Budapest is a mash up of two cities on either side of the Danube: Buda and Pest. We stayed at le Meridian, which was very grand, with crystal chandeliers and uniformed bellboys. We had a nice room on the top floor, marble and brocade.
Budapest was where we had planned to meet up with some of our teammates who had done their separate touring around Europe. We toured Budapest together for a day and shared stories over dinner. We felt very worldly. Erica and Chris had been in Italy; Inna and Erin had been in Munich and Salzburg.
There was no shortage of sweeping skylines, enormous buildings and grand architecture. My favourite was the neo-gothic-melange parlament buildings (yes, thatâ€™s how they spell it). Most buildings were bombed to bits so most of what we saw was actually a modern re-build (at at least a re-furbish).
Every day in Budapest started the same â€“ we went to a local pastry shop. English service was very limited, but folks were friendly and willing to accommodate our pointing and lack of familiarity with the complicated point-queue-pay-requeue-point-receive system.Â Once you get your treat, you eat at a stand-up bar and (if you are late for work) run to catch the bus or metro outside.