I think that Sundays have been classically known to be days of rest. So I thought there wouldn’t be as many tourists today. Like the vacationers at the southern shore, I figured there would be a lull between tour groups coming and going into the city. Alas, there seemed to be more people than before, though I think more Hungarians, which was quite relieving to actually hear someone speaking the native language.
This afternoon I went to Nyugati Pályaudvar, the main railways station in Budapest. As I was looking around the station, I couldn’t help but imagine myself somewhere in the near past—my hair fresh from curlers, my leather suitcase snapped into place and inside neatly pressed letters from an old lover or friend. If you are the kind with a history of Old Country, this place is probably how you imagine the Old Country.
After the train station, I went to Margit Island, which is an island in the middle of the Danube. It’s used mostly as a recreational site now (there was even an American football match drawing quite a crowd at the entrance stadium—I think the Budapest Cowboys were winning), though many of the sites date back to the Middle Ages. Pre-16th century, the island was filled with nunneries and cloisters. Then the Ottomans wars came and the holy folk fled and the churches were mostly destroyed. In 1908, the whole island was declared a public garden and several of the structures are now UNESCO heritage sites.
After dinner, I went to dinner with some friends at Champs, which is a small, dark sportsbar. We watched Wimbledon, drank some Hungarian beers, and ate salads. On the way back to the first district, we stopped at Fisherman’s Bastion and had some ice cream. I can’t remember the last time I had a cone, but eating it with a view of Parliament isn’t a bad way to be re-introduced.