Today the weather was wonderful as the news had predicted. I got an early start leaving around 8 and decided to walk all the way around instead of traveling by metro since I had a fair bit of time. The girl I talked about in my previous entry who helped me find the place seems like she got the job as she was at the front desk before I left. She offered to let me leave my bags at the desk to save taking them to the lockers at the train station. I decided that was a good idea because I didn’t particularly feel like going all the way to the train station first, and carrying my bags all around Budapest was not really an option, besides it gave me the chance to say good bye to Vicky.
I started off my going down to the water front and following the bank of the Danube River. There are quite a few river cruise ships like the one Aunt Kathy and Punk took on their trip recently. I took some photos of the ships in the hopes that they might recognize one of them haha. The sidewalk down by the water is a popular place for ridding a bike, and many cyclists whir past. I took my time and enjoyed the trees and buildings along the way, heading down towards Margrit Island. The island was once 3 islands but for water control purposes was walled off as one. At some point it was a famous nunnery but now is just a beautiful park. The island is also popular with joggers because of its peacefulness, restricted traffic, and rubber sidewalk that helps lower the impact on feet and knees from running. About a third of the island seems to be a sports complex with tennis courts and the like, but at the far end is a really peaceful pond with ducks, fish, and turtles. I relaxed and took a bit of a break from all my walking and enjoyed the nice weather. I had already walked about 6km by this point according to the scale on my map.
I then set off to the Varosligeti park which was another 4km away. Walking around a city is really the best way to get a feel for it. Along the way I saw an artisan ice cream shop, which is pretty common east of France it seems, and they sell these very nice ice creams that taste hand churned, or at least small batch with all sorts of interesting flavors. I bought cinnamon, and really liked it. I wish I could buy this over in the states. The park has a nice pond with a number of ducks, a zoo, and a Hungarian bath. I wish I could go visit on of these thermal baths, but its always the case that the more you stay some place, the more you there is stuff you wish you could see but realize you don’t have time for. I guess I’ll have to hope to one day come back and visit one. I had also hoped to eat at this one restaurant I passed because in their window was a menu listing goulash, and I had wanted to try some traditional Hungarian food, but by the time they opened, their menu for the day’s dishes had changed and no longer featured the goulash, so instead I continued on my way.
I then went down the World Heritage protected Andrassy street that runs down the center of the old part of town. The streets are really well groomed with many green trees. This is also coincidentally where most of the embassies are. After a ways I turned off the Andrassy street to head down towards the Parliament building which is this wonderful huge Gothic style building that once held the royalty, but now holds the parliament, this was another good 4 or 5 km from the park. After this I was feeling pretty spent, my legs and feet sore, I decided to head back to the Collegium where my luggage was to book a hotel for tomorrow and get my things. This was another 3-4 km from the Parliament building. All in all I walked about 20km today, which is about 13 miles.. Vicky wasn’t back by 4:15, so I had to be on my way without saying a proper goodbye, but we exchanged email addresses, so I can only hope to make up for it a little that way.
Looking at hotels for tomorrow I first looked at Venice, the cheapest room listed was a pension with shared bath for 60 euros… Outside of my budget by a good 10 euros and not all that excellent. I figured though that perhaps since I was arriving in Venice at 7:20 am, I could probably see everything I wanted to see then go off to a hotel in Verona via high speed train. Instead I was able to get a hotel in Verona with bathroom and what not for 50 euros (also the cheapest option outside of a hostel that would most likely be full days in advance). This is just within my budget. I figure if there is more I feel I need to see in Venice I can just make a day trip of going out and back since it shouldn’t be much longer than 1 hour from Verona by a high speed train.
I’m exhausted and expect to sleep very very well on the hotel train even if its got only poor sleeping conditions.