Monday, June 28, 2010

Humidity and Mosquitoes

The weather for most of this trip has been cool and overcast, but in Budapest, it's been overcast and humid, modulating between cool and warm. Because there has been so much recent rain, there are clouds of mosquitoes, so we have been forced to keep our windows closed at night (no bug screens).

Yesterday afternoon we did very little. After we got back together, we took a walk through the Jewish Quarter in the evening and ate at Carmel, a kosher (meat) restaurant. I started with the cold cherry soup, which was still tasty even without the sour cream. I ordered "beef Jewish style," which turned out to be flanken. After the meal we wandered through the remnants of the ghetto. The neighborhood had been mostly Jewish before the war, and between the Holocaust and then communism, many of the surviving Jews moved out. They were replaced by squatters, and so the neighborhood has a run-down feel to it.

This morning it looked clear and sunny, so I decided to wear shorts for the first time in nearly three weeks. We decided to go to Szetendre and left around 10:15 am. We had toyed with the idea of renting bikes and cycling there, but we weren't sure how to get the bikes across the Danube, since not all bridges are bikeable. In the end, it turned out to be a very good idea not to have ridden.

We walked to the main square and had lunch. My grilled perch was excellent. From there we browsed the shops on the main stream running towards the Danube. Tourism is way down. Each time I walked into a store it was as if a hemophiliac had shown up on the doorstep of a starving vampire. Our plan was to take the boat back to Budapest, but it turns out that 1) they've reduced their boat service to one a day; and 2) they have no boat service on Monday. Since our cycling plan was dependent on the boats, it worked out well that we didn't cycle.

In addition, now that the sun was out, it was both humid AND hot, and we still have mosquitoes everywhere, particularly on the bike trail along the Danube. While Cherie finished browsing, Annie and I had drinks in the square. I had a very nice lemonade with orange and mint, along with an Ischler cookie. By 3:15, we were ready to go back. We had hoped to go to the Gellert this afternoon, but we only got back to our pension by 5 pm, and the thermal pools at the Gellert close by 6 pm, so that was out. I am definitely going to the spa tomorrow; I can't come to this spa city and only visit one.

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