So yesterday involved all of us travelling towards Budapest. Jennifer and Declan went through Dubai and then flew straight in. Callum and I spent a lovely day whizzing along in a train from Munich, past snow-covered fields and hundreds of wind-turbines. We met at our apartment in the centre of Budapest.
So this morning we slept in, and then went out into a lovely cold, clear day. We walked down to the Danube and then over the river and up the winding road to Buda Castle. The castle sprawls over the top of one of two hills on the Buda side of the Danube. There has been something there since the 1200s, but the big buildings that stand out now were built in the 1700s. Regardless of timing, the buildings are beautiful especially against the backdrop of the rest of the city and highlighted y snow.
Although the Fisherman’s Bastion features in most guides and photos, I was less taken with it that other parts of the castle – it feels a bit too forced and pristine. It does offer fantastic views of the Hungarian Parliament which from a couple of kilometres away is too distant to see the lingering tear gas from the huge protests yesterday. In a strange discontinuity, the Hungarian populace is prepared to support the right-wing government’s anti-immigration policies, but hates being forced to do the additional overtime hours which the government is mandating as a solution to the danger of the economy crashing because there isn’t enough work getting done. Anyway, there are a lot of police and soldiers around but we have no way of telling if that’s normal or because of the protests.
It wasn’t snowing today but there was a lot of snow on the ground. Certainly enough for a rolling snowball fight as we made our way up the castle hill and over the top. We had a goulash lunch up on the top as much to warm up as to eat anything.
We have now transition smoothly, from my point of view, from travelling with Callum, who knows a frightening amount about rockets and space, to travelling with Declan, who knows an equally frightening amount about flags and obscure history.
This evening we went to the Christmas Market for dinner. It’s a nice market but not as atmospheric as Frankfurt. We all chose to have a local delicacy which pretty much can be described a platter of deep-fried dough. It was definitely one of those things that was more appealing from a distance. Tasty, but none of us managed more than a quarter of one.