Hah, is there no end to my sporting analogies! I promise that is the last one.
So I have slipped into Europe via Budapest. Emirates fly here and its a mere 5 hours from Dubai. Its been many years since I have been to Europe (given my recent dalliance with the Americas) but I must say, not having to traverse the USA and its airports is a blessed relief. Nobody had to undress to get through customs, they look at the plastic bag containing your toiletries with sympathy, they let you take to your laptop out in X-ray…..if you want to and they stamp your passport without question, paperwork or invasive identification. It took abut 15 minutes and the luggage was wandering around the carousel waiting. You stampede out through ‘nothing to declare’ and you have arrived. Out the door, turn left, buy a ticket at the vending machine with your credit card, get on the bus and half an hour later you arrive in the centre of town. In my case walk across the road, thanks to google maps, down to the white church and check into my Airbnb apartment for the next few days. It seriously doesn’t get any easier that that.
So I’m staying in Pest, which we pronounce Pesht (even when we haven’t been drinking) which is the commercial centre and has lots of restaurants, bars and history. The other side is more posh, hilly, residential and royal.
My apartment is in an amazing building: a former bank and is a sight on Trip Advisor – (even when I’m not staying here.) That is it below with the mosaic facade but I face the inner courtyard so it is more private.
That the good news. Inside it has character: a non operational caged lift, 3 flights of stairs of 30 steps to walk up (with luggage and jet lag) and smelly drains and bad plumbing and electrics, but it has charm and architecture and tradition. Parquet floors, 4m high ceilings, art nouveau doors, turkish rugs, antique furniture and nic-nacs. A real european home. Shabby-chic interiors mixed with faded elegance architecture. My favourite kind.
Down on the ground floor there is a very nice breakfast and brunch cafe which I tried out my first morning here. It’s way less shabby and far more chic here!
So I’m off to to start exploring a new city… how good is that.