10! Thats one of the reasons I avoid these places.
He says “sorry…thats how we do it in Hungary”. I explained again that thats fine, but I didnt order three servings of this, just one. He disappears somewhere. A german lady smiles at me and gives me the thumbs up. Ha!
He is not coming back. So I go in. Some chaos…a dude shows up with “Whats up”. The same conversation goes on. He is starting to be condescending and telling me not to “scream”. Which actually makes me want to, but everybody that knows me would know how often that happens, like never. Bla bla bla… He is getting me out of my nerves, the prick. Eventually he adjusts the bill begrudgingly. Prick again.
The church is near by. Unfortunately its under some renovations, but still open to visit.
It looks pretty old and it is. The church was destroyed a few times during history and mainly by the Turks during their occupation of the country. I think they used it for a mosque for awhile too. Still it has been resurrected I guess and its still standing proud.
Close by is the Fisherman’s Bastillion, which is just beautiful.
Down the big stairs and back to the small winding streets with go steeply down now.
I reach the river after while. And here is the parliament again. Its the most impressive building on the Pest side.
Now I am headed to Chain bridge, so I can cross it and get on my way to the apartment. I still have a bit to walk.
Here it is. It is a rather beautiful bridge.
And provides for some good views too.
By now I am wasted. The heat is really starting to get to me. I can feel my head pounding and my body is exhausted. The walk back seems to take forever and every ray of sunlight is like a flame on my skin.
As I get closer I stop by at a convenience store and buy a big cold bottle of water in anticipation for that moment when I have arrived. It serves as a great cooling hugging buddy in the last few minutes.
I open the door, unstick the bag off my shoulder and pill off the clothes off my moist achy and tired body. Gobble down two glasses of water and wobble into the shower. Oh, my GOD! That feels so good…like a wilted flower getting nourishment my body is singing and waking up. Its like every drop of water is giving me a massage…I wish I could explain the feeling, but I am sure you have all been there.
Plop on the bed and had the most enjoyable nap ever…
For dinner I was going back to the Old Amsterdam, as I as after a nice place for a reasonable price. It fitted the bill perfectly.
– aunty’s chicken soup with liver dumplings
_ chicken ($&%*($% (some hungarian name) style with paprika and dill sauce and potato and onion bake.
Both lovely home style meals.
Then I make my way slowly through Budapest’s night streets. Its a lovely summer night and it feels like I have done so much. Sleep will be bliss.
And it was.