April 12th

Many of the group opted to take an optional tour during the afternoon but Lynn, Julie, Ave and I decided instead to walk to the Hungarian Parliament buildings and from there take a tram along the Danube to the Great Market.

When we walked to the Parliament, we passed buildings with many beautiful features. Interesting to me was an electric car which was plugged in at its parking spot.

The Parliament was huge, very ornate and very beautiful. There was an eternity pool along the road as you walked onto the Parliament grounds. Two guards stood duty at each side of a tall flag pole. Already many flowers were blooming and made the area even prettier.

We caught the #2 tram on the road to the side of the grounds. We'd been told by George on our tour that morning that this tram ride is considered one of the most scenic rides in the world. I would agree that it has to be.

Soon we reached the market. After we walked inside, we decide to split up and explore on our own. We designated a time and a place to meet. I walked upstairs to have lunch. A humongous cabbage roll which I could only eat half of was my delicious lunch. Right after, I met a shopkeeper who noticed my Winnipeg Jets tote. Evidently, he was a goalie for a Hungarian team and once had aspirations to play in the NHL.

I browsed upstairs and down. Downstairs was mainly food; upstairs had crafts and souvenirs. There were a lot of locally made crafts a cat theme and considering I didn't see even one cat in Budapest, that seemed strange. I bought a few souvenirs then went outside and walked down a street full of shops. After window shopping for about a half hour, I arrived back at the market early for our designated meeting time but at the same time, all three of the other ladies showed up. They were ready to leave as well.

We took the same tram line back to the Parliament. When we got back, Lynn and Julie decided to go back to the hotel but Ave and I decided to walk around to the river side of the Parliament to get a better view of it. As we retraced our steps to the hotel, we made one wrong turn and instead of going directly back to the hotel, we ended up going on a bit of a detour. Ave and I didn't mind much since we saw more this way and we ended up at the Octagon which is a square only two blocks from our hotel but in a different direction.

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