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A good day out

Budapest, Hungary

We've been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast with the idea of saving the places we want to visit that will mean being inside for a rainy day. Day by day the prediction of rain and thunder storms has moved back towards Thursday, which will be our last full day, so we decided to take another day out of town, this time to Szentendre 20 kms North of Budapest on the banks of the Danube. It is mentioned as the most easy place to visit outside Budapest in the Rough Guide and 40 mins later we arrived via the HEV suburban railway at this pretty little town. The plan was to combine the trip with a visit to the Hungarian Open Air Museum 4 kms out of town. The buses don't run there between 10am and 1 pm so we spent a couple of hours wandering the back streets and walking down to the river. There is major construction work going on in the village square and we felt sorry for one particular restaurant right in front of the fenced off area with diggers and drills working away – surprise, surprise they had no customers! Back to the bus station and thank goodness for our guide book which has place names also written in Hungarian so we are able to point out where we want to go and everyone, without fail, has tried to help us or called someone else over to see if they can understand what it is we want. Tickets purchased we boarded the bus and found that our stop was ¾ of the way round a circular route only operating in one direction. We arrived at the Museum just before 2 pm and downed 2 large beers (well one each!) and some lovely scone like bread before wandering round. The park is set out with buildings typical of the different regions that comprised old Hungary.
Before the Treaty of Trianon at the end of the First World War Hungary's territory included some of what is now within Bosnia, Serbia, Transylvania and Romania. Most of the buildings that we decided to concentrate on dated from 1800s onwards. It was surprising to note that in the early 20th century many villages had typically thatched houses , with fairly spartan furnishing.
Temperatures around 30º again and not a black cloud in sight, we made our way back. All the transport is right on time and really reasonable – thumbs up to Hungary. Our 7 day pass cost 4,600 ft (£13 approx) and we only had to pay a slight supplement to make the journey beyond the city district today. The pass covers buses, trams, metro and HEV to the city limits; most of the little buses that operate in the city centre are not in the first flush of youth - indeed most of the transport has been well used and worked hard so has a rather care worn look about it. As we exited the metro station to catch the bus back to our hotel it started to rain and as I type the last rolls of thunder are fading away. It's certainly cleared the air. After a glass of Tokay courtesy of the manager (we had had to change rooms – a faulty air conditioning unit) we headed out towards the Palace Buildings at the opposite end of Varhegy for our evening meal – possibly the best yet. A platter for 2 to share with assorted meats, rice, vegetables and french fries.
The Palace (now the National Museum) and the President's official residence are floodlit at night and we wandered into the inner courtyard, which has been set up for a Lipizzana Horse Show. With very few other people there it almost felt like stepping back in time to the grandeur of the 18th and 19th centuries. This is such a beautiful city!
Rain or not we are planning to visit the Parliament Building, St Stephen's Basilica and the State Opera House tomorrow!

permalink written by  rickandsuejohnson on June 1, 2011 from Budapest, Hungary
from the travel blog: Hungary anyone?
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SOunds like you've got another busy day today. I know a couple of little ones that would've enjoyed watching the diggers at that restaurant!! xxxx

permalink written by  Zoe on June 2, 2011

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