We started off the day with a leisurely breakfast in the Club Lounge….and got out on the street about 11…..heading to the Square to find the Blacksmith….and it was cold and sunny and cloudy, but dry. On the way to the square were many little Christmas Shops….and other various shops, so very active and busy…leading up to the Eye Tower…which is kind of in the middle of the downtown area of Pest. Budapest is actually the combination of two old cities, Buda and Pest….split by the Danube River….with Pest the flatter area on what would be the east side of the River….and the location for many of the older buildings, the government seat, etc. St Stephens Basilica is on this side, along with many of the other historic buildings.
We found the Blacksmith…and then walked over to catch the Hop On Hop Off to go to the Central Market, which is the indoor market that has all kinds of fruits and vegetables on the lower level and then food restaurants on the 2nd level, of which there are probably 25 or 30 places to eat with chairs crammed in around them. We were there at lunch, so extremely busy. We managed to find a couple of interesting shops that had local handmade items….so did some minor shopping before we bought some Gouda chees and bread and had a filling lunch sitting on one of the inside benches, like the locals.
WE then caught the yellow hop on back to the hotel area…took a break….then about 5 it started raining and we had planned to take the night Hop On as it was the Lights Tour on the bus. we left the hotel in plenty of time for the 20 minute walk along the river to Dock 8….but the further we walked the harder it rained….and finally we got to a congested area of walkers and traffic and found out that we had to go down to a lower level to catch the bus….as we found that there is actually a lower level road right along the river that cannot be seen from the upper road where the hotel is. Well, raining hard, hard to see, and a lot of foot and car traffic…and after we kept asking, we found that we had to go to the lower level for dock 8. There was a huge line of people all with umbrellas in a long line that was actually blocking the sidewalk…and finally found, after Audy asked someone in Spanish, “what was this line?”….only to find if was a line for the boat restaurant. We then found that Dock 8 was back down the dock area a bit, so off we went at a run walk….and apparently as we approached the bus area…the bus left and we missed……we waited a few moments…then gave up and headed back to the hotel…still hard rain.
We decided to go on to the restaurant that we had planned to go to after the bus ride (that did not happen)…..and followed good directions to the restaurant, which was a 20 minute walk from the hotel…..where we stopped for a few moments while I took off my soaked T shoes for my other shoes…then off we went.
Found the restaurant and as we walked in were told it was “closed for a private Christmas party”. Well, makes sense, as it is a nice restaurant, so decided to come back on Saturday….
Walked back down to the corner and the Costa Coffee, which usually has good food….got off all of the wet coats,etc….and Audy went up to the counter only to find that almost all of the “food” was gone…..as it was late in the day.
Back on to the street and went about a block and saw a good looking Italian restaurant that was full…so went in and ordered a pizza and salad that was made right in front of you….a very fun looking place with a lot of young and old….and a great setting. The manager came up and greeted us…very nice place. We really had good food…..all great.
Well, just as we were finishing we noticed that some of the lights went out in the back of the restaurant and the long and short was that they lost power in the back of the restaurant…and could no longer cook food….and it kind of threw all into panic, which is understood.
We really enjoyed watching the “goings on”…and for about 30 minutes watched people come and go, and leave….and finally asked for our bill…and our waiter, who was a bit “rattled” to start with as Audy had both a bottle of water and a bottle of ginger…..asked me if card or cash…I said card, and off he went. After about 15 minutes, and talking with the very nice manager about what was going on….and our thinking that with the power off they could not process the credit card….we offered to pay in cash….although we found we did not have enough Hungarian Founts…..so then knew we had some Euros…etc….well, the waiter had never priced from the menu…so this became quite a humorous exercise, to say the least. Long and short…we ended up paying with the card, as all of their billing is on the internet…but a very fun and funny evening.
Back to the hotel in the rain…a good nights sleep and Day 3 is suppose to be rain, and snow, and clearing, and cold. We shall see….with Matthias Church orchestra concert tonight.
More to come.