Sunday, May 19, 2019
The last day in Budapest
We came down for breakfast at 9 am, dressed for a nice spring day. Then we noticed that it was raining quite hard!
After breakfast Eke changed to long pants again and we put our jackets on – umbrellas in the backpack!
Our plan was to make our way over to the synagogue and hopefully get inside. After that visit we had planned to meet Eke’s nephew Wytze (who is in Budapest visiting friends) for lunch. We stopped on the way for a coffee/tea, shared a sweet, and took our jackets off. By then the sun was shining and it was very pleasant.
There were huge line ups in front of the synagogue. We didn’t feel like standing there for half an hour waiting to get inside and once there not being able to move because of the number of people! We decided to circle the building, which was very interesting already. We saw the garden where about 2.000 of the Jewish people, who were killed or died of starvation in the ghetto, are buried. This all happened in the last year of WW II. Some names are on plaques surrounding the graves; lots of them remain nameless as no family could be found. The columns surrounding the garden display photos with captions of what happened then, as well as information about the development of the garden.
While we standing there reading and reflecting, we noticed that someone was looking at us. Eke turned to look at him and realized it was Wytze! Big hugs all around and then the three of us decided to walk around a bit before going for lunch. Wytze brought us back to the Szimpla Ruin Bar where they had a food market today. Lots of cheese, vegetables, nuts etc. This time we wandered upstairs where you could buy a buffet brunch. We discovered some interesting seats which were made of a pile of car tires with some chains stretching across the hole for a seating surface. We didn’t try to find out how comfortable they are to sit on!
After enjoying that scene for a while, we decided that it was time to find our way to the Gerloczy Café for our lunch together.
The weather was nice enough to sit on the outside patio under a big tree. Eke ordered an Alpine Herbal tea; the men each had a beer. The menu looked really good. Eke and Wytze had a salad with prosciutto and baked cheese (which was delicious!); Brian had a quiche with a salad. The food was excellent and we had no shortage of things to talk about.
Eke wanted a second cup of tea and asked for some more hot water on her tea bag because it still was perfectly fine! The waiter looked at her and calmly informed her that: “We don’t serve hot water here, we serve tea”. He followed that with: “how did you like that answer?” with some dry humour. He added yet that he was the manager, probably wanting to get the message across that Eke had no person but him to deal with. Eke stumbled a bit and then ordered a second cup of tea because she really wanted another one!
It was a little awkward and yet the moment had some humour too!
It was really nice to share a bit of our lives with Wytze and he shared some of his with us. We connected well and it felt easy and warm. At the end of our time together, all three of us declared that it was time well spent!
We (Brian and I) walked to the river to make our way to the bridge so we could cross the Danube and visit Castle Hill.
On the way we saw a C&A – a department store Eke knows from the Netherlands – with reasonable prices. We went in and within 15 minutes we each had another pair of long pants which didn’t cost us an arm and a leg! (pun intended?)
We continued walking along the river admiring the castle (on the other side) and the bridge. After walking across we took the Funicular up to the castle, This Funicular is the oldest in Europe, built in the early 1900’s (??).
The views from up there back over the river to the “Pest” side of the city were great: the Parliament buildings and the St. Stephen Basilica stood out of course.
Brian’s knees were getting tired, so he decided to sit in the shade and figure something out about his camera and my phone camera.
Eke walked along the castle wall east and enjoyed the changing view. Coming back to Brian, Rob, Jan and their son Jack were sitting beside him. They were part of the food tour we had taken on Saturday afternoon. We chatted for a while, shared things we all had done and then Eke decided to walk west on the castle hill for a while. She walked through the touristy main street of Castle Hill “village” and found the beautiful St. Mattias Church. A beautiful building with ornate roof tiles and great architecture. She did not take the time going inside as Brian was waiting.
On the way back she saw the last part of the changing of the guard at the military building beside the Funicular – which was interesting.
Resting for a bit on the bench with Brian, we bought an ice cream and made our way down, walked across the bridge, listened to an outdoor band on the banks of the river where lots of people were enjoying something to drink and relaxing on Sunday afternoon.
We walked up the street to the St. Stephen Basilica again and bought tickets for the Sunday night concert. We had enjoyed the one on Friday evening so decided to attend one again. This time we didn’t have enough forints and had to pay with euros which took some calculating.
We decided to hang around, have something to drink and eat some dinner close by. We sat down on the covered outdoor patio of the “Montenegro” restaurant. Then the rain came and we took refuge inside where it warm and dry.
The tea, beer and appetizer existing of cheese and prosciutto with flatbread tasted very good.
The meal (as usual) was an abundance of meat with flatbread. Eke had chicken fingers wrapped in bacon and Brian had a huge “hamburger” which was steak with onions and cheese.
We both enjoyed the very tasty meal although we didn’t touch the bread! Eke couldn’t finish her two skewers with each 5 pieces of chicken; Brian managed to get it all in!
At 7:30pm we made our way over to the Basilica. The concert was by the Duna String Orchestra existing of 5 violins, a viola and a bass. A few of the pieces were accompanied by a soprano. The first violin player was an accomplished violinist and concert master. He played some solo pieces and made that violin sing! The soprano was Ingrid Kertesi – she had a beautiful voice.
The concert was not as powerful as the one on Friday evening – yet the music was exquisite at times.
Another day with lots of walking. Eke counted over 19,000 steps on her “watch”. After packing and updating the trip journal, it was midnight and time to go to sleep!