Leaving ICS with Debra and her husband T-Bones to spend a rainy, windy weekend in Budapest at the wonderful Gellert luxuriating in the baths, walking the streets of this lovely city so rich in visuals and history, while enjoying the unique food and the warmth of the people.

On Tuesday, up early – Deb and T to make one last trip to the Great Market Hall and I wanted one last dip in the pool (never made it). We made our way by taxi to the airport – about a half hour away – quick, inexpensive with the added benefit of a courteous driver. I do wish I spoke some Hungarian though … such a challenging language and so few of the people speak any English here it makes real communication challenging. That said, I did enjoy the people and look forward to the next time I am fortunate enough to visit.


We arrived during the heat of the day and at rush hour.  The press of bodies greeting passengers at the airport was four to five deep, holding signs, but no one from our hotel as promised… I went to the service counter (seemed similar to the Mexican system in PV) and negotiated a trip to our hotel with some apprehension… – hot and dusty driving through the green boulevards while jammed into a local taxi van dropping us at our various hotels…. culture shock even though we’d been away from home in Hungary for three months.

We skirted the boulevards in our wonderfully cool van and dropped passengers in narrow streets where it seemed impossible to negotiate two cars at a time – courtesy, pressing horns, taking turns backing up slowly, everone waving hands giving directions until we finally were on our way to our hotel.  We were dropped on a main street where buses and taxis teamed up the hill. Adding to the din of general traffic was an overhead commuter train every few minutes. The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia were just a few blocks away and the mezzuin seemed to be competing with each other for air space – all in all, an almost distressing cacaphony of sound for me.  We entered the Hotel Emma Saray to be greeted by four charming, talkative men who had assumed management of the hotel a few months ago. While pleasant, they generally had little concept as to how a hotel should be run and as we were there for the week, we had ample opportunity to know they were out of their depth….. but that is a blog for another time.  However, the week-long visit was rich and we loved the city and our time there – the food, the people, the Turkish monuments and baths will ensure I will return again.  Enjoy some of the photos of our time in Budapest and Istanbul…