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Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary, May 2019: Part 4

We left Vienna and drove to Budapest. The Hungarian vignette for our rental car was becoming an issue but we wisely went online and ordered ours there. Such a smart move.....you will get different views from the locals on what to do but we were glad we had done this from our hotel room the day before we left. We noticed that when you drive across the Hungarian border there are small buildings where there are long lines with people waiting to purchase the vignettes. We would probably still be there had we waited and done that.....just order it online, keep the receipt that you get back saying you purchased it and you are on your way! The number of your purchased vignette is recorded for your rental car and you have all you need if you are stopped. Budapest was delightful. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it is laid out as a city......beautiful tree-lined streets, parks, the Danube river front. I loved it. The prices there have not caught up with the rest of Europe so enjoy that while you can. We stayed at K+K Opera Hotel, a very convenient 1 block off of the Andrassy U, a main thoroughfare through Budapest. We walked everywhere and this hotel was the perfect location. We took the English tour of the lovely parliament building, walked across the chain bridge to take the funicular to Fisherman’s Bastion and a boat cruise on the Legenda boat that night. I was shocked a few days later to see where a tour boat on the Danube with South Koreans on it had capsized. To think we were on the same river, without the pouring rain, just 3 days prior was hard to process. You get so accustomed to the normalcy of all of these boats going out that you never stop to see if there are life-preservers for everyone. Very sad. The views from our boat that Sunday night were beautiful....and just 2 nights later we took a taxi up to the Citadella to get night views of the Danube.......so worth it if you can do that. We ate 2 meals at Trattoria Toscana, right on the Danube looking up on the Citadella. Get a reservation there and enjoy a delicious meal......the pasta and tiramisu are worth the trip. Follow Rick Steves advice and spend a day at the Szechenyi thermal baths....and get the massage! One of the best I have ever had. It is a relaxing experience!
I want to add that the crowds on this trip were surprising to us...never thought mid-May would be so popular. I did observe only a few times that you have line-breakers.....for the most part people are very good about this but once a young lady was with her elderly parents and walked up to the funicular line in Budapest, pushed ahead of us all and then gave us a look of “let us in, they are old” with no apologies or requests......fine with me, just be nice about it! Also at Demel’s in Vienna.....2 ladies walked right ahead of the line waiting, found an open table and seated themselves......I thought the waiter there would send them away but he didn’t....all of us in the line just looked at each other........kinda strange.
If you like to frequent locally made stores for shopping like we do I would suggest a trip to Anna Antikvitas on Falk Miksa behind the parliament building. She has locally made vintage linens, Herend and small pieces that are very affordable and charming. We did visit the Herend retail stores but preferred buying an older, less expensive piece.
We so enjoyed this 21 day trip....hope my sharing helps someone else!

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Jane, thanks for your comprehensive final report. And yes, I found your sharing to be very helpful for our upcoming journey. Bookmarked! Köszönöm!!