Of course when we awoke on Thursday morning the rain had quit. It was still damp and cloudy, but at least we could enjoy our last few hours in Vienna without our umbrellas. We all thoroughly enjoyed the Mozart concert by the Vienna orchestra the night before we left. Even Kai had to admit it was good and he recognized several of the Mozart pieces and variety of instruments in the orchestra - I guess he really did learn something in music this year!! Frank just couldn't get enough of Mozart and insisted that we visit his house and take the tour before leaving Vienna; it was interesting and a perfect conclusion to our time in Vienna.
I'm happy to report that the train ticket I purchased online to Budapest actually worked and we were able to board without any trouble!!! Thank you, Polly for your help!!! I must admit when we arrived at the Budapest train station 3 hours later my first thought was how quick can we change our reservation and get to Zurich!! Think Grand Central, but worse. Luckily, we had read not to get into an unmarked taxi and to walk to the nearest hotel and have them call a reputable cab company and that is just what we did!!! Once we arrived at the Marriott, I could finally feel my stress level coming down. We were given a beautiful room overlooking the Danube with chocolate covered strawberries on the bed to welcome us. Since, I have spent the last two years working the system with my Marriott points we were upgraded to the concierge level and we were using points, so our 4 night stay was FREE!!! I finally made my way up to the rooftop deck for a much needed and deserved glass of wine and free snacks. The view was one of a kind, especially watching the boats cruise up and down the river.
Our first night in Budapest was spent doing laundry; how exciting!!! Who else, but me would travel with single packs of Tide and have prearranged that we could do our laundry at the nearby Marriott executive apartments? We took up three floors of washers/dryers, but we finally have clean clothes again!!
We all woke up early Friday morning and went to the hotel gym over looking the river for a workout before breakfast. By now, it was raining once again!! That was our queue to head out and start to sightsee! Frank was in usual mode - why take public transportation when you can walk thru Budapest in the rain? So over the Chain bridge we went towards the Buda Castle on the Buda side of Budapest. Most of the castle was destroyed in WW11, but it has since been restored and houses an art museum. Since the rain wasn't letting up, we decided to go in and see the exhibits by the Hungarian artists and a special exhibit by Depero, one of the first contemporary artist's in Hungary back in the early 1900's. Kai really enjoyed it and was quite excited by the whole day, much to our happiness and surprise!! Not only did he sneak in some more culture on the trip, but he was really mesmerized by the artwork. Afterwards we had lunch and he was rewarded with a huge éclair!!! By now he was really happy and didn't even mind the long walk back towards the hotel. Once near the hotel we took a side street towards a Nike sign and FINALLY, I was rewarded SHOPPING!!! We went from WW11 ruins to a wonderful streets filled with shopping, cafes and good shoes from Italy…the Budapest I was looking for.
After a long day on our feet, we finally made it back to the hotel in time for evening snacks and refreshments, just as the sun finally decided to come out! Frank raced out the door with his camera before the sun disappeared, while Kai and I opted to relax and catch up on the internet - absolutely love traveling and being able to stay connected!!!
Two more days left for us to see the sights of Budapest. We are saving the famed thermal baths for our Fathers day celebration on Sunday and if the weather holds we hope to do a bike, or walking tour of the sights in Pest in the morning, shopping on Andrassy Avenue and a visit to the Holocaust museum in the afternoon. Time to call it an evening and go eat - we certainly walked enough today to enjoy a good meal!!