On Sunday, we decided to continue a tradition we started the year before in Prague: namely, oversleeping because we forgot to adjust the time on my phone which we used as an alarm clock. We missed breakfast but it wasn’t a big deal because we were still digesting the big meal from the night before.
We set off on our explorations by heading up Bem Rakpart, away from Chain Bridge, towards the Batthyany metro stop (our “home” metro”) and stocked up on water at the Spar there. We bought excellent value three day tourist passes for the metro, buses, trams and the HEV (urban railway) for 1600HUF (about Â£4.50) each then took the metro up to the West End Mall. John was suffering sore feet issues too so we set about trying to find him some new trainers/inner soles.
After that, we walked over the the Parliament buildings (which we could sort of see behind the trees from our hotel room) and decided they were far better than our own (on which they were based apparently). We relaxed on the grass around there for a bit before walking back towards the centre of Pest for some lunch. We ended up in the Leroy cafe next to the Bascilica of St Stephen – although we didn’t go in the latter to see his creepy hand. Lunch was very pleasant but by then we were getting tired and hot so we went back to the lovely air conditioned hotel for a bit of a rest.
When we were sufficiently cool and energised again, we headed out (on the metro) to the Szechenyi spa in City Park. The spa has a rather intense entrance system (and girls have to wait a lot longer than boys to get changed) but it was great inside. Well, actually, because it was a sunny day, it was better *outside*, since there were a series of heated pools out there too. Even though it was quite busy (it was a sunny, hot, summer Saturday after all), it didn’t feel too crowded and we spent a very nice couple of hours in there, pruning up and relaxing. The best thing was it only cost about Â£3 each.
We stayed just about until it closed in the early evening then took the metro back to the hotel. After a bit more poking around, we found the previously mythical restaurant, Karpatia (it was quite prominent when you weren’t reading a stupid TimeOut map). After initial language difficulties, we got a table in the quieter front part of the restaurant and had salads to start (nothing very special). Then for my main course, I had sauerkraut with different spicy sausages (mmm) and John had a mushroom dish. My sausages beat his mushrooms hands down.
We were too full for dessert at the restaurant so leisurely strolled back to the hotel – via the ice cream kiosk in the side of the Intercontinental Hotel when we had made a bit of room :)