Yesterday was one of those long, great days. We started off slow, with breakfast in the apartment, and that was so nice we stayed for lunch. Maggie fixed the pasta & pesto that had been left by our host, who is Italian. (Naturally she added her own touch, with chopped radishes, sun dried tomatoes and roasted cauliflower.)
We followed that with a trip to Erzsébet kilátó, a tower at the top of the tallest point in Budapest. It’s surrounded by a huge park, where it turns out is the place where people go on a sunny Saturday in April. There were hikers, bicyclers, families having picnics, people like us, out for a stroll, and some people for whom it was enough to just lie in the sun.
We took the bus from our apartment to the park, and had a conversation with the family who sat across from us: a man from England, his Hungarian wife and their little girl. He was their teaching English to the Hungarian employees of the British Embassy. We had a fascinating conversation about what it was like to be an expat in Budapest, what affect the Brexit might have on him, and what it was like to teach English in Hungary.
Near the base of the tower we stopped to look at a map and one of those small world experiences – one of the guys also looking at the map was going to USC. I forgot to ask him why he wasn’t in school.
From the tower, we got a panoramic view of the countryside, with Budapest in the distance. It’s very nice, but for us the trip up to the top was the high point.
On the bus on the way back, we kept hearing airplanes flying by low – definitely piston engines, not jets, so it wasn’t any sort of military exercise. Crossing the Elizabeth Bridge, we were treated to a show of four small airplanes with the Red Bull logo, doing stunts over the Danube. I got off a couple of pictures, but they were just finishing their act, so I didn’t get any shots of the more spectacular tricks they had been doing.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, on the way back, the church in our neighborhood had its doors open, and when we stopped to listen to the organ, we saw that a wedding was just finishing, and the bride and groom were walking down the aisle. We stopped to join the cheering, clapping, rice throwing crowd.
Back at the apartment, we toasted each other with the Champagne our landlord had left as a birthday gift for me. What a great day that was. Today is going to be full of activities, too: for May Day, there’s a race car demonstration and air show down on the banks of the Danube, just about a mile from our apartment. (The planes we saw must have been practicing for the show.) They couldn’t have planned a better celebration for my birthday. I’ll be down there with my camera, shooting until the batteries run out. Maggie will be there too, of course, but she might reach her limit before I do. If so, she may head to the Sunday farmer’s market in the Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub. Either way, it promises to be another great day.