Budapest: the best laid plans etc.October 14, 2019 in Hungary ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C
There are two types of holidaying. There's the type where it's a guided tour and others do every bit of planning and organising for you. Things generally go to plan and the organisers do most of the worrying on your behalf. It has a lot of appeal. The river cruise component of this holiday was certainly like that and it worked really well.
The second type is where you do your own organising. There's more worrying and more setbacks, but so too there is a greater number pleasant surprises.
This day was typical, with its highs and lows. We needed to attend to some domestic arrangements, ie dealing with a half suitcase of dirty washing. Thanks to Mr Google it's dead easy these days to identify the nearest laundromat. This we did, and then headed there by tram and on foot which took us about half an hour. Even with all its artificial intelligence Google can't identify which laundromat is going to have most of its instructions in Hungarian and is going to swallow up $12 worth of your hard-earned without doing anything for you in return.
After retrieving the unwashed items from the stubborn machine and jamming them back into our bag we walked another couple of kilometres to the next nearest laundromat. Fortunately this one was both cooperative and comfortable to wait in, but by the time we got back to our hotel the morning had disappeared. Not what we had planned.
Our plan for the afternoon then was a visit to the Grand Synagogue, one of the main tourist attractions in this fascinating city. Panni had very kindly bought for us a really good guide book of Budapest, and this helped greatly both with our planning and our navigation. By now we were beginning to find our way around a little better and were even becoming more confident on public transport. Having the transport passes makes a big difference. If you make a mistake it's easy enough to jump back on a tram, train or bus which is heading back to where you started, and it doesn't cost you any more.
We got to the synagogue mid-afternoon only to find that it had closed at 2pm and was going to remain closed for the next two days for what the notice said was a religious holiday. We assume this is Sukkot. In theory we should still be able to get there on our very last day, though we expect it to be busier than usual after the holiday.
High on our list was a visit for coffee and cake to the 160 year old famous coffee house of Gerbeaud. It is up there with Maxim's in Paris, Tiffany's in New York and Sacher Hotel in Vienna as one of those really elegant places where one goes, even if it is only to say that one has been.
As expected, it was really enjoyable, even if we were unable to snag one of the few outdoor tables on this perfect autumn day. Mary chose an Esterházy cake to go with her cappuccino while Brian couldn't resist his favourite Hungarian cake, dobos torte, to accompany his espresso. In these elegant surroundings the $A42 bill did not seem excessive.
So far, we have described the bare bones of our afternoon activities but in truth there was much more. In our previous visits we hadn't spent any time in this area of the city so hadn't fully realised how many elegant buildings Budapest contains. Much of our afternoon was spent with Brian taking his time and composing photos which he hopes will do the place justice. It was certainly a a perfect day for photographs. In both daytime and nighttime there are so many sights that you could blindfold someone, give them a camera and get them to take pictures at random. Wherever one turns there are great views, so chances are that blindfolded person would still manage to get some pretty good pictures.Read more