Wednesday, 8th August 2018
Robert woke up at 03:00 to the sounds of carriages and buffers and when he went to investigate he realised that the sleeper carriage we were in, and the two behind, were stationary at a platform at Salzburg. We had been uncoupled from our engine and the rest of our train and it had disappeared on its way to Budapest without us. Apparently, this is standard practice, otherwise we would have arrived in Budapest too early and not had the chance for a full night’s sleep. At 04:00 we were connected to the Zurich to Budapest sleeper and we were on our way again.
We woke at about 08:00 and once we were up, dressed and ship shape the train steward converted our beds back into chairs and a table and served us our breakfast.
Matilda had been a little concerned when boarding the sleeper the evening before that she might find herself sharing with complete strangers as the berths booked were 32 and 36. The non-sequential numbers were explained by the fact that carriages can not only accommodate three sleeping berths but also three seats – or two seats and a table for breakfast – and all need a different designated number for booking purposes.
Our train arrived in Budapest 50 minutes late, but every cloud has a silver lining as this meant that when we arrived at our hotel we were able to check in to our room immediately.
Having plotted the places we wanted to visit on the map provided by the hotel Robert planned a route past the beautiful and iconic Parliament Building across the Chain Bridge and on the funicular up to St George’s Square and the Fisherman’s Point.
Robert loves a funicular but the view on the journey up was not as good as some we have travelled as the windows in the middle and top compartments are at a height which means you need to stand up and the view is still restricted. The views from Fisherman’s Point however are splendid.
The heat is extreme with temperatures reaching 34 degrees and we invested in return tickets on the funicular. We walked along to the Szabadsag Bridge and were seduced into Bar Anna at the other side by the fine water mist being sprayed over the seating area to provide relief from the heat. It was amusing to watch all the people who veered sharply towards the mist at the edge of the bar to cool themselves.
The Great Market Hall is opposite and this is well worth a visit. A fine architectural space like an enclosed Victorian hot house. Who knew there were so many varieties of paprika?
As has now become customary, where one exists, we like to visit the Hard Rock Cafe in the places we visit and so we dropped in. The local Dreher beer in Budapest is very quaffable and this is now our 17th. Though other family members have visited a further two without us.
Lesson for the day: don’t worry if the train is late, unless you have an important connection.