Wednesday 19 September 2007


Same routine, after our cabin steward had bought our breakfast tray of two pastries, two rolls, a croissant, fresh fruit, jam, butter and coffee we received our schedule for the day.

Arrive Budapest at the Alan Pease time of 1002 am where local guides would escort us on a tour of the city starting with the historic Buda part – Castle District, Fishermen’s Bastion and St Matthew’s Church. The tour would end at the Hotel Sofitel around 1.50 pm where a buffet lunch was arranged. At 7.00 pm we would take a short river cruise on the Danube and then on to the “Club Akademia” in the Magyar Academy of Science palace for a Hungarian dinner.

During the visit to Buda it had been arranged that we would use the toilet facilities at the Hilton Hotel so that our important little bots would not have to be exposed in public loos.

The tour guide asked us if this was the beginning or end of our trip, we said nearly the end, to which he replied “Oh in that case this is just NABC to you, are you familiar with that term?” “No” “It means Not Another Bloody Church”. Oh how we laughed, ha! ha! ha! But actually he was quite right. I must admit all the culture was beginning to confuse.

That’s just reminded me of something the Istanbul guide said “What is the difference between a tourist and a hitchhiker? Five minutes, be back here at precisely 1100, five minutes late and you’ll be a hitchhiker!”.

Our short river trip was cancelled due to the fact that the Danube was flooding (I would have thought a boat was the safest place to be, but no matter!) So – straight to the Academy of Science. An absolutely magnificent building where Hungarian Scientists have met and studied for generations. Our gala dinner was in the library that had been cleared of books! Especially for us! Wow!

I was bought my usual alternative to the fish dish and we were entertained by Hungarian musicians, including an outstanding violinist.

One of our dining companions was a really interesting elderly American who must have been a “someone” in his time. He had a military bearing and said he had advised the American Government on the feasibility of repatriating the Christians and Moslems following the Croatian/Bosnian war. He said no way, they just don’t get on together.

Throughout the journey I had noticed that he was writing snippets in a notebook. I asked him what he was writing. He said “I write poetry and essays and gain inspiration from the odd and quirky comments that people make. I believe that quirkiness is the essence of the real person”. He added “I should really be more disciplined and write them up, but I just keep the jottings. One day I plan to get more organised”. I told him about my blog and he was very interested. I thought it would be a device he could use to “tidy himself up” as it were.

I noticed that the drunker I got the more he was writing in his little notebook. “What was that, can you repeat it?” “Repeat what?” “That last sentence” “What last sentence – blah, blah, blah”. Funny how much philosophy I can spout when I’m drunk, and it’s all so interesting! Oh! We had such a jolly time my new friend and I.
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