Day 36 – Budapest
We had our breakfast with all of the window open looking out onto the river. Nothing like a good cheap location. We have also arrived in Budapest just in time for the Red Bull air race world challenge, so we’re hoping that our location, about 100m from the last timing cones, doesn’t mean we’ll come home to a plane in our roof! Even so, they spent the day practicing their runs which was fascinating to watch. Part of the weekend also involves military shows, so big army boats are driving past our weekend as well. Maybe the van will have been featured on TV!
Just for a change we decided to check out one of the free walking tours that are in the majority of large cities. Due to the Red Bull event happening along the river, they had closed the main bridge across the city during the day, this meant that the tours were slightly shorter than normal, but our guide was still very knowledgeable and was great. She took us through the West side of the city, starting at Vorosmarty Square, trailing along the river pointing out all the main buildings in the skyline, cutting back in to walk through Erzsebet square, a photo opportunity at St. Stephens Basillica (which has a latin phrase involving my name etched across it), a tour through the best places to get food, including rubbing Policeman Charlie’s belly so you’ll have a good meal, then heading up to Parliament, which is modelled on Westminster.
We then headed back to the van to check it was still in one piece, but also to have lunch. We then decided to sit out and chill for a couple of hours and people watch. As we’re along the docks boats are continuoulsy unloading tourists by us which proved quite entertaining. We had an early dinner and headed back out in order to climb up the highest point on the East side to see the Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church and walk along to Castle Hill, all of which provided incredible views across the other side of the river. As it was about 6pm by the time we reached the top, the viewing point on the Fisherman’s Bastion was free to enter, which was a bonus.
We then headed back through to the old Jewish Quarter, as recommened by our guide was the place to have a drink. There is obviously no problem with drinking in public and the whole of the square and the the streets surrounding it were full of people drinking and being merry. We thought there were a lot of stag do’s in Hamburg, but that was nothing compared to the amount of stag do’s and hen do’s in Budapest. Settling for a spot in the Square we ordered a cocktail and a beer for the grand total of £4 and chilled out to some good music.
On our walk back home we passed the shoes on the Danube bank which is a monument to the Jews who were lined up, ordered to take their shoes off, and then shot into the river so their bodies would be carried away. The shoes are made of iron but incredible life like, with obvious worn creases. Their is a whole range of them, with larger mens shoes, ladies high heels and even children’s shoes. The shoes are placed randomly, as though someone has literally just taken them off. People light candles, leave small items and tie ribbons around the shoes to pay their respect.
The city is so beautiful lit up, so our walk home was pretty cool.
Day 37 – Budapest
It’s been really hot while we’ve been in Budapest and the van, which has been completely exposed to the sun and reflection of the water has meant we’ve both woken up and the vans been 36/8 degrees on the inside. Not cool! It’s hot and stuffy and a lack of wind hasn’t allowed us to circulate any of the heat. Other than this, we’ve loved our little spot right in the centre of Budapest!
Today we spent the day at the Szechenyi Baths. It’s the biggest one in Budapest and has a whole range of different pools, saunas and steam rooms. It was a really hot day and as you can imagine it was busy, but it was so worth it!
We were also treated by Mandy and Michael, Jack’s parentals to a massage (Thank you!!). The Turkish style massages were all booked as it was a Saturday, so we opted for a Thai one. We were led to a little room which smelt and looked as though we had literally stepped into Thailand. About 10 minutes in, I was completely relaxed and all of a sudden I hear Jack being beaten up on the other side of the room by his massage lady. It was a really cool and definitely relaxing experience and broke up our pool time nicely with something else. She cracked parts of my back I didn’t even know could crack but we left definitely feeling like jelly.
Jack would also like to point out the difference in our tan at this current point!
It turns out, chilling for a whole day tires you out, so we went home, had some dinner, watched the sunset from the van and then headed out for pudding and some more cocktails and beer. As we haven’t paid for a campsite and the food/drink is so cheap in Budapest, we feel like we’ve actually been on holiday today! Our plan is to definitely do some more wild camping where possible. We love a good old car park, especially at 2 euros for the entire weekend.
One thing that did entertain us just before we left the van for dinner were the Chinese tourists congregating just outside the van. They were amazed by our little motorhome and were sneakily trying to wander around us to see what was going on. We felt that we had turned into animals in a little cage being surrounded. Then one got a little close and decided to try and invite himself into the van for a closer look. His wife and family were absolutely besides themselves, covering their faces with embarrassment. He then got really excited and kept saying wow, pointing to things, such as the cooker, then making the action as though he was cooking and nodding his head. He then invited his friend in too! If motorhome rentals increase due to Chinese tourists, I want commission!
We definitely will be coming back to Budapest as we’ve had an amazing time; it’s definitely a contender for our favourite city so far!
If you want to see just how good a location we had in Budapest, here’s a link to the Red Bull racing video that was happening that weekend. At 2:17 in pans, pause it. The second bridge you can, just beyond it on the right hand side you can see a line of boats. We were in line with about the third row!