Boiling Budapest

The Hungaria Cup came up when we were searching for possible Summer holiday orienteering and, neither of us having ever been to the country before, we decided to give it a try.Part of our decision process also included checking the average seasonal temperature: a very reasonable mid-20s °C. However, when we landed in Budapest there was a heatwave in force and the temperature was a hot but dry 39°C! The top-floor apartment we were staying in downtown Pest did have a standalone air-con unit but it simply couldn’t compete and the temperature inside didn’t drop below 30°C whilst we were there which made for some uncomfortable nights.

On our first full day, we crossed the chain bridge to Buda and walked up the hill (the shady path on the hillside looking preferable to the long queue for the funicular). To escape the heat, we descended into the Labyrinth under Buda Castle, containing a bizarre mixture of waxwork figures dressed in mouldy opera outfits and Dracula themed displays. The latter certainly had Emma spooked!

We returned via the picturesque Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. Stopping in a playground on the way down, Emma was unfortunately stung by a wasp but thankfully didn’t react too badly.

The next day, we headed past the Parliament Building to Margaret Island, which was taking a break between being the venue for the FINA World Champs and the World Masters, and joined what seemed like most of the local population at Palatinus Strand. There was no need to sample the thermal waters with the outdoor pools being quite warm enough. Sadly Duncan wasn’t quite tall enough for the water slides but Emma certainly enjoyed dragging me down them!

City Park was the venue for our last full day in Budapest. We had booked in for the circus mid-afternoon and, not being entirely sure what to do with ourselves in the interim, we ended up in the zoo. Given the temperature, part of the attraction of the circus was that the performance took place on ice. It was a superb show and the acrobatics would have been breathtaking even without the addition of ice skates!

Whilst we were in the big top the weather broke and we emerged into a torrential downpour. The rain continued the next day but it was time to pick up the hire car and move on to the next part of the holiday anyway…

 

Leave a Reply