Everywhere you turn, everything you read, it’s all about Coronavirus. At work there’s a travel embargo in place, the Americans have cancelled their trip for next week and it’s likely in the next week or so that the office will be shut and we’ll all be working from home.
Londoners have gone mad stockpiling pasta and hand sanitisers. An odd combination and not something I can see working well together but what do I know? In Camden, Sainsbury’s hand sanitiser selection had been depleted which is odd in Camden as most people are on drugs or benefits and I’d be surprised if anyone’s washed their hands… ever.
Anyway, with all this madness around us, I’m going to start stockpiling Corona beer and with all the added vitamin C in a slice of lime, I’m sure that should hold the beast at bay or at least be a lot more fun. In the meantime we’ve ordered a nice selection of wines to be delivered on Monday as apparently no one is stockpiling French wines.
After all, we do have a massive wine fridge to fill… Corona anyone?
We are now up and running with a dishwasher and washing machine installed and operating non-stop!
The inaugural load and wash was a moment of great celebration as we rejoined not only the 21st Century but also the 20th Century as washing dishes in the shower and hand washing underwear in the bath has come to a happy end.
I’m not sad to be ending my relationship with our nearby laundrette where they know me by name and you know that’s not a good thing!
And so with the worktop now installed and just a few missing parts still to deliver, things are looking and feeling very different as I start the process of trying to clean fourteen months of building dust off everything we own!
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.
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!