Updated: Apr 19, 2021
Threat from the East
(update to previous blog).
An official at the Romanian checkpoint greets my return to Europe,
’you’re the first Brit I’ve seen driving out of Ukraine ...probably the last, welcome pal!’
‘I didn’t expect a fellow countryman ...are you army?’
‘Her Majesty’s A.F. posted to watch the border! ...U.K / Romania cooperation!‘
‘What! ...Suppose I can guess why, but isn’t it jumping the gun!’
‘It is ...if you get my meaning!’
‘Something’s going on? ...because I plan on coming back!’
‘Don’t count on it!’
Non-Stop to Budapest
Crossing the Romania Hungary border goes without a hitch and with a quick ‘köszönöm‘ I head directly for the motorway, arriving in Budapest late afternoon. Little time to find at least one, of this city’s gems ...that’s if I’m to stand a chance of reaching Vienna by nightfall.
Plane trees showing off their spring colours, line up alongside the wide avenues in front of grand Neoclassical residences.
Much of Budapest’s rich history is hidden amongst a stunning skyline architecture, in which, are the ‘ruin pubs’. Szimpla Kert, the first one to open in 2002, is now a centre of Budapest nightlife, hosting parties, concerts and outdoor cinema screenings. Full of hidden history, these ‘bars‘ have themselves become unique features of the city.
I take a quick look at what is possibly the best spa bath in the city, Rudas Baths. a 500 year old Turkish bath with a rooftop pool offering amazing views.
Float in the centre of a thermal maze surrounded by arches and a magical skyline, a unique experience I doubt you’ll find anywhere else. To top it off, you can bathe until 4 am. (excepting lockdown rules). What better way to end your day! ...No time for a dip now, perhaps I’ll get lucky on my third visit!
Located on the top of Buda Castle Hill, is The Royal Palace, former home of the Hungarian royal family now part of World Heritage. Many secret treasures await in and outside of the castle including the National Széchényi Library and a series of caves once occupied by Count Dracula. Relax in the Royal Gardens and imagine chariot races of times past at the Aquincum Military Amphitheatre. There aren’t any admission fees and not many people know about the ruins. Well worth a visit!
Budapest is definitely one for the itinerary!
Time well spent but now I’m running late, so must dash...
...I manage to make Vienna by dusk though not before the city retreats into a curfew, leaving me without any chance of food until morning ...cognac will have to do!
The apartment is equipped in every sense, technology gadgets, comfy bed, centrally located and close to the embankment. A gated entrance through an arched tunnel (no.1) separates the tranquil environment of courtyard town houses from what would normally be a bustling ‘Main Street‘. In the morning hunger pangs direct me toward the food store before I take breakfast alongside the Danube’s city promenade. A blue scene, but one not born from the river. Homeless souls sleep with their dogs on benches and provocative graffiti art adorn every available space on the various monuments and buildings. The culture and style of Vienna may not be on show here, but the atmosphere in this vicinity isn’t unpleasant.
I would love to stay and waltz at a Viennese ball ...but without a partner for that date, well, it will just have to wait besides I am off to see, that glamourous resort of Zell am Zee.
...to be continued.