Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chelsea in Budapest Part III

Sunday, October 27

Our alarms went off at 9am and we finally got up and got with it in a timely manner. We ate a moderate breakfast (meager compared to the two before it) consisting of two eggs, some sausage and the last of the baguette. We headed out around 11am and got our bikes at 11:30am, just in time to have a complete 6 hours and turn the bikes in at 5:30, right before closing time.

The bikes were actually pretty decent. Romeo's had a bell, but mine didn't. I wish they'd have had a basket, but otherwise they ran well and were pretty comfortable (although my booty today would disagree!). Our first stop was Parliament. We got to the back side of the huge building only to find fences blocking our view due to construction. We tried to navigate around the people but with bikes, it was a bit tiring. We finally decided to jump back on the bikes (we had been walking them) and see the building from the other side of the river later.

So, after that we headed to Margaret Island in the middle of the Danube. We biked to mid-way across the bridge over the Danube and then turned right onto the entrance road for the island. There were loads of people renting four-wheel multi-person bikes, kids two-seater bikes, even small golf cart type-vehicles. I was very glad we had rented the bikes and ridden them onto the island, as these all looked more cumbersome and more expensive (and more annoying).

We saw a large fountain in the middle of the park when we first got on the island and everyone was watching it expectantly so we stopped to see what might happen. About 2 or 3 minutes later, some music started and the fountain began! It was a water-show to some Hungarian music. It was cool to watch, but when the second song started we decided to continue biking. The island is about 2km long, and while we did not do a proper circumference, we probably biked the same amount. It was like one big nature reserve. Tons of trees, all of which had orange and yellow leaves both in their branches and covering the ground below.

We took a little break and laid in the leaves under a big oak and had a cookie from our snack bag. It was beyond gorgeous and I couldn't be happier. After a bit, we hopped back on the bikes and finished the island. After we got to the hilly Buda side of the river (we were staying on the flat Pest side), we took the path along the river, the same which I had stormed along the previous evening heading home. We paused across from Parliament and tried to get some photos. There was a big boat in the way, so our photos unfortunately are marred by that pestilence.

By then we were ready for some lunch, so we biked around the back roads and found a cafe serving goulash (which I was craving since the night before). We each had some stew, Romeo trying Hungarian cabbage and meat stew since there was only one serving of goulash left and he was a gentleman to let me have it. Since we had already completed 7 miles, we treated ourselves to some dessert and I chose apple pie. It was an odd kind of apple pie, as it looked like more of a tart being a square flat pastry. But, it was pretty good.

We finished eating and continued our path towards the Citadel area which google claimed had unrivaled views of the city. For some reason, I really wanted fantastic views more than anything in Budapest. We biked to the base of the hill and locked up the bikes. From there we had to hike up to the top, which was about 3/4 mile. It was a beautiful area, full of trees and couples walking along paths. Budapest also seems to have so many dogs! People seemed to take their dogs everywhere, and this area was no exception. We watched dogs playing along the hillside and enjoying the weather maybe more than I was enjoying it.

When we got to the top, the views were phenomenal. We were pretty tired by then, but still took some photos (finally, I got our photo with a view!). A couple next to us offered to take our photo in return for taking theirs. I agreed, of course, as I am always trying to find someone to take a photo for us. The guy's camera was badass! It was huge and I didn't blame him at all when he made sure to hang the strap around my neck. The photo I took was awesome, too. I love my camera, and I think it's perfect for my needs and lifestyle, but when I get filthy rich one day, I WANT THAT CAMERA!

We then headed back down and grabbed the bikes. Originally I had wanted to go to the Central Market Hall, but with our dwindling funds (down to about 1500 HUF, or $8, total), I decided against any temptation to spend money. Instead we crossed back to the Pest side and biked along the river. We caught a beautiful sunset against the backdrop of the Citadel and wound our way through the streets once we could no longer follow the river. We stopped by a grocery store and bought some more sausages.

We returned the bikes right at 5:30, and walked home. Along the way, we bought metro tickets with the last of our remaining money to get us to the train station the following day. We literally had pennies in our pockets, maybe totaling $0.40.

We got home and collapsed. I fought the temptation to take a nap and instead made some dinner: the last of the pasta, two sausages, and two potatoes (fried). We ate and lamented the lack of more food, but I was full by the end.

We fell asleep early, after each of us talking to our parents on FaceTime/Skype. It was a full and exhausting day, and we had to wake up and pack in order to make our train the following day to Bratislava. All in all, I fell in love with Budapest, probably due in large part to the phenomenal weather we experienced and the sunshine I had missed severely in our rain-soaked previous locations. So far, I am loving Eastern Europe!

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