Sunday: Paris

It is the last leg of out trip. Today we drove to Paris to drop off the car we gave been driving for the past many weeks. That went smoothly mainly because it is Sunday and there are few cars on the road. During the week traffic amid the strike is said to be extremely awful. We will deal with that in a few days.

For now, we are enjoying Paris. We walked around this afternoon, found an open restaurant and had a late lunch, and went to one of the many Christmas markets in the city, this one by the Tuileries Gardens. There were crowds of people there but it seemed everyone was having a festive time.


photos: Paris this evening; a deluxe Christmas tree; a deluxe Christmas window

Thursday: Budapest

Today is our last day in Budapest so as content as we are here on this side of the Danube, we thought we should go across the river to the Buda side. So we walked over the bridge late this morning.

The view of the Danube River is beautiful, and today was a clear and warm day so it was perfect for a stroll.

We spent most of our time at the Buda Castle and its surrounding complex. The castle/palace was built in the 1760s and has undergone renovations and restoration through the years and it continues today, since numerous wars and lack of funding took their toll on the ancient buildings. The whole area is sensational to see and I’m glad we got a nice day today to do it.

We walked back across the bridge in the early afternoon and had lunch at Terv Presszo, an old family-run Hungarian pub-like restaurant. We had chicken paprikash, a dish I remembered from when Mrs. Toth, a Hungarian family friend who survived the Holocaust, would come to our house and make it for our family. We also sampled the Hungarian national aperitif, Unicum. We learned that the original formula is not available in the U.S. so we had to try it. Wow, it was strong, bitter stuff with a hint of the plum that it is fermented in.

We took in the holiday windows and decorations, and saw another holiday market being set up. There are at least four of them in the center of the city.

We shared a slice of chocolate cake before calling it a day. We will miss this beautiful city.

photos: Unicum, Hungary’s national apertif; a statue on the Buda castle grounds; the bridge entry from the Buda side