April, 2022

Day-5 Walk to Zsámbék

What a cushy second day compared w/yesterday’s 18 miles: only walked 8 today to the town of Zsámbék—feeling guilty—I should do more! And for this I get rewarded by staying at a mini-spa with indoor pool and jacuzzi. This is pilgrim counter-culture.

Always looking for “funnies,” I found one—hilarious (and probably unplanned, totally asynchronous): there was a turn-off from my road into a driver’s camp, presumably a huge complex where you get to do your own thing behind the wheel, which can be deadly). Across this access road was a field statue of St. Christofer (patron Saint protecting against sudden death)—hmm.

Dinner at my hotel was a treat: although I opted for their scrumptious buffet, I had it with a glass of the historically famous bull‘s blood (Egri Bikavér) a Blend of blue frank, cabernet and merlot that the Turks used to ascribe the Hungarian‘s great strength in beating them at the 1552 siege of Eger. And I went overboard with the popular Hungarian poppy seed bread pudding (Mákos guba) with vanilla custard—had to have two of them!

Day-4 First Day of Walking

First day of my Hungarian Camino at a bit over 18 miles and 1300+ feet of climb (minus 167 feet by funiculars the start) crazy tiring, totally unplanned, the route and everything. Original hotel filled up, had to select one off-route. Chain Bridge over the Danube was closed due to repair that caused a 3-mile detour, and repairs up at the Buda Castle closed paths that added another mile. It seemed to take forever on the long not-too-steep incline leaving Budapest. Good thing is that I made it, although a bit wobbly at the end.

Had a lunch made from a rich assortment of breakfast cheeses/ meats. A brief beer stop to go with my sandwich saved me time. After a shower and two-hour nap, I was good to go eat at the restaurant downstairs. I‘m staying at a freeway hotel/restaurant with nothing else around except a gas station—it was the only thing available. I hit it off with an owner who spoke perfect German and did the del Norte Camino at age 18–the people you meet add so much to the experience.

Had to include a picture of the giant Ferris Wheel a few blocks from my trendy little hotel—its lights and all the people were a perfect “good night” to me after another goulash dinner with Spätzle.

Day 3—Sightseeing in Budapest

I couldn’t possibly go into any detail for today’s 8 hrs of sightseeing as I followed “Visit a City” for Budapest’s one-day option. I walked along the Danube’s east bank past the old Chain Bridge up to the gothic-revival Parliament bldg where I toured its historical exhibit.
From here I headed to St. Stephen’s Basilica (named after Hungary’s first King), then to the National Opera House, the Central Market (with Juliana greeting me and finally  finding a piece of Dobos Torte) and ended with a lengthy stay at the National Museum.

Tomorrow I leave Budapest to start my walk.

Day 2 Travel and Arrival in Budapest

  1. Day 2 brought me to Budapest via London and although I received a rainy welcome, I was grateful to begin my journey without a glitch. In fact, it was nearly like old times. Both legs were with completely full aircraft. No one even asked for my proof of vaccination which I thought strange. Furthermore, mandatory masks went out the window; a few folks wore them. I photographed a mural at the airport right after going through passport control, but I couldn’t right-size it to save my soul—sorry! After getting settled in at the D8 hotel in the city center, I went back to the Red Pepper Eterem (Restaurant) that I passed earlier on the way to the hotel—Hungarian Goulash and a good beer from Prague hit the mark. I was too tired to enjoy a glass of Bikaver wine (bull’s blood)—maybe tomorrow.

Day 1 Leaving LA for Budapest via London

Here’s a map of the Camino trail I’ll be following on Friday, my first day of walking.

D-Minus 2 Days to Budapest

This Sunday, Geoff and I did a 7.2 mile pre-hike to Inspiration Point in the Angeles National Forest with a bit over 1000ft elevation gain—a good training hike for me before leaving for Budapest. We devoured a picnic lunch as we looked on to the snow-covered mountains in the distance.

D-Minus 6 Days to Budapest

The plane for Budapest leaves in 6 days. Am getting more ready each day. Yesterday I hiked up the Ventura Coast from the Pier to the entrance of Emma Wood State Beach then back heading up to our Cross. The view is breathtaking, as always, then I finished my hike going through Ventura’s beautiful Botanical Garden whose South African Section is in full bloom.

Day-Minus 20 Days to Budapest

It‘s 20 days until the start of my Hungarian Camino from Budapest up to Bratislava. I‘m training for this 13-day walk in Hungary. This post is a training exercise of its own.