Sunday, 10 November
We arrived by train from Vienna. We left on the 10:42 AM train and arrived at the Budapest Keleti Station about 13:20. The journey was uneventful.
From the station, we walked to our hotel, the Marmara Hotel Budapest, even though it was lightly raining. The route was about 2.4 miles and was through some neighborhoods that we would likely never see. The rain was not a problem, just a small irritation. The hotel is very nice, includes a free breakfast, and the location is convenient (especially, since it was only a few blocks from where our friends, Susan and Woody, were staying).
After unpacking and a short rest, we looked for a craft beer restaurant for dinner. The one we picked, Patko Bandi Etterem, was not what we were expecting (guess we have to do better search terms). The restaurant had a few bottled beers and 4 drafts, but the food was good.
Monday, 11 November
Today, the Hunters will arrive after an overnight flight so Pat and I are on our own a bit longer. So, after breakfast at our hotel, we decide to walk to Margaret Island, in the middle of the Danube River. The island is named for King Béla IV’s daughter, Margaret, whom he sent to a Dominican nunnery he had built on the island in the 13th century.
The island is 1.55 miles long, and we walked from one end to the other, with stops at several of the sites. We also were able to find 3 geocaches, something we try to do wherever we go. It was a beautiful, crisp day – perfect for a long walk.
By the time we walked off the north end of the island, it was time to have lunch and head back to the hotel. The first part of the route had very few places to eat, so we changed to a busier street. In one of the road crossings, there was an underground metro station that allowed us to easily cross under the street. While at the station, we purchased 10 metro tickets for later use on trams, buses and subways.
We had lunch at Fanyuvo Etterem, a restaurant we had just found on our map. It was a good choice – good Hungarian food. Pat ate a Shopska salad (with sheep cheese and pesto), while I had a Fanyuvo salad (with grilled chicken, bacon and tartar sauce). So tasty!
Went back to the hotel until time to meet the Hunters for dinner at 6:30 PM, near the Budapest Parliament. We left early to walk around the area near the restaurant and Parliament. Then met the Hunters at the Budapest Bistro.
Tuesday, 12 November
The Hunters are available all day since Woody doesn’t have teaching duties today. They have been coming to Budapest almost every year for the last 20+ years, so they know the city very well. We get to take advantage of that knowledge on this trip.
Our first stop was to see Woody’s office at Central European University (CEU). Next, it was the Christmas Market at Vörösmarty ter (square), a short 10-minute walk away. Although not completely operational, there were many stalls and lots of places to eat.
When we left the Christmas Market, we found the Földalatti Metro Line M1, the oldest line in Budapest and the 3rd oldest line in Europe. It has “been in constant operation since 1896”.
When we got off the metro, we were near the Budapest Jewish Quarter and walked around. We stopped at Franz Liszt Academy of Music, where we got tickets for a concert tomorrow night. Next was lunch at Két Szerecsen, a bistro “[o]pened almost 20 years ago, Két Szerecsen is a fixture in the Budapest restaurant scene. It’s located between the stately Andrássy Avenue and the Jewish Quarter’s main artery, Király Street” (Offbeat Budapest).
We continued walking through the Jewish Quarter, where we saw several “ruin bars” (although we didn’t enter any of them) and the Dohány Street Synagogue.
The Klauzál Market Hall was our next stop. It was a fun place to get out of the rain. Pat and I love to visit places like this (reminds us of the Westside Market in Cleveland, Ohio).
Dinner tonight was Vig Bistro.
Wednesday, 13 November
Today it was just Susan, Pat and me on visit to Castle Hill. We got off our bus near Matthias Church (Mátyás Templom) and Fisherman’s Bastion (Halászbástya). We did not go into the church, but headed directly to Fisherman’s Bastion, with great view across the Danube to the Pest side. Fisherman’s Bastion was built from 1895 to 1902 as a place for panoramic views. It is supposed that the name was based on a section of the Buda wall protected by fisherman.
As we walked toward the Buda Castle, we passed a sign pointing to “the Labyrinth”. We had had a recommendation from our friend Helga to visit this place. We did and enjoyed our selves. However, while working on this post, I ran across several sites discussing the correct name of the caves. I often rely on Altas Obscura and will adopt their name – Panoptikum Budapest. This is part of the cave system under Buda Castle Hill. We enjoyed the walk through this portion of the cave system. The brochure, available at the ticket office, still call this “The Labyrinth”, confusing the issue of the name even more. The map below is from a closed website. The following website appears to use The Labyrinth and makes no mention of the controversy: Labirintus.
We had lunch at Trinity Bolcsvar Cafe and bookstore across from Matthias Church. Then we left Castle Hill and headed out of Budapest to visit a yarn dying company (because why not?), north of the city. This involve taking the #17 tram to its last stop north, Bécsi út / Vörösvári út. From there we walked to Bilum Hand Dyed Yarns. It should have been a 15-20 minute walk, but Google Maps stopped us a couple of blocks short of the shop. After searching around and asking some people, Pat called the owner and got better directions.
Tonight we are going to a concert at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, but first dinner at Cafe Vian, near the Academy. The concert was by Danubia Orchestra Óbuda, playing Tchaikovsky’s Suite “Mozartiana” in G Major, Ustvolskaya’s 1st Symphonic Poem and Mozart’s Symphony in C Major “Jupiter”. Although the seats were not in the best location, the music was excellent. [Note: Tchaikovsky in Hungarian is Csajkovszkij, which I didn’t know until I saw the program on the internet.]
Thursday, 14 November
Pat and I met Susan at her apartment, this morning, then went exploring her neighborhood (just north of the Margit Bridge, east of the river). On Google Maps, the area is identified as Újlipótváros (no idea how this might be spoken). This is actually a cool Hungarian neighborhood.
We found a couple of yarn shops, one of which sold Bilium yarn.
I then talked Pat and Susan into having lunch at BrewDog Budapest. It was not far from Woody’s office so he met us there.
After lunch, Woody went back to the Central European University to prepare for his afternoon lecture. We walked through a small Christmas Market, then headed back to the Jewish Quarter. Our goal was the New York Cafe, a famous cafe in Italian Renaissance style. We had lattes and hot chocolate and shared 2 Somloi Sponge Cakes. This place was way over the top and not our usual cafe experience. However, we’re glad we experienced it.
This was our last day in Budapest and we had a 6 AM flight back to the Florida. We had booked a hotel at the airport and decided go there rather than have dinner in town. Therefore, after a glass of wine with the Hunters in their apartment, we went back to the Marmara Hotel and took a cab to the airport hotel, ibis Styles Budapest Airport.
Friday, 15 November
Our early flight, leaving Budapest flew through Paris and back to Miami. We had another excellent adventure in Vienna (with Olessia) and Budapest (with the Hunters). Now starts the planning for the next trips.