Friday, June 6, 2014


I didn't plan this leg of my journey very well.  I'm spending too much time traveling to get from one place to another.  So I had only two days to see Budapest, and you can't do it justice in that time.  My back was still in spasms and I decided I had to forego some sightseeing to get to one of the famous thermal baths here.  I booked myself for a healing massage at the oldest bath in the city.  I couldn't get in until the second day, so I had to take it easy on walking the first day.  I walked down Andrassy Boulevard mid-morning because it's supposed to be one of the most beautiful walks on the Pest side of the city.  

Who knew that there are two parts to this city--Buda and Pest.  Not me.  Anyway, Andrassy Boulevard takes you to Hero's Square, where you start to see the tourists.  I had to wait for a few minutes to get a good photo because some young guy decided to climb up by the horses at the bottom of the pillar and I really didn't want him in my picture.

The Italian embassy was right across the street and it warmed my heart to see the white, green, and red flying.

Adjacent to Hero's Square is the Museum of Fine Arts.  This photo is for my friend Andra.  We saw this Tolouse Lauttyrec exhibit in Avignon.

I decided to check out the museum's permanent collection, which is dominated by Dutch art.  I discovered a new (to me) artist whose one painting in this museum's collection was spectacular.  I wasn't allowed to take photos in the museum without a license, but I found this painting by the Austrian artist Max Lenz online.

After the hour long walk and 3 hours in the museum, my back gave out again and I had to head for my apartment where I was in bed for the rest of the day.  On the way, I stopped for an early dinner and had the obligatory bowl of goulash soup.

Every apartment is a liitle different in terms of the "extras" provided, e.g., salt. pepper, oil, etc.  But I was provided something here that was a first for me...condoms!  I had a good laugh when I saw them in the bathroom.

The following day, I walked again down Andrassy Boulevard because the spa is located in City Park behind Hero's Square.  It was a really nice park with lots of family oriented activities.  There was a nice lake there.

The spa is really beautiful.  And it's huge.  This is about a quarter of the outside pool area.  Then there are several pools in that yellow building.

It's very easy to get lost trying to find your way around.  It took me 30 minutes to find the room where the massage was done, and that's with a map!  I got immediate relief from my back spasms with the massage and then I spent close to two hours in the thermal bath.  It was a rejuvenating experience.  I met three lovely young women, two from Boston and one from Canada and we chatted the whole time about travel experiences and other sundry topics.  They recommended a restaurant near their hostel, and because they were clearly "foodies" like me, I went to find it.  

I had ordered and was waiting for my meal when the three of them walked in.  I was surprised because they were going to go shopping for souvenirs, but they couldn't find any shops in the area and were starving like me.  So, Sammy, Katerina, Jen and I enjoyed a traditional Hungarian meal together at, of all places, the Bali Cafe, and happily engaged in yet another gabfest.  These young women were absolutely delightful.

When I got back to the apartment, I wanted to relax a bit before I went to take a cruise on the Danube.  I was so relaxed after the massage and thermal bath that I nodded off and didn't wake up until close to 8 p.m.  I had to repack my luggage to get my check-in bag under 15 kilo (avoid Ryan Airlines unless you're traveling light) and also arrange for transport to the airport, so I missed the cruise.  I can't believe I was in Budapest and never saw the Danube or the Buda in Budapest.  I did see the Danube from the train coming into the city, but I really wanted to do the cruise.  I got what I really needed, though--pain relief, and it seems to be lasting.  

I flew to Milan today and am now on my way by train to Lucca, west of Florence, one of my favorite towns in Italy to meet Maggie, my Sydney friend, who will be spending the summer there.  I'll be with her for a week.

So I shortchanged Budapest, but I did get a few photos that will give you a feel for the Pest side.  This is the Opera House.

And this is a typical city street.

I don't know if this is an important building, but it should be.

I think I need to come back here again to give this lovely city its due.

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