Austria/Slovakia/Hungary – Day 16 – Esztergom to Budapest

Michael rose early and headed back up to the basilica for early morning photos and the early morning mist assisted nicely. As we were only at the BnB for one night, we needed to move our car before exploring Esztergom for breakfast. We had ‘pizza danish’ and a cream cheese filled croissant and lattes. Derek and Marketa tried some different ones including a cone full of cheese. So many calories!!!

Then the drive to Budapest following the Danube before heading into the forest roads. Our plan was to mushroom gather for a meal in Budapest, so we stopped to explore But the forest here was very dry so not fungi friendly. So back to paralleling the river to a stop for lunch at a small town. Michael had marked on his map, he thinks from his conversation on the plane with the ‘Bratislava lady’ sitting beside him. It was a gem of a little town with a nice church atop the hill.

We ended up arriving in Budapest at rush hour but the drive along the Danube was so lovely that the snails pace crawl was just fine. We passed the Shoe Monument on the river wall with its 40 or so pairs of shoes as left by the Jewish women, children and men. They were forced to strip naked, march the river bank. They were then shot and killed and their bodies fell into the river. Very moving to see.

We were checked into our place by a very unfriendly Hungarian woman. The key situation is very bizarre – you need to lock yourself in and out of the apartment and we only had one key. Derek went to move the car to a better long term parking spot, and upon returning, he proceeded to try to use the apt key on the front main door. It jammed in the lock which required a call to the owner. So Michael, Marketa and I were locked in the apartment for a lengthy wait for someone to come and replace our key (and lighten Derek’s wallet by 30 Euro). So we snacked on what we had – wine and almonds. Luckily there was no fire alarm as we waited!

When we finally reconvened we headed off for a walk along the river esplanade and over the ‘green bridge’ to check out the Gellert Spa. Nearby the church built into the caves required a visit – where I wandered in not realizing it was actually closed for the day. It was quite unique and amazing. Then a walk along the other side of the river in Pest…..or was it Buda…..?

The moon was amazing – huge and orange. Then a bite to eat. Mike & I opted for a 2nd rate Hungarian food pub – which actually was very interesting with lots of music paraphernalia including the Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, a Dave Gilmour video playing and photos of Yes. Derek & Marketa chose Korean which looked much better than the 3.6 rating it scored on Google.

We continued walking to the chain bridge was was lit up red and then looped back to our apartment on the other side of the river. We briefly considered a late night visit to the Ruina Bar to hook up with Dan, Suz, Natalie and Duncan, but once back in the apt we decided that was enough walking for one day. And so to bed!

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