Sunday 30 July 2017

We have some spare time this morning but decide to take it very easy as we covered some ground around Vienna yesterday.  We have a lunchtime departure from the same new station at which we arrived and we can see it looks very new with clean track, nicely ballasted.  I manage to take some photos of trains but these are not brilliant.

Now we head east south east (roughly) to Budapest and as we go it is obvious that it is getting warmer, indeed much warmer.  As with all of our other trips the crossing of borders is unobserved without passport checks.

Budapest is in the grip of a heatwave.  It is a relatively short walk (of 600-700 yards) from station to our hotel but it certainly feels further as we adjust to the heat.  The oddity here is that we were originally told we would be at another hotel yet our guide assures us this is the facility which is normally used.  We are pleased the air conditioning works well and is noticeably quiet in our bedroom so we can sleep.  It is particularly welcome after the heat outside.

The Hotel Bristol may be convenient for the station (and be relatively attractive internally) but is surrounded by a less attractive selection of rough sleepers and what Jackie assures me are drug dealers.  Never having met one of either group to my knowledge I cannot be sure about the latter; the former are self evident!  During our stay here there is one individual sleeping on the same bench in both the morning, afternoon and evening when we pass.   By the last time we pass him, he did appear to have moved so was presumably still alive.  Another was sleeping on top of a wall, if he rolled to his left he would not just fall to the ground but all to the bottom of the steps down into the underground station – a long way down.

In normal circumstances the 600 yard walk to the Underground station would not be a barrier to moving around easily – but the high temperature (around 38 deg C) and the pain Jackie is suffering from her sciatica made the walk less than enthralling.  Luckily the nearest supermarket is very close by and we can get water with ease.

Budapest, as is well known, is actually two cities: Buda and Pest, separated by the same Danube river last seen in Vienna; I wonder if we are seeing the same water pass by?

Our group dinner tonight is just around the block at a very convenient local restaurant.  Good simple food.  Very nice.