If it’s worth doing…

It’s worth doing twice apparently.

This has been the motto for the project so far and nothing seems to have changed.

We plastered twice, grouted twice, installed a toilet seat twice and many more things.

With the kitchen installation underway this week, it was inevitable that we would do it twice and sure enough, on day one we discovered the design was off and the sink wasn’t centred to the window.

And so we redesigned (twice) by adjusting the size of some drawers and moving the dishwasher, changed a door to clear the window sill and seem to have resolved the problem.

Let’s just hope we don’t need to install the worktop twice…

Early delivery!

In between updates from Budapest, the kitchen was delivered… a day early.

After fourteen months without a kitchen, it’s like getting the day of the wedding wrong!

Instead of being nicely organised with an empty room ready for installation, we’re now in complete chaos with boxes stacked in every room.

Still, like all good parties, there’s always the guest who arrives early and overstays their welcome and so we were quite happy to accept delivery at 8am and madly move boxes to make space.

We won’t be installing another kitchen (at least in this flat) so this is a welcome sight indeed.

Kitchen installation starts on Monday!

50,000 steps in Budapest

Arriving on Friday, we hit the ground running and by Sunday afternoon had walked almost 50,000 steps.

The aim (for anyone with a pedometer) is 10,000 steps a day so we certainly exceeded that and managed to hit most of the top tourist destinations in the Hungarian capital.

Friday evening we checked into the New York Palace Hotel (known for its renowned Café) and set off to explore the nearby Jewish quarter.

Budapest had a large Jewish population, at one point, twenty five percent of the city. During the Second World War, the Jewish quarter became a ghetto for six weeks and during the course of the war, ten thousand Hungarian Jews lost their lives.

We found one of the area’s well-known/secret (on trip advisor) ruined bars which seemed like a dive bar full of crap furniture, cheap booze and young people sitting in bath tubs smoking hookah pipes. Having seen plenty of this in Camden, we decided to move on.

The area felt decidedly eastern bloc and it hadn’t changed much. It was a predominantly male culture with cheap drinks being readily available.

Having arrived from South End, it was easy to see how it would appeal to the Brits on a cheap weekend.

The Gellért Baths

Leaving the Castle district and walking along the bank of the Danube, we arrived at the Gellért Hotel and Baths.

Budapest is known for its thermal baths and as a lover of the outdoor hot spring, it was high on the agenda of things to do.

The Gellért is known for its Art Deco tiling and paying the entry fee, we were soon enjoying the benefits of the thermal waters in a stunning setting.

Outside, a small pool was rather crowded as the larger pool was drained for the winter. It was a little too busy with canoodling couples and so we repaired to the sauna, a rather rustic shed filled with large Hungarians.

We ventured inside where we found a lovely Art Deco swimming pool with a few elderly swimmers and a hot pool with lots of other people lounging in the rather cloudy water (best not to think about it!)

It seems swimming is not a national sport in Hungary as the main pool was almost deserted and so, having brought the obligatory cap, I swam a few lengths under a large Art Deco glass skylight and enjoyed the hot jets of water bubbling up from the floor. It was one of the nicest indoor pools, clean and with natural mineral water, chlorine-free.

After the Gellért baths, we set off towards one of the many Sky Bars around the city hoping for a sunset view.

We were hungry after taking the waters and stumbled across a popular cafe for a snack only to discover we’d found the Gerbaud Café, a Budapest institution on par with Sacher torte in Vienna. We enjoyed a sandwich not realising we should have been eating cake… oh well!

The Buda side

On Saturday we enjoyed a full buffet breakfast at the New York Palace Café. Buffet panic ensued, plates were piled with bizarre combinations in case things ran out, they didn’t.

Replete, we set off to the Danube and walked across the bridge to the Castle district. Climbing up the hill and avoiding the queues for the funicular railway, we arrived at the top and enjoyed a speculator view of Pest.

The weather was glorious with clear, blue skies and sunshine and we saw the city in the best conditions possible.

Walking around the area, we were taken with the sorbet painted buildings, Germanic spires and multi-coloured tile roofs of the churches.