Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Castle District

We resist the pull of a nap and set out walking. Our first stop is a cafe around the corner from the hotel, Cafe Soho, purportedly with internet access. A couple of cups of decent cappuccino and 30 minutes of frustration later, we leave. Their internet access does not work. We return later that night and only one computer is limping along-too slow to use. I do manage to squeeze off a single email via WiFi from the LD to my husband to let him know we are alive before it freezes up.

We walk in the direction of the Chain Bridge to the bottom of the hill below the Castle complex where there is a small funicular leading up to the top of the hill. The funicular dates back to 1870 and has two tracks with three wood paneled compartments each. It takes about a minute to get to the top and the views are breath taking.

After a couple of minutes on the palace side, we go min search of a restroom and spend about 10 minutes wandering in circles (soon to be a theme for us) before finding a public WC costing 70 ft. Mom declares after, "I would have paid $100 for that". Not because it was so nice (it wasn't) but because it was so needed.

On the way back up to the square, we pass two guys in medieval dress with birds of prey on their arms-one was a small falcon and the other was absolutely huge, over two feet tall and I have no idea what it was. We are walking in the other direction and I have to force myself not to turn on my heels and follow them. About 20 feet later, I regret my decision, and we go back down the hill to see what they're doing with the birds. They've vanished.

Next we continue walking, following along loosely with the Frommer's Budapest walking tour of the Castle District. It was cold and rainy, but still fun. Matthias church was beautiful, from the outside (we did not go in). Fisherman's Bastion is a structure built on the edge of the hill on the site of an old fish market. For the life of me I cannot figure out why there would have been a fish market that high up on the hill instead of down by the river, but it was lovely nonetheless. Amazing views of the entire Pest side of the river. From there, we walking in a zig zag patten among the old streets looking at the houses, some dating back to Medieval times.
By now, it's mid afternoon and we need food, or at least coffee, so we stop at Ruszwurm Cukraszda, at a tiny coffee house which has been here since 1827. We have tea and two different strudels, one apple and one cherry. They we just ok, not amazing. Fading fast, we go back to the hotel for rest.

For dinner, we want to try Hungarian food and go to a restaurant near hotel called Horgasztanya Vendeglo (Fo u. 27). Although it seems to have a seafood theme in it's decor, we gravitate toward heavier fare. For a starter we share a duck liver w/ onions and marjoram which looks a bit scary on the plate but tastes great. I have wild boar stewed in red wine for my entree and a side of "housemade gnocchi" which is a bit more like spatzle, but good. Mom has pork cutlets "bacony style" with paprika and mushroom cream sauce. With a glass of red wine and a beer dinner is 7000 ft incl tip.

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