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Friday, September 16, 2016

             LAST DAYS PART II

 I mentioned the giant escalators earlier and wanted to show what they look like. Getting on them should be sort of easy ... like just walking on, but I jumped every time. They're really fast and steep.
I noticed on our last night the people on the other side look like they're bent forward going down; it has a weird prospective. A guy passed us going up and his legs looked shorter than they were too.

 There really is no privacy anymore. These 2 women were not together, but the one on the right was clearly reading what was on the other's phone. This also gives me the opportunity to show the most common dress on young women...short shorts. Anyone remember hot pants? If you do, you're my age! But I bet your mother never wore them to your wedding.
 They were under a long skirt, which she did stitch halfway up the front.

For our last meal, we decided to try Zsofia's recommendation for authentic Hungarian food. By now, I've developed a small blister on a toe, hips and legs are hurting, and I have no energy to walk another 20-25 min.  Matthew too. 
So we metro'ed it both ways and only got a little lost getting there. They save tables, so we knew it was ours from 6-8. The restaurant is called Getto Gulyas (ghetto goulash). Sort of scary name, but it was a great spot and wonderful, modernistic decor. The walls are turquoise-colored corrugated metal, open windows with plants and candles on the sills, and a menu of different stews from which to choose. 

I asked if they had fruit soup, which though not on the menu they did, so I started with my last bowl of sour cherry soup. Not a bad start. 
Yes, that is whipped cream.  

I had something I never order--veal. Here's the description: Paprika veal stew with homemade sour cream and baked curd cheese noodles rolled in bacon 
 The potatoes were sliced paper thin and were singly the best thing I had on all the trip.  The description is from their FB page, which is their only website, I think.
 This was Matthew's rabbit with dumpling. He said he's eaten rabbit many many times over the years including from his own yard, and this was the best he's ever had. That's really saying something.
 Going to Budapest? Go to this restaurant!

The people next to us had this for dessert, and dinner was so fabulous, we decided to split this as well. 
Homemade curd cheese dumplings with cinnamon sour creme
By the way, 920 is the cost--about $3.15
And they were freaking great! OMG that sour creme with cinnamon!

  Interior is sort of like a light cheese cake, but Matthew hates cheesecake and gobbled this up, so it's not really....

I think it's good we're heading home now. I've eaten enough, mostly very good food, and need to get back to a decent sleep and a diet of vegetables and salads. We are staying in a hotel not far from the airport because of flight leaves at 6:30am and we need to be up and out by 5. The good news is we arrive at SFO at 1:30 pm, which is a rarity.  The other good news is they have a wellness center, so I had a 90 min. massage when I got here. Ahh
 Travel is not easy. Long flights, sleeping in strange beds, spending 25 hours a day with the same person, eating out at least twice everyday, walking more than normal, sharing a space with the same person...oh, did I say that already? It's worth it to see beautiful and interesting places and broaden one's outlook and experiences.
I'll be glad to get home and kiss my kitties.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Last Days of 2016 Trip

 For the second to last day, we decided to do the Parliament Building tour, which meant going there buying tickets, and the returning on the appointed time, which for us, was 2 hours later. They have tours in many languages and a board shows what times and how many tickets are available.
 I started taking pictures on our walk there because every corner turned showed more beautiful buildings.

 And this is the Parliament...pretty spectacular on the outside and amazingly ornate and rich inside as well.

 We walked around for the next couple of hours, stopping for coffee and a muffin in a local place.

Inside was decorated so well, but we chose to sit outside under umbrellas.

 I often get intrigued by the shoes people wear for travel and start taking pics of feet instead of sites. One of these days, I might make a collage of shoe pictures from other countries. 

Waiting waiting waiting....and we ran into Marcus the man from Munich who had been on the food tour. We also saw him the da before at the baths, but he was in a pool as we walked by and it would be have been a weird place and time to stop to chat.

 Won't explain much, but this building is over the top. We saw the crown jewels, but not allowed to take photos in there. When the Hungarians knew they were sure to be bombed by the Germans, they removed all the stained glass from this building and kept it safe in the basement until after the war.

I had Matthew take this one for my nephews.....
Ronald Regan's statue is in Liberty Park near the monument erected when the Russians came to liberate the Hungarians.  Little do they know, Communism would reign for years and they would rue the day they created that statue. They've left it as a reminder, albeit an ironic one.

 Cool fountain where people can periodically walk into the center of it and be surrounded by water.
 We came upon this purely by accident. I was staring at this sculpture, which is an eagle with a swastika on it swooping down on the freedom-loving Hungarians. The Hungarians originally helped the Nazis invade Poland, but the Nazis turned on them when they didn't hand over their Jews fast enough.
I then looked down and in front of me were many stones laid on the ground with other objects, such as plants, a pair of old shoes, etc and above it, a string of pictures with comments on them. They were written by family members who had lost someone in the concentration camps. Some were long stories and some said simply, "These were my grandparents who died in Auschwitz before I was born."
 It breaks my heart.

Group Bathing

  Admittedly, I had some trepidations about going to the bath house. The waters are mineral water of varying temperatures ranging from fairly cold to very hot. They have 17 pools of water from which to choose and the place is massive...and beautifully old. We read ahead of time about getting a private cabin for changing and leaving our things. When we arrived, a young man approached us and asked if we needed assistance in understanding what they have to offer. We chose a program that allowed us a cabin, 30-minute massages, wrist bands that got us upstairs into the massage area with unlimited fresh fruit, tea, and water in their Palm House, which was a beautiful setting and very relaxing. We were given rubber wrist bands with a water-proofed RFID chip in it which opened the door to our cabin. 

Here's our first view of the outside of Szechenyi Bath House:

 We were taken on a guided tour after paying, and I took my phone so I could get photos before locking it in the cabin. These people were doing water aerobics with weights, which is offered for anyone wanting to join, I think. You can see beyond this room to more pools of varying sizes.  I couldn't really take more pictures of people in the water where they were staring at me walking by. I must say, it's unusual to find me walking anywhere in a bathing suit in front of an audience.
  This is the Palm House....

 Three outdoor pools, and we tried all of them first.  Some people just come for this and pay for the day to be in these pools. The first one actually has 3 parts to it. The outer part has some jets that shoot up and folks grab one to get a sort of massage as they move around on it. Then there's an opening to move into towards the center and that part had a current that moved you along. Finally, the one in the center had seats with small jets coming out where you sat.
 The next pool was a little warmer and the last pool was their thermal pool, which was the warmest of the outdoor ones. They say to only stay in about 20 minutes. We went inside after this to try out several more.
  We ate in their cafe, which was so-so. Well, I had a bag of Lay's potato chips with paprika and thought they were pretty good! Then we went upstairs and relaxed with water and fruit before our massages.
 I couldn't believe it was only 30 minutes. It was relaxing...and was only a covered mattress on the floor instead of a table. She was SO good...I could have stayed there all day.
 A bit of confusion where to return the towels and robes for our deposit after changing, but all worked out well and off we went back to the metro with me in my very wet Ecco sandals, which I hoped were really waterproof.
 We had made reservations at Cafe Kor for 2pm but I emailed and said we wouldn't get there till at least 3, and they emailed that 3 would be fine. But then at that baths, the first massage time we could get was 2:25, so we screwed up again. I emailed our apology and asked for a later time again.
 We did get in, and they were wasn't crowded at that time (5:30). This being our main meal of the day turned out to be a perfect other old early-bird dinner people, ugh.
It's a charming place with just 3 tables outside. I liked our waiter. He kept his eyes on us without being intrusive...and you can see when we started, there was only one table of businessmen behind us, they left and a few couples wandered in as we were there.
 First course was my wonderful cold fruit soup and we shared the appetizer plate with foie gras, brie, carpaccio, some kind of chicken with fat, tomatoes, onions, potato salad, cucumbers.
  The waiter suggested Tokay, their wonderful sweet wine, with our shared main course of grilled goose liver with apples and potatoes.

 Every bite was so good, we decided to each get their house desserts of the night--plum streusel and plum and sour cherry pie, both came with homemade ice cream.

And here's the bill
About $52

After dinner, we decided to stroll over the Chain Bridge which connects Buda to Pest. Again, so much beauty:

 I wanted to see the inside of the 4 Seasons which we'd passed before. It's gorgeous inside...this is just their ceiling and chandelier but you can't see the stained glass along the edges.
 Night walking in a city is great and something we never do at home. Of course, in El Granada, it's often too cold and foggy to even want to walk during the day!