|Type||Name||Description||Service Provider||Cost||Kms||To Date||Total||Notes||Actions|
|Tour||Bites & Sights||$0.00|
|Hotel||Budapest Fortuna Hostel||Budapest, Hungary||$0.00||Four nights, incl breakfast|
|It has been sounding like it will be darned near impossible to find a bike box in Budapest so Laura's been fretting and wondering what to do about her bike. Of course we were going to try and find a box, but she was also prepared to take the bike to the airport and have it shrink-wrapped (for a fee), or, worst-case scenario, leave it behind. The night before last, we asked the young fella at our hostel if he knew of a bike store nearby. He said he didn't, but he'd looks some up for us. Then, he said to leave it with him overnight and he'd have it for us in the morning. Apparently he was on night shift and happy for to have a "project". The next morning, he had about twenty "x"es on a map for us. Laura chose four to try - two each near a couple of Metro stations. This morning, I found a book and map store that I wanted to go to, which happened to be fairly near a Metro station, and near a fifth bike store which Laura had NOT selected to try for a box. We went off to the map store, and Brent and Laura went off to the bike store. First try, Laura gets a box. The young fella there actually took a bike out of a box and gave her the box. What a relief! It's a very very small box, but we brought it back to the hostel and using her superior spatial skills, Laura managed to fit her entire bike into it. What a relief!|
|Our main plan for today was to go on a Bites and Sights tour which Michelle had organized a long time ago. It was AWESOME! We walked around the Market Hall, then to various restaurants and points of interest. The tour was supposed to last until about 5:30, but we ran about one hour over. Our tour guide, Sandor, was awesome, and his assistant, Agnes, was wonderful. I will definitely consider more Bites and Sights tours in future if we have the opportunity.|
|After our Bites and Sights tour ended, we walked across the street to an English Bookstore. While we were in the store, a torrential downpour started. The bookstore was closing, but they decided to take pity on us, and a couple of other shoppers and let us wait it out for a while. When it didn't let up, Brent, Laura and I decided to make a run for it. Michelle stayed hoping to wait it out longer. The streets were running with water. Young Hungarians filmed us walking down the street from their dry balcony. The stairs down into the Metro were a cascading waterfall. The first floor of the Metro station was a lake, with people huddled all over. The Metro was running - yay! When we got to our stop, it was raining more lightly and there was some water running down the stairs but it wasn't a river (yet). We waded to the hostel. I checked to see if there had been a cancellation for tomorrow night so Brent and I can stay at the hostel and wait this out, and luckily, there was a cancellation so we'll be staying here another day. Thank goodness we don't have to be on a train or a bike trail tomorrow!|
I have to talk about the Subway. We were on the Green Line and it is Soviet Era. I have to say that it ran fast and efficiently but it lacked some of the finer touches of Western Subways. The trains accelerated hard, braked hard and howled as they ran down the track. I'm sure the sound level in the cars exceeded Industrial standards at home. Riders should be issued ear protection. The trains run to a tight schedule. At the stations the doors open and you have about 45 seconds before a tone sounds. About 5 seconds later the doors slam shut so hard that they bounce. You don't want to get caught in one of those when the train speeds away. Most of the stations are the same layout and design but the 2 colours of the decor are different at each station.
Budapest is a very nice city but has the look of a place that needs a bit of maintenance...Don't get me wrong, they're trying. Budapest was the second city of a great empire until about 100 years ago but then got about 80 years of poor management. They're working hard to make up for it. Vienna has had a better ride since the break up of Austria-Hungary and it looks it.
We had a flash flood while in Budapest. We had stopped at an English-language book store when it started raining hard. We hung out for a bit but finally decided to go out. It only took moments to be drenched, after that there was nothing to do but enjoy it. We kicked and splashed our way though ankle-deep water in the streets of Down Town while people stared at us. We got to the Subway station and the stairs were a waterfall. We hopped the train to our station and climbed up another waterfall to a park with calf-deep water boiling up from overflowing man-holes. We got back to our hotel and a short time later we heard that the Subways had been shut down, there were power outages in some parts of the city and some of the hotels in our neighbourhood had flooded rooms. But it was all good with us.
Laura is super happy to have scored a bike box!
Market Hall -Bites and Sights Tour.
Wading through downtown Budapest in the flash flood.
Stairs down into the Metro.
Stairs (ie. waterfall) down into the Metro.
Main floor of the Metro.