Hungary – Budapest

Budapest popped into the itinerary almost by accident. Portugal was next on the list but flights from any of the Balkan airports were crazy expensive! Wizz from Budapest to Porto was not much more than some of the bus rides we have been on. Off to Budapest then!

Segways are a hoot! Zipping around Budapest on Segways is not just an excellent means of transport, but a perfect opportunity for misbehavior! “Have you ever ridden a Segway?”, says the chirpy Irish lass touting for business. “No”, I said, climbing on board. “Just lean forward a little to move”. Wahay, as the Segway leaps forward like a startled cat. “Lean back to stop!”, I hear as my chariot heads towards the horizon. Turns out, these are not only very simple to ride but immense fun. Within a few short minutes, we are happily carving through unsuspecting pedestrians, (And cats!), and shoot over the Danube towards the cobbled streets up to the Palace. Buda and Pest are steeped in history but it didn’t take long before a fat bloke on horseback with a WW1 rifle told us to fuck off. Maybe the parliamentary building is more welcoming? Drag races in front of the fountains anyone? Less fat chaps on foot with very modern firearms seemingly disapproved of such behavior and encouraged our timely departure! Sadly our time limit draws to an end and we return to the office.

Time for a couple of refreshing beverages watching the sun set over the Danube and a bite to eat. Finding it hard to get any further than goulash on the menu, the question, “Do you like spicy?”, should always be answered with a degree of caution. A few decades of painful experience should assist most people when considering an answer to this simple question. Bolstered however by the quaffing of a few cold ones, “Spicy sounds great”, seemed like a perfectly sane answer! An innocent looking metal pot arrives at the table a short time later, together with a side serving of Mr Chilli and generous chunks of crusty bread. Be careful with that says our friendly waiter before trotting off back inside. Holy crap this is tasty are my thoughts as I absent mindedly dunk the bread into the chilli and follow up with a swift goulash, mouth combo. Moments later, the effect is about as subtle as a wasp sting and my mouth is assaulted by a blast of heat that would not disgrace Kim Jong Un’s latest creation. The Carolina Reaper springs to mind as my futile attempts to quench the fires of Hades with beer brings some relief but the heat is swiftly followed by pain. Dribbling as my tongue begins to swell up and threaten air intake, I begin to panic over possible permanent damage to the taste buds and losing the ability to speak! A visit to the ice bar to find a gay snowman and offer fallacio flashes through my mind.
Take it easy with the chilli I hear as the sweat threatens to form a small tidal wave on my head! No kidding, as I consider the impact of Wilbur Scoville’s measurement scale upon my starfish tomorrow morning. Trip to the thermal springs may be delayed!

Our friend Laszlo’s niece and husband live in Budapest so it would have been rude not to join them for a bite and some beverages

Many thanks guys, Portugal next…


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