We got back from Budapest late last night, and our next guest arrives tonight... (yes, a pile of chores is burgeoning)... and we're leaving for a cycle trip on Saturday (yes, even more chores). So this summary of Budapest will be brief in nature. But as this is officially our 3rd trip to Budapest, we took it at a pretty relaxed pace (blog 2004, blog 2006).
To quickly summarize my city observations, we did notice that Budapest is gentrifying... the Szechenyi spa had completely renovated their indoor facilities and now they have over 10 indoor pools to explore, and the streets are being spruced up with complete renovations. We also noticed that there are a LOT of playgrounds (wouldn't have paid any attention to that before now).
The kids seemed to be more rough and tumble. As a result they were much thinner (doe-like), and more banged up than Irish or Canadian children (perhaps more reminiscent of my childhood?). They also were a lot quieter. Less crying, shouting, singing, etc. not just at the hospital, but at the playgrounds as well.
As mentioned previously, after our hospital visit, we went on a cruise up the Danube! A great way to get a feel of the city. We probably could have learned more history... but it was hard to understand the guided tour (thick accent coupled with wind).
For Nikolai's benefit we tried ALL of the local transport options (Funicular, Tram, Metro).
Naturally, we checked out the famous coffee houses.
More photos may follow after we get copies of those taken by Claire and Jessica.
As for the queen's visit... while it's been quite difficult for the locals, as they completely closed down all areas that she's going to (or driving through). This morning, Brad's co-workers couldn't get into work because of road closures in Kildare, since she went to the Irish National Stud in Kildare. It is clear that her visit is not really geared towards fixing past regrets with Ireland, as failed to sip at the pint of Guinness poured for her at the Brewery. Instead she and the Duke of Edinburgh just blandly smiled at it and walked away. Perhaps this article speculating that the trip is more about gaining American approval isn't that far off?