What a beautiful city! I am so happy that Budapest was the end of our trip, which gave us the perfect opportunity to really have time to enjoy it. As Ian described, we saw the Jewish quarter and central market on Monday. The next day, we went to Buda Castle and saw the gorgeous view back over the Pest side of the city. Under the castle are former caves/dungeons/tunnels – former prisoners include no other than Dracula!- and a labyrinth in the PITCH DARK. Very creepy in the dank and misty caverns. Naeva loved it, Amos was terrified.
We also saw the shoes marking the many Jews from Budapest who were shot at the side of the Danube during WW2. Simple and moving.
In true Bouris fashion, we ate our way around town, finding delicious Dobos torte, sponge cake layered with chocolate mousse (thanks for the tip, Eva!); chimney cakes; lots of goulash; dried meats and strudels in about 15 flavours (quark/dill; sour cherry; yum; yum!).
We also said goodbye to Nicolas, Virginie, Jules, Zoe and Authur, from France, who we have spent many special times with on this trip. They are continuing onto Slovenia and onto Venice. Bon courage! THere are plans afoot for us to visit them in the Pyrenees in August. We built a pyramid to demonstrate the strength of our collective legs after 2 months of biking. Their family even measured the size of their thighs before they left so that they can compare afterwards.
Our time at BikerCamp in Budapest was a perfect way to end our trip, surrounded by like minded people on similar journeys, enjoying the shady garden as we cleaned paniers and fixed bikes. We moved out of our tent and into one of their B&B rooms for our last night, so that we didn’t have to take the chance of packing a wet tent for our early train trip to Vienna. It didn’t rain, but it kept things simple for our last bike departure.
In spite of being stressed and a bit unclear about whether tandems were allowed on the trains, there was no problem rolling up to the platform or loading or unloading. We had to lift the bikes up onto the wagon, sans paniers, and that was that. Our seven days of biking was compressed into 2.5 humbling hours, passing some of our bike route, including the famous sand pit desert between Gyor and Komoron. It didn’t look like much from the train.
We had one last bike across the city yesterday from the train station, which I found quite emotional. Those bikes are so smooth and easy to ride, and have taken us to so many special places. It is pretty unique to be able to travel 2250 km with one of your children only 16 inches from you, and the conversations and moments of surprise and shared scenery and questions that have gone along with it. We’ve watched the spring turn into summer. We are so happy that these bikes will be used for another family adventure by Vara and Don and their family.
Now in Vienna, waking up at Blake’s house again. We spent yesterday afternoon washing and trying to dry out down sleeping bags (seemed like a good idea at the time) and getting a package ready to ship home of bike gear we don’t need any more. Blake treated us to another fabulous dinner on a restaurant terrace (sunny and high 20s here). Today, we will leave the bikes locked in the courtyard and go on a hunt for one last Sacher torte on the way to the afternoon train to Zagreb. It is the end of the bike trip.