I took a nice dark red Austrian Railjet train from Munich Germany to Budapest Hungary. It is really not that far. A scant 8 hours, made especially nice by the fact that there were no border crossings to take up lots of time. I had only one night here and I had two objectives: visit the Citadella and the chain bridge. I took the new green line metro underneath the Danube river and got out, ready to climb the mountain. The Citadella is an old fortress on top of a steep mountain in Budapest. It’s about a 30 minute climb, but first I needed some food. I found a Hungarian pizza place but they were ‘take out’ only and didn’t really know what to make of this guy who stops in trying to buy a pizza. They fetched someone out of the back that could speak a bit of English and I ordered a pizza. I carried it with me up the mountain and had a picnic in the dark.
Budapest is the pick pocket capital of the world. [So I heard once.] Three years ago I climbed this mountain and somewhere in the deep shadows I was waylaid by a man who tried to take my wallet. I felt it and wasn’t about to give up so easy. Something of a stare down and a small fight ensued, but when I had regained my wallet I galloped down the mountain, with a grungy rough shaven thief in hot pursuit. I escaped. So, for me to venture up this mountain in the dark with no lights was facing my fears. I admit I was very cautious and every time I saw a shadow I wondered if it was someone who wanted to relieve me of money. No incidents occurred.
The view from the top was breath-taking. The entire city sparkled with a million golden lights, and the Danube stretched both ways as far as the eye could see. Boats made their slow laborious way up and down the river.
From there I went down to the chain bridge which is a properly magnificent bridge. It was the world’s first suspension bridge and was quite a marvel in its time. I spent some time sitting by the river thinking and meditating.
At 6:00 the next morning I was back on the train. This time it was a Hungarian MAV train and off we went. Daybreak came shortly afterward and I was treated to a gorgeous sunrise in a foggy farm area with rolling cornfields.