What a beauitful city! Despite the communist remnants in some of the drab buildings they have really spruced up the city, restored a lot of the historical architecture and have really made it quite nice. We stayed on the Pest side (budapest used to be 2--technically 3 actually--cities and then to become the capital they merged buda and pest into budapest) very close to the hussle and bustle. Since we only had a day there I wanted to make the most of it so I found a free walking tour that we went on in the morning and it was great. It took us to lots of monuments and over the the Buda castle on the other side of the Danube. The guides were great and it was free! (tips accepted of course but they were really good so we would have tipped them even if we paid probably). We then wandered around looking for places to buy some gifts and to see the city. Then we went to the biggest bath house in the town, Szechenyi. We got there late in the day so many of the baths were closed but I mean, once youve seen one youve seen them all right? Anyways, the bathhouse is famous in budapest. It is a mineral bath with the water coming directly from the earth underneath. It smells wierd but makes your skin feel really soft. They had different temperature baths and even have some outside (we didnt go to that one tho). And its not like everyone there is a tourist, it is a very Hungarian thing to do--many hungarians go regularly and there were lots of cute old men in their speedos enjoying the baths!
We went to dinner in Josh's fave restaurant in Budapest and had a delicious meal, tho they did change the menu recently so they didnt have what he was craving. Gabor met us at dinner for some drinks and gave us a copy of his wife's food and wine guide to hungary, a really nice book! (his wife is american and she writes travel books and guides)
We were supposed to leave early Friday morning for Catania (sicily)via Milan however we got to the airport and learned that italy was on strike--like the whole country so our flight was delayed indefinitely, with an estimated departure of 130pm (it was a 9am flight). Then around 11am they decided they could take us and we left, but not in time to make our connection to catania so we sat at the milan airport (luckily because of Josh's status we got to sit in the VIP lounge!) until 530pm when the next flight our left...quite the day.