A Travellerspoint blog

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Budapest

Day 4 - 1st September - Side trip to Visegrad and Esztergom

sunny 30 °C

Late change. We planned on visiting Lake Balaton this morning however slept in a little and would have arrived too late in the day. We moved Visegrad and Esztergom up the agenda as they required less travel time and we could do both in one day. Good decision.

All aboard. Almost missed the train after a frantic rush to the station. A minute or two to spare before boarding.

First stop Visegrad. Well, it was actually Nagymaros. Visegrad was across the river. We boarded a ferry shortly after arrival and couldn’t resist the open bar across the way. A couple of cocktails before we take a good look around.

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Luck. We walked along the main street towards the historic Castle perched atop a hill and came across a nice man who ran a taxi service of sorts. He offered to take us for a tour of the castle with a few scenic stops throughout our journey for a modest fee.

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Toboggan. The area doubles as a skiing destination in the winter time. They still run the toboggan and monorail in the summer. Obviously, we stopped for a quick burn. Vic squealed like a piggy the whole way.

Visegrad Castle. I can see why the crown was held here. Such a wonderful vantage point. You could see well into the bends of the Danube to warn of any approaching foe. Today, just a stunning view. Simply superb.

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Esztergom. Once we were done the nice man dropped us at the bus stop for our onward journey to Esztergom. 30 or so minutes and we were there.

The town. Another Hungarian gem. Beautifully presented with plenty of eateries and sites to explore. Here the key attraction is the Cathedral again perched at the highest point in the town. Great to look at from afar. We’ll take a closer look once we explore a bit more of the town.

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Sammy Nijinsky. Who would have thought that I had such hidden talents. The music started and so did I. What grace. What control. A genuine treat for any onlooker which mind you was a local that took a quick glance, gave me a funny look and retreated indoors.

Bridge. The main bridge in Esztergom is an actual border crossing between Slovakia and Hungary. Apparently one euro is all that was required to cross. I wasn’t paying the Slovaks. I have 30 euro to recover from their government and I will do it any way I can, starting by avoiding the toll. See dance below. Fk you passport control.

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Esztergom Cathedral. Quite a daunting sight up close. The biggest in Hungary (I think) and one of the largest in Europe. The views were amazing.

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Posted by samandvic 02:32 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Budapest

Day 5 - 2nd September

sunny 31 °C

Laps. Didn’t feel like gym this morning so swam laps instead. The Jacuzzi jets in the pool are sensor activated. I must have triggered them. It was like swimming against a current. Good training for the iron man challenge that I will never do…

Lazy day. Took it easy today. We scoped out where we could do our washing, had a long breakfast and did a bit of nothing really. Lovely.

Ference and Martha. We travelled to Buda to meet up with one of Gabi’s childhood friends, Ference and his wife Martha. They had met Vicki when she was knee high. We sat in their courtyard, drank wine and shared company. It was during this time that Ference invited us for a bit of a regional tour of Hungary the next day. We couldn’t resist the offer. Looking forward to it already. Thanks for the local hospitality.

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Danube cruise. After a quick bite to eat, we jumped aborad a night cruise of the Danube. We thought we had already witnessed all the splendour that Budapest could offer. Wrong.

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Chain Bridge. Vic’s feet were hurting but I wanted to take some more happy snaps from the chain bridge at night. She begrudgingly came along.

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Dancing Monkey. I inconspicuously asked Vic to take a picture of the Buda side of the bridge forcing her to look the other way. When she turned back around, I was down on one knee. It was at this moment I asked my special little monkey for her hand in Marriage. Initially she said, ‘nam’ which is Hungarian for no (bitch) but very quickly took it back, said yes, did the cutest little monkey dance and gave me the biggest embrace a guy could ask for. In the bag!!

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Relieved. It had been months in the planning but with all our spontaneous plan changing, it made it very difficult to seamlessly execute. I think I pulled it off...

The hardware. I've always taken notice of Vicki's taste in jewellery (or jewellers) swaying between the Tiffanys, Bulgaris, DeBeers, etc. of the world but she always came back to Cartier as her favourite. Probably because it is the most expensive! The occasion comes around only but once. I was asking for her hand and heart so compromise was out of the question. Only the best for my girl. The ring wasn’t quite ready so I had to improvise…

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Love you, Piglet

Posted by samandvic 00:42 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Budapest

Day 6 - 3rd September

sunny 33 °C

Early start. We were out the door at 7am. Definitely the earliest start of the holiday thus far. Felt good. We almost always default to lateness but this time we weren’t going to let our Hungarian friends down. We arrived at their place at 8am as agreed.

Tihany. Almost everyone in Hungary recommended we visit Tihany. One of the prettiest towns on the Balaton. They weren’t wrong. It was stationed on a peninsula protruding into the lake and it was raised well above sea level which gave way to some amazing views. If this was a taste of what was to come of the day then we are in for a treat.

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Wine country. We travelled along the northern coast of the Balaton and our next stop was a small wine town. The name escapes me. Ference shouted us a glass of the local good stuff before jumping back in the car to continue our adventure. That was breakfast by the way! When in Rome…

Happy snap. Quick stop for a happy snap or two on the coastline of the Balaton. Glorious views. Rolling hills behind you and the waters of the Balaton into the horizon. Easy to get lost here.

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Medicinal baths. I had shared my fascination for medicinal baths with Ference and Martha when we visited their home. They took us to one near their holiday retreat. It was more like a hospital than a public bath. It had several indoor treatments and medicinal pools but outside there were waterslides, more baths, large swimming pools and several lounging/relaxation areas. Really enjoyed our time here. It was a hot day and the local water was just the remedy we needed to beat the heat.

Ference & Martha’s holiday home. We were lucky enough to visit their holiday house. A three story cottage in the countryside. Beautiful garden rich in flowers, fruit and vegetables. What a tranquil little spot that would just sweep away your sorrow. The fruit was put to great use. Not to eat but to make Palinka (and wine)... but Palinka!! They say you’ve never tasted Palinka until you’ve sampled the home made stuff. Again the locals were right. A little more please, Ference!

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Connected. Once we were done drinking Ference’s secret Palinka stash, we visited another town called Nagykanizsa. The town in which Martha grew up and where her mother still resided. Ference also had family connections to the town. He spent time with his aunt here in his younger years and his grandfather lived here for part of his life as well. What we later learnt from Gabi is that her Grandmother lived here too. Small world.

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Festival. Ference and Martha intentionally steered our journey here partly because the festival was in town. A food festival too. Time to undo the top button, loosen the belt and force my way through the crowd. Self preservation can wait!!

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Funny. When making our return journey, Ference spotted a lady on the side of the street. ‘She is a whore’, he exclaimed. Later he corrected himself, ‘sorry, she is not a whore but more of a slut.’ I think a little was lost in translation however it couldn’t have been written better. Now that is comedy.

Posted by samandvic 00:54 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Budapest

Day 7 - 4th September

sunny 35 °C

Lazy morning. After such a long day yesterday, we thought it best to have a slow morning. It was the hottest day we’d experienced in Budapest. Wise to stay indoors until the sun lost a little intensity.

Washing. Time to do a load or two. Every travellers nightmare. The Laundromat was positioned across the way from a superb little café which afforded us the time to eat brekky while waiting for the machine cycle to end. It easily won the European coffee award. Almost as good as Melbourne coffee!!

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Sunday stroll. Once we’d finished the washing and indulged in a glorious breakfast, we set out on a Sunday stroll. It was so very quiet on the streets of Buda. So pleasant without the masses of tourists around. We visited the house of parliament, which is glorious mind you. Second largest in Europe after London. Spectacular by day and by night.

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Chain Bridge. Our last opportunity to walk the chain bridge before departing Budapest. It was nice to reflect on the events of our special day.

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Inner Peace. We sat on the banks of the Danube, under the chain bridge and shared some silence. Wonderful way to spend the last hour of sunlight before dinner.

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Danube Dinner. The last before leaving Budapest. I had to finish on one of my favourites, Paprikash Cirke (chicken paprika). Almost as good as yours, Gabi. Not quite though but still very yummy.

Palinka day. I have taken a real liking to Palinka during my time here. The sheer number of references made must be a give away. I had Palinka at almost every point during the day. Lost count in the end but I surprisingly didn’t get pissed. Just felt energised and a little happy. Great stuff.

Posted by samandvic 05:35 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Budapest

Day 8 - 5th September

overcast 26 °C

The dreaded packing. My second least favourite part of travelling, closely trailing the day before starting work. It was our hardest pack too because for the first time we’d completely settled in and unpacked all of our clothing. Ouch.

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Brekky. Back to little coffee heaven for brekky and of course a dose of their finest.

Bye Bye Budapest. Today we leave Budapest and head to more regional areas. We’ll definitely make our way back before we leave Hungary entirely but we won’t see much more than the inside of a train station. We’ll miss it. Such a lovely city filled with lovely people. The food is superb, the drink is cheap and the atmosphere whatever you want it to be. We’ll come again no doubt. Time to grab a rattler to the Balaton and do as little as possible.

Posted by samandvic 05:41 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

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