Buda Pest – A Tale of Two Cities

Buda – from Bleda, brother of Attilla the Hun and Pest either from Pession – a Roman fortress or the Bulgarian word for cave. No wonder they have such a violent history. Now you know.

Well here we are in Budapest, Hungary. If anyone had told us 16, 10, 5, 1 year ago that we would find ourselves freezing on the banks of the “Blue” Danube in May of 2016, we would likely have guffawed at and even mocked them.  Alas, they would have been correct.

First, the average daily temperature is supposed to be 21°. Hah! We arrived late Friday night: Sat. 19° with rain, Sun. 14° with wind which made if feel like -10°, Mon. 14°, Tues. 15°, Wed. 13°. We have not been warm. Jan and Peter were here 11 months ago and it was over 25°

Saturday we wandered down the “Blue” (maybe it is blue when the sun shines and the sky is blue – we wouldn’t know.) We found ourselves at the huge central market which sells, as far as I could tell, paprika, meat, vegetables, Hungarian crafts and, did I mention, paprika.

There were many, many many stalls which sold paprika - and yes, these are all containers of paprika.

There were many, many, many stalls which sold paprika – and yes, these are all containers of paprika. (Did I say many stalls?)

We had planned on getting something to eat at the market, but the stall restaurants were so busy, it would have been easier to move on Nanjing Road East during National Holiday. So we went across the street to the For Sale pub – really, that is its name. Apparently they have the best goulash in Budapest. It is a throwback to the days of straw and peanut shells on the floor. Although, in Hungary they are not called peanuts, they are called monkey nuts and they come in large containers.

For Sale

Not to worry, that is only my debit card

Not to worry, that is only my debit card

Ria wanted just a light lunch so she order salad and a little fried cheese.

It came with rice...

Those three patties are the cheese, but it did come with rice…

The two men at the next table ordered a “Mixed Salad” to go with their plated meal.

Mixed Salad: Whole onions, whole peppers, stuffed peppers, dill pickles, olives, sauerkraut, cauliflower and the kitchen sink...

Mixed Salad: Whole onions, whole peppers, stuffed peppers, dill pickles, olives, sauerkraut, cauliflower and the kitchen sink… That bowl is 6″ deep and 10″ across.

The Hungry Threesome weren't so hungry after lunch.

The Hungry Threesome weren’t so hungry after lunch.

Sunday we took the Hop On Hop Off bus. To say that it was an adventure is to understate the case. Before we embarked on that adventure, however, we visited Starbucks, where I experienced a morale dilemma.

I was sitting there, minding my own business when I saw this fellow get up from a table near the door and get in the typical long Starbucks’ line. He picked two pounds of coffee off the shelf, exclaimed “frustration” at the length of time it was taking him to pay and walked back to his table, where I saw him put the bags into his backpack. He saw me see him and then kept looking to see if I was going to do anything. After fifteen minutes of inactivity on my part, he got back into line, took another pound, expressed his frustration, shoved it under his jacket and went back and sat down. What would you have done? As I left, I looked him straight in the eye and shook my head. He didn’t react – just looked at me as if to say “You do what you do to survive.”

My moral dilemma - say something or ignore it

My moral dilemma – say something or ignore it

And now on to the bus tour. It was the least entertaining and informative bus tour we have ever taken. It was also the coldest. The wind was bitter. H.ow bitter? Wait

Now, if I was an intelligent traveller I would check things out before buying tickets. For example

Look closely at the yellow square

Look closely at the yellow square


Time to get off

Time to get off

Since all their buses were already out, if you wanted to continue you had to wait at least 30 minutes before the next one came along, and, because it was a holiday, it was going to be packed even before our bunch could get on. We walked.

Eventually we caught another one and continued on. We headed for the Castle District. On the way, the tour bus told us that the statue of Saint Gerard was there because in 1046 he had rolled down the hill and died. Actually, marauding hordes put him in a barrel, nailed it shut and rolled it down the cascading waters. Maybe the tour company didn’t want to offend the marauding hordes.

Gallant Hill is named after Saint Gerard. Huh?

Gellart Hill is named after Saint Gerard. Huh?

And somewhere in the Castle District Terry spied this sculpture.

I hope this wasn't a real queen. The sculptor/painter might have been shot for this likeness.

I hope this wasn’t a real queen. The sculptor might have been shot for this likeness.

By the time we were ready to leave the Castle District we had bought someone a red hoodie to make give her a fifth layer. She was either hoping to be incognito or was trying to stop her eyes from freezing.

Who's cold?

Who’s cold?

The Shoe Blog

Again we wander from one part of the body to another. Now, I want you to know that Terry, not Geoff, took this photo of a 4 story high billboard. Many thoughts come to mind.

  1. The model is much too young to need Magic Boost
  2. Does this mother really dress like this to pack her son around?
  3. The kid is looking waayyy too happy for someone his age.

Magic Boost



3 thoughts on “Buda Pest – A Tale of Two Cities

  1. Peter Therrien

    You’re right, Geoff. We wandered the streets of Budapest in shorts and flip-flops, but it was three weeks later. Jan was very self-conscious because she thought she was the only woman wearing shorts. Such a beautiful city (except for the masses of graffiti). Did you do a night tour or was it too cold.

  2. Lois & Robert Marsden

    Re the Starbucks….since you asked, I likely would have said something re the coffee thief, especially when he was so greedy.
    I did that in our bar down south when two young men came in and took some condiments. I asked if they knew that was stealing and they put it back and gave me the finger. I managed to survive the stress and humiliation. Have a warm day tomorrow.

  3. martincreggguinan

    Stop whining……it’s 5 bucks a bottle of wine and the food is great……

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®4


Leave a Reply