So I have told you about Thursday, and Sunday…We head on into Monday.
Actually, I made a mistake in the last post: we didn’t buy breakfast things on Sunday evening – we went out for breakfast on Monday, so we must have bought them on Monday evening. Our Monday breakfast consisted of a coffee and a mix between a brioche, a muffin and a doughnut with blueberries. Very healthy!
We had decided to take a free walking tour – free in the sense that, at the end, you gave what you thought the tour had been worth. This started in the same square as the Christmas market: we got rather over-excited when we arrived and saw what was on offer in the market – even though many of the stalls were closed up, as it was still only 10.00 inthe morning. We decided that we’d be visiting later!
There was a very large group of people waiting for the tour to start – finally there were three English speaking groups, and a Spanish group. Our tour guide, who we nicknamed the Elf, but who was actually called Lara, was very interesting, vivacious and knowledgable.
Here she is, standing on a wall, outside the Presidential buildings
The weather was beautifully sunny, but with a bitingly cold wind – felt most keenly as we crossed the Chain Bridge over the Danube. Here are some of the pictures I took:
The Elf told us that the tummy of the policeman (known as the “Fat Policeman”) is shiny because it is a tradition to rub it, not to bring good luck, but to hope that you will be able to have a full belly that day!
Outside the “White House”, which is where the President has his offices, up on the top of Castle Hill, there were two armed guards, standing to attention, like the guards at Buckingham Palace. Weilding sub-machine guns, and staring unsmilingly into the middle distance, they were very stern and off-putting
“See, how still they are”, Lara said,. We agreed.
“That’s because they’re waxworks!” Murmurs of surprise and admiration for the lifelike quality of these models – and then I saw the mouth of one of them twitch, before he gave a huge grin. Obviously he spoke English, & enjoyed Lara’s little joke!
The tour finished at the top of Castle Hill, on the Buda side of the river, so Jane & I decided to try to find somewhere to have lunch. There was a charming café which we liked the look of, in its own little garden, but it was full. We ended up in a coffee shop, but had a very good value meal of a ham-and-cheese toastie, and a platter of Hungarian meat and cheese. As this came with several bread rolls, and (slightly bizarrely) a tub of apricot jam we had pudding as well!!
We then went to the Fisherman’s Bastion, which is also on the top of Castle Hill. This site gives more information about what the Fisherman’s Bastion is – basically a viewing platform built for the people of the city to enjoy fine views over the city:
I’m sorry the photos are so rubbish – I was using my phone, as I’d forgotten to take my camera, and I’m not very used to using it for photos. Also I hadn’t yet discovered how to zoom in on things!
Here’s one from Google:
Lara told us that this building was the inspiration for Disney’s logo – but I’m really not sure if she was having us on! It was still rather impressive though!
By now my feet were really complaining – the walk had been 2.5 hours, plus more wandering at the top of the hill – so we decided to take the bus back to the flat, and rest up before hitting the Christmas Market! Which is what we did.
We wandered down to the Market at about 6.30, and had a wonderful time strolling round and looking at the items on sale. There were some really beautiful things, and not a lot of the usual tat that you find at these events. A lot of the stalls contained genuine artisanal crafted items. Of course, we had a mug of mulled wine, which we sipped as we looked at everything.
In the centre of the Market were huge numbers of food stalls, selling such vazriety of food – sausage, goulash, duck legs, pork knuckle…Lots of delicious things, but we’d rather set our hearts on trying one of these:
traditional Hungarian flat bread, called Langos bread. This deep fried flatbread is a common street food in Hungary where it is served warm with sour cream and grated cheese, rubbed with garlic or garlic butter. It was a kind of doughnut batter (not sweet) and although it was quite tasty for the first few mouthfuls, it got very boring after a bit. I wished I’d chosen a sausage for my supper instead! Never mind!
We had another wander around, but stalls were starting to close up, so we walked back to the flat, via a supermarket for some breakfast supplies.