We have found that in Eastern Europe purchasing tickets can be quite a complicated affair; you first buy a voucher which you take to a place to swap for a ticket before embarking on the event. This even proved to be the case when we caught a train from Vienna to Budapest, even though we had booked our journey online and printed out the reference number at home, Dad and I had to get up early, find a railway station where we printed our actual tickets, before the train left its origin to secure our seats. We then had to go to the actual station where we caught the train.
With the start of the World Cup our trip shifted in focus from the cultural experience of Vienna to a search for a place that was televising the soccer. Luckily Budapest is full of bars and most places appeared to have 3 or 4 TV screens. We managed to find such a bar which had unusually heavy security. After mistaking a security guard for the maitre d’, we later found out that this restaurant was also hosting the German ambassador, who was also enjoying the soccer.
Unfortunately I had been battling a cold and sinus issues, so I stayed in bed while Jason, Mum, Dad and Rosie walked across chain bridge and up to the castle for beautiful views of the city. Here’s mum and dad enjoying the views.
When I was feeling better, we all went on an evening river cruise along the blue Danube. Although we had to endure another ridiculous palava of buying a voucher from our hotel, which we had to take to another hotel to swap for a ticket, where we were escorted across a road and through one boat, up the back stairs of another boat (because we had Rosie in the pram) before we sat down with a very welcome glass of champagne and some live music. Once the boat started to cruise, it was a beautiful way of spending the evening.
Another highlight for us was visiting the Szechenyi Thermal Spa. We had hired a little wooden cabin to change and spent time wallowing in beautiful hot water, in the afternoon sun. There was also a more exciting whirl and bubble pool which had quite a strong current. Even a hardened Hungarian would find it difficult to stifle a giggle as they whizzed around and bumped into everyone.
Once we had got a grip on the metro system (which is very good), we also spent a lovely morning walking the length of Margaret Island and another morning exploring the market and spending up our Hungarian HUF. The market was like a massive hungarian gift shop and so I loved it!
As we came to the end of our trip, our afternoons were mostly spent watching the world go by whilst we sipped tea (or beer) in one of the many cafes and bars of Budapest.
I’ll finish the Eastern Europe leg of our trip with this picture of the Danube from one of Jason’s morning runs.