Right! So we are one week into our rail trip to places beginning with the letter “B” (OK not Munich but it’s in Bavaria!) and as we are settled on the train to Budapest just now, I will try to give you a summary of how it has been as regards the travelling.

Maybe it was being brought up on South Road with the old railway line right across from our living room window, or maybe it was my memories of steam train journeys to and from Leeds to visit my English grandparents, but I’ve always loved travelling by train. Especially on European trains, I find them interesting, romantic, comfortable, well-priced and very relaxing. It is totally de-stressing to sit back on a comfortable seat and watch mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and little villages wizz by your window. Mary finds it so as well and because we’re not in a hurry, 2-4 hour trips are a doddle and give us serious “chill” time. Heavens, I’m writing this on my iPhone as we roll through southern Slovakia towards the Hungarian border and onwards to Budapest! This train is smooth, clean, quiet and sickeningly punctual as most of them seem to be.

Compared to the many flights we’ve had, the train comes out a clear winner. No 2 hours beforehand, no baggage restrictions, room to breathe and arrival in a city centre means it’s no contest if you have the time which you really do in Europe. Nowhere is very far away and borders are still crossed with impunity. Remember that, Brexiteers.

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Main station Budapest

Anyway, we reached Budapest around 4 and walked the half-mile to our apartment which was not terribly easy to find, requiring me to call the landlady to get her to come down and greet us. Our first impression was reserved to say the least. But when she opened the door to our apartment … Well, we found ourselves in a 3-room flat of the old Empire style with high ceilings, a huge amount of space, fully-equipped kitchen, all mod cons and all of this overlooking one of the great boulevards of Budapest. This was a massive plus for us in financial, cultural and convenience and comfort terms. If you want the details just send us a message.

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Main room 1

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Main room 2

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And look what’s along to the left…. Tesco!

The landlady proved to be overwhelmingly helpful and we almost had to throw her out to get a chance to settle down. Mary put on a washing, jumped in the bath and I went out to get some Hungarian Florints at an ATM. My stomach then took me to a Turkish carry-out where Schnitzel and Rice set me back 1200 florints! Thankfully that translated into 4 Euros so I kept that smug grin on my face.

While we were at the station we decided to buy our ticket back to Vienna on Thursday morning, the 08.40 express. Imagine our delight when the price proved to be 30 Euro LESS than we’d read on the Internet at 13 Euro each! Check that out if you want: window seat reservation on international express Budapest to Vienna. Even we are a touch gobsmacked at that bargain.

For tea we decided to eat in, so popped over to the supermarket opposite (don’t ask me to tell you its name: it was something akin to ” caramel pavlova”) (just way too many “y”s and “z”s in between!). A spaghetti and mushroom concoction was then prepared back in our apartment, accompanied by ¬†Pilsner Urquell, Hungarian Merlot and Cola Light. I leave you to puzzle over who had what! The rest of the evening was devoted to reading up the history of Hungary and Budapest in particular and planning our next 2 days.

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Towels folded into a swan shape on our bed

Question: which Hungarian footballer led the attack for the Real Madrid team of the late 50s/early 60s when they dominated the European Cup? No using Google!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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