Tag Archives: Hungary

Budapest Day 3: 13.1 Miles Of Fast Fun

Today was race day! Ellen came with me to the start. We helped a runner from Uruguay, who was racing around looking for the subway in near panic. We were glad to get her going in the right direction.

The expo looked pretty much the same as a race in the USA, except it was also set-up on race day.

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There was a warm-up that I half-heartedly participated in, mostly because I don’t like to tire myself out before the race!

The race had 6 corals, even with an expected time of 2:10-2:15, I was in corral 5.

About 10:15am, I was off! The race started in Hero’s Square and went right down Andrassy Avenue. Much of our activity yesterday, House of Terror, Opera House, lunch, was on that street, the main boulevard in Budapest. So it was familiar.

We went right past our Airbnb, and then over the chain bridge to Buda. This is the only picture I took during the race, I decided I was racing for time.IMG_2457

So only a few differences between this race and a race in the States. I liked that the course was marked in kilometers. Even though you are running 21 instead of 13, you feel like you get more regular signs of accomplishment as you reach them much quicker. Instead of gels or gummies, the glucose they handed out were pieces of bananas and white sugar mints (that looked like marshmallows to me at first).

From my watch, I was under a 10 minute/mile pace for every mile except one, and that included water breaks every 2-3 miles. I knew I was on a good pace, and I wanted to try to beat 2:10. It was warmer than I like, getting up to 72°F and the sun was out. But I gave myself no excuses, picking up the pace the last several miles. Mile 13 in fact was my fastest at 9:04 and the last part of the race (.22 miles on my watch since you always go longer than the official race distance) was 8:37 pace. I was really happy with my finish, the 2nd fastest of my 13 half-marathons.

For the first time for me, I had raised funds with this race for the charity I have been consulting for. If you’d like to make a donation to SOS Children’s Villages, please click here.

While I was running, Ellen was doing her own exploring. In those 2+ hours, she went to Hero’s Square, City Park, the zoo, and the Miniversum. We met back up near our apartment, going to the Spring Market (like a Christmas market but around Easter). I got a bread for lunch, Ellen got a potato latke-type thing with toppings. We went back to the apartment to eat.

Soon though, we were off again, We decided to treat ourselves to the baths and a massage. We went to Rudas Baths.IMG_2461

Saunas, pools of different temperatures, a beautiful outside pool that had a view of the Daube. And then after all that, the Lavender Dream massage, which was a scrub with lavender salts followed by a massage. Took much of the pain from the run away.

We walked back to the Pest side, pulled out our phones and found a place for dinner. A small cafe, Gerlóczy Cafe was just perfect. Salmon for me, duck breast for Ellen.

One more thing on the way home. Ellen wanted to ride the ferris wheel in a park near our apartment. So we did. The top had an awesome view of the Buda side, the castle and the church. IMG_2473


Budapest Day 2: Full Day (and then some)

We had a lot to do today, making up for some lost time yesterday. So first thing was to pick up the race packets. The expo was at the start/finish. IMG_2424

Luckily, that was also right at Hero’s Square.

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We stopped at Coffee Cat for a quick breakfast.

Next stop was the House of Terror. Housed in the building where all the torture and killing took place, it told the story of the “double occupation” of Hungary, first by the Nazis and then by the Soviets. What a terrible 50 years this country had. No pictures inside, so here’s from the exterior.

Lunch was next, at a Rick Steves recommendation of Menza. It had an old time, kitschy interior, with really good food. Hungarian stew, anyone?

Because we weren’t bummed enough by the House of Terror, we then walked to the Holocaust Memorial Center. 90% of Hungarians Jews were expelled, with most turned over to the Nazis in 1944 and sent straight to Auschwitz. Just an awful reflection on the Germans and Hungarians of the time.

We figured we needed to lighten up, so we had a late afternoon dessert at Gerbeaud Bistro, near our hotel. IMG_2435

Now it was shopping time. Ellen found a Hungarian exclusive charm at Thomas Sabo. I found the Hungary national team soccer jersey, my souvenir of choice when we travel.

Had time for only a short rest, then dinner time. Pasta carboloading at Akademia Italia. A bright and friendly restaurant, we both had pasta. Yum!

After dinner we walked to the Chain Bridge and looked out over the Danube. Such a pretty city. IMG_2443

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Now off to bed, there’s a race to be run tomorrow!


Budapest Day 1: Mostly Travel

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St. Stephen’s Basilica

Our quick trip to Budapest started out at Dulles Airport on April 6, 2017. We had wicked storms coming through DC that afternoon, so we were a little concerned from the beginning about making our connection in Frankfurt, as we had only just over a 1 hour layover. As it turns out, we were right.

A 20 minute delay became a 35 minute delay. When the pilot announced he was shutting down the engines as air traffic was stacked up, we knew we were going to arrive a little later than we had planned.

All credit to United/Lufthansa though. When we landed in Frankfurt, they had already rebooked us. Now, United had Ellen and I on different flights to Munich before being booked on the same flight from Munich to Budapest. But we had Lufthansa fix that and make sure our luggage was being rerouted. And extra time in Frankfurt just meant Ellen could take her time shopping at the Thomas Sabo boutique. We flew to Munich, waited about an hour and then finally flew to Budapest. Through the magic of the Interwebs, we had alerted our Airbnb hostess to our new arrival time.

Our luggage did arrive with our flight. We had pre-ordered Budapest cards, which include public transit. That was nice because we didn’t have to worry about figuring out fares or getting Hungarian forints right away. We took the bus to the subway, then the subway 10 stops and we were in downtown Budapest.

Our Airbnb is a block off the Danube, near the Chain Bridge. We our near so much, including the church pictured above. Our hostess met us at the apartment, showed us how all the different keys work and even called her son who speaks perfect English to see if we had additional questions, even though she spoke very good English. After just a few minutes we were off.

Quite near our apartment is an Easter market that we plan to go back to explore. IMG_2414

To no one’s surprise, our first stop was to get SIM cards. We went to a Vodafone shop, and in 15 minutes and for $12 each, we had 1GB of data. Check.

Not really having eaten much over the last day and a half, we were hungry. Ellen had found a recommendation for a Hungarian restaurant nearby. Cafe Kor was charming, cozy, delicious and very reasonable.

I had veal with potatoes.

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Ellen had duck.

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We stopped at an apple strudel place for, well, a 2nd dessert. Crashing very soon, have to make up for 6 hours of lost time, starting tomorrow.