Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Blue Danube - 9 September 2008

Having checked out of our very nice apartment in Bratislava we made our way to the "port" to wait for the hydrofoil to Budapest. In due course the Vocsok III from Leaving the only lockVienna arrived and we joined it for the rest of the trip to Budapest. If yesterday's trip seemed fast, it was nothing compared to the hydrofoil. They only seem to exist now in ex-communist countries and this one cruised at between 65 and 69kph all the way, apart from the time in the only lock on the river. This lock is probably the largest we have been in so far and certainly the greatest level change, approximately 25m.

Twins a-pairing on the banksThe Danube was certainly blue and the first touches of autumn were beginning to colour the trees on the banks as we raced downstream. There was not a lot to note as we travelled, the odd town or two, until we got to the famed "Danube Bend", a place were the Danube makes a fairly decided change from flowing east to flowing south. The two notable towns on the bend are Esztergom and Visegrad.

EsztergomFrom there it is a relatively short run into the centre of Budapest where we disembarked and set off to find the tourist office that had handled our booking and then the accommodation itself.

We had booked a room in a private apartment and were greeted by a lovely old couple who spoke as much English as we spoke Hungarian - none. They were a delight to stay with though, as were treated to home baking and fruit from what we suppose was their allotment. Her strudel, with their own apples, was better than any we purchased.

St Stephan's BasilicaAlthough the accommodation was ‘homely’ with some fairly odd-plumbing, the location was superb; we were about 100m from the only station that services all three Metro lines, a short walk to the square, the river and all the central sites and amenities.

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