Budapest – day 2

Woke up this morning to the glorious view across Fisherman’s Bastion and over the Danube, and had a leisurely breakfast in the Executive lounge – I could so get used to this.  We then checked out of the hotel, leaving our bags there while we went for a mooch around Várhegy, following the walking routes in the Eyewitness guide.

Várhegy

It was very quiet on the streets, and not many people were around.  As we made our way towards the Palace though, we saw more people, and were even in time to see what seemed to be the changing of the guard at Sándor Palace (offices and official residence of the President of Hungary).

Changing of the guard

The view from around the Palace was fantastic – or would have been if it wasn’t so hazy.  We could still see across the Danube to the Széchenyi Lánchíd and the Parliament buildings.

The view from the palace

Mátyás FountainWe carried on with our mooch around the Palace grounds, taking in the architecture such as the Mátyás Fountain.  Apparently this fountain tells the legend of Szép Ilonka, a beautiful peasant girl who met the king while he was hunting incognito, and fell in love.  She then died of a broken heart after discovering his identity and realising he could never marry her.  Unfortunately, once I took the photos off my camera I realised that the one part of the fountain I’d cut out of my photo was poor Ilonka!  (You can just see part of her dress on the right of the photo).  I’m not sure what she saw in him – he looks a bit full of himself to me.

By now we were heading back to the hotel to collect our bags, but we needed sustenance after our gruelling day of ambling around, so we repaired to Ruszwurm for cake and a coffee.  They’ve been trading on the same site since 1827, and make what are probably the best cakes in Budapest (I’m conducting tests of this theory every time we visit).

Ruszwurm

By now I’d been getting texts from Dad, updating me on his and Mum’s progress, and suggesting we meet for kolbasz at the Christmas market in Vörösmarty tér.  So myself and Jo collected our bags and checked in at the Gellért, before walking over to join the others.  The market was fabulous, with plenty of food and crafts for sale.

Rétes

Pottery

Each year the windows of Gerbeaud (a cake shop on the square) are turned into an advent calender, with copies of pictures by contempory artists (there’s an exhibition of the originals at the same time), so after a quick look around the market and some cups of mulled wine we all enjoy a bit more mulled wine and a bite to eat while watching them open todays window.

Advent calender

After this we watched some dancing in the square, part of the programme for the market.

Dancing

It was getting pretty cold by now, and we headed back to the hotel, where we made the re-acquaintance of the bar staff, and of our favourite waiter.

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