In Budapest, at 7.20 a.m., I’ve been up for an hour now. The sun is streaming through the haze and into my window overlooking the Danube from high up in the Castle District. The Parliament Building is a hazy, Monet-like shadow. The effect is pretty magical.
I don’t know why I always seem to be hungriest after the biggest meals, but I am hungry this morning, so I shall go to the breakfast buffet. This is a lunch-less day anyhow. I have an 11.10 train to catch, returning to Vienna before 2 this afternoon.
And speaking of food: last evening’s dinner was the best of the trip. I stopped at a restaurant here in the Castle District, ordered goulash soup (the scent of which I just want to bottle and put in my kitchen forever), then dined on veal medallions wrapped in bacon, with pan-fried potatoes on the side. Just as I was finishing my beer, a Gypsy-band (allegedly) stepped onto the patio. They played traditional music, the Brahms’ G-minor Hungarian dance, Strauss’ ‘Blue Danube’ waltz, ‘If I were a rich man’ from Fiddler, and most curiously, the theme from Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. I was enchanted. And I tipped well.