Budapest: day 2

At 10 pm last night, our bags arrived – whew!

Suitcase love!

Starbucks is all over Budapest. Shakespeare welcomed us to this one:
Today’s excursion was called Jewels of Andrassy. We met Kinga in the lobby of the hotel in the early afternoon. Each person received an earpiece and small receiver. Kinga was able to walk and talk and everyone could hear her no matter how far away you were – an excellent way to hear every word.

There are many life-size sculptures of people doing everyday things. Here an old-time police officer stands on the corner – his belly shiny from all the rubbing.
The manhole covers are all unique and beautiful.
St Stephen’s Basilica, the largest Roman Catholic church in Budapest. The highest point is 97 meters (318 feet). The Parliament building is also 97 meters to symbolize the equality of church and state in Hungary. No other buildings are allowed to be taller.
Inside an ornate structure the lighted case was a religious relic: St Stephen’s mummified hand. Stephen was the first King of Hungary in 1000 AD.
With special papal permission, Stephen was also the central figure on the main altar instead of Jesus.
This golden wall scone was easily 5 feet tall:
A typical entrance to an apartment building. The door you open is a smaller one on the right side.
Also typical is a courtyard inside. The most desirable apartments are on the second floor where the windows and ceilings are the tallest. As you go higher, the windows and ceilings heights are shorter. Most of the apartments had 4 nice-sized rooms when they were built, but when the Soviets occupied Hungary, they decided 4 rooms were too many for any family so a wall was built down the middle. Unfortunately that meant one of the new apartments got the kitchen while the other got the bathroom. The other solution was not to build a wall but to move in another family to share the 4 rooms.
Next stop, the opera house which is being renovated, currently covered in plastic.
A brief performance of four arias:
On to Muvesz – which means “artists” – a cafe once popular with artists and writers.
The four desserts at our little table:

Instead of walking back, we took the Millennium Underground Railway, opened in 1896, the continent’s first subway.

Budapest: day 1

We are staying at Sofitel Budapest Hotel which is in Pest, the bigger and more modern side of the river.

Complimentary breakfast every morning – the selection is huge. Different cuisines are available, from Indian, SE Asian, American, Nordic countries, and of course, Hungarian.
We took a tour of the city but it was not the best. When booking a tour like this, a person should ask about the windows on the vehicle. If there’s something to see on the left (or right) side, 2/3 of the people couldn’t see it. If it was a tall building, you couldn’t see it. I sat alone in the farthest back seat, which was a couple of steps up from everyone else, and got good views of everything as long as I laid down across the seat. If I stayed upright, there were excellent views of the sidewalk.
A view of the Danube from the top of Castle Hill – where there is no castle.
Matthias Church:
A better view of the Pariliament Building:

Heroes Square:
We had a really good dinner at Jerney Bistro:
On the way back to the hotel, a man playing songs accompanied by some recorded music. He was really good.
Our lost bags were on a flight from Frankfurt this afternoon, but it will take hours for the bags to get to the hotel. Fingers still crossed. This is the third full day in the same clothes.

To Budapest Hungary

Yesterday, Adrienne’s daughter Alyson drove us to the San Francisco airport.

After a 10-hour flight, we arrived in Frankfurt Germany at about 9:30 am. The shopping area was laid out like an upscale department store. Yes, it’s possible to buy a Jaguar SUV at the airport.

Many kinds of fresh pretzels:
The flight to Budapest was just over an hour. Shockingly at least 3/4 of the passengers on our flight did NOT get their checked bags. There were long lines of people trying to get to the lost luggage counter where you had to fill out a form and submit it. The forms were in short supply and the whole process was chaotic. That took about an hour. Sigh.

Fingers crossed our bags arrive soon. We are really looking forward to a good night’s sleep tonight.

Hampton Gardens Community Potluck

A nearby North Natomas neighborhood – Hampton Gardens – had a community potluck at

and I was the representative for Jibe.

It was a fun event and very well organized. The guys from Dos Coyotes were giving out delicious Frito Pie and chips and salsa.
Bike Doc was there:
Everyone enjoyed the zumba class:

Carson the Okapi

I won’t be quite as available this Halloween for costume creation, but Thais managed to get Carson to narrow down his request from “all the animals” to an okapi. After a little online research, the costume seemed fairly easy. The result:

Project Ride Smart

Deanna and Christy are teaching this session at Natomas Park Elementary.

38 kids signed up for today’s after-school coaching session and I was asked to help out. Only 10 showed up which was a good thing. They were all quite successful by the end of the one-hour session.