Thursday, 3 September 2015

Budapest Day 1, September 3, 2015

We attacked today with a vengeance. The morning coffee I made tasted strange.  With Jill’s amazing detective work she discovered we had bought two bottles of sparkling water and not one sparkling and one flat. Sparkling water doesn’t make good espresso. The labels were not easy to read since they were in Hungarian.
Our apartment on the second floor, the two white windows above the red sign

Off we went exploring. St. Stephen’s Basilica is just down the main street from our apartment and is fabulous. Behind it there is a huge square and pedestrian street, which took us to the River Danube and the Chain Bridge. 

Jill said stick out your belly and stand next to him 

 Nice hat Pete?

Nice gate

Buda Castle from the Pest side of the Chain Bridge

We walked across the bridge stopping to take many snaps along the way and arrived in Buda, just below the famous Buda Castle. There are two ways up, by funicular or by foot. 
The lineup for the funicular

At the bottom we heard cars honking and noticed a large police presence with officers holding up traffic in all directions. A motorcade made its way across the bridge and through a magnificent archway under the castle and we wondered what it was about. 

We continued on our way choosing the slow, challenging way up, which has views you would otherwise miss. 
 Views from Buda to Pest

I lost sight of Jill and there she was.  I zoomed in. 

As we got close to the top, we could hear traditional type parade music and Jill said, “let’s go see what this is about”. 
Jill leading me to the music

There was an army band, soldiers on horseback, foot soldiers and a ton of plainclothes security. We had heard on the news a few days ago that the EU was going to meet on Thursday to discuss the refugee crisis and sure enough, it was Thursday. Right in front of us on the red carpet was the President of Hungary, Janos Ader, and dozens of EU country leaders. They were meeting at the Hungarian President’s house at the top of Buda Castle. There were two security guards in particular that caught my attention, both holding very large bulky black leather bags, which I guessed held large automatic weapons. This was a historic moment we stumbled upon.
 Check out the formal big weapon bag the security guard is holding
 The President of Hungary

The Hungarian President's house

The views from the top were spectacular as the pictures tell the story. 
 A close relative of the Australian Magpie? Posser. 

 Do you see Jill?

 The Basilica

All that climbing and walking made us hungry so were headed back to Pest for some goulash soup. It was good but not as good as I anticipated and it was expensive at $27 dollars for a beer, a wine, and two soups, not a good start. We were still hungry and walked to the Jewish Quarter and had a schnitzel and two beers at a more reasonable $14 CDN and it was delish. Jill and I shared it and were now full. 
 I was really hungry in Hungary...
and then all the beer was gone

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