Sunday, June 1 - on the comfortable, modern train for the 3hr ride to Budapest. Homemade sausage, crusty bread, cheese and Almdudler make a nice lunch as the countryside whizzes by.
Breakfast at the Gerloczy, was all-you-can-eat, sumptuous goodness with fresh-baked bread available every morning. The Hungarian omelets and duck liver terrine were especially noteworthy.
We each purchased a 3-Day metro pass, allowing use of all public transit (subway, tram and city bus) routes. We found the public conveyances clean, efficient, and the sprawling city easy to navigate. First we explored St Istvan's Basilica, then stopped for a traditional Hungarian dinner.
Hungarian Cuisine - was the most interesting (and most spicy) in Eastern Europe. This evening we ate at Belvarosi Lugas Etterem, which served us medallions of venison in paprika sauce, roasted potato dumplings and poppyseed cake. It was so exciting to be in a land where the chili pepper is venerated. The little pot on the table is filled with a hot pepper salty concoction called Eros Pista. We tried it on everything.
After a lovely breakfast (pictured earlier), we felt fortified to face a tough day of sightseeing. Our knowledgeable local guide Aniko led us on a walking history tour of both sides of the Danube River. We visited Pest (the new city), including lovely streets, parks, museums, the Szechenyi Baths and Heroes Square. We finished on the Buda (old) side of the river, visiting 15th Century Matthias Church and sustaining ourselves with snacks at Ruzwurm the oldest cafe (1827) in Budapest.
We returned to Pest in time to attend an organ concert that rocked St. Istvan's Cathedral (including Toccata and Fugue in D Minor).
Budapest's architecture was lovely and varied. Mostly dating from the mid-19th century, there were buildings designed in Art Nouveau (my favorite), Neo-Gothic, Neo-Classical, Neo Romantic, Neo-Neo-Neo styles, reflecting the wealth pouring into the city as a result of the treaty naming Hungary as co-rulers of the Autro-Hungarian Empire.
Three days in Budapest was the bare minimum. We all would have easily found enough to do for 5 days or even a week! Budapest is a lovely, exciting city.....
Tomorrow our trusty iron horse will take us to the medieval town of Pecs, in southwestern Hungary.