Monday, 27 May 2013

Budapest (or rather Buda)

More than forty years ago. I was invited to spend a couple of days in Budapest by an Hungarian doctor: I had met Adam in London where I was then living and let him sleep on the floor of my flat. My hospitality to him was amply repaid. We have kept in touch.

Now I am staying with him again for three nights. This evening I met his younger son Abel - the same age as Agnes and father of two sons of his own: Abel (in his spare time) plays in a band, Crescendo. Like his father he speaks excellent English which is just as well. He asks searching questions, which are hard enough to answer even in my own language.

Walking in old Buda this afternoon, I realised that I had forgotten how beautiful it was. "You have Edinburgh," my friend says, "but instead of the railway line between the Old and the New Town, we have the Danube."

Last night, Nicholas and I were due to share a sleeper on our train from Sighisoara. On being shown in, we discovered the window blind wasn't working. Big fuss! So the nice attendant ("I would like to go to live in England...") eventually showed Nicholas into a first class compartment in the next carriage, and thus we each ended up on our own. I soon fixed the blind, turned my watch back an hour and went to sleep: two customs interruptions, but not too bad a night.

Adam met us at Keleti Station, we dropped Nicholas off at his hotel and then crossed the Danube by the Chain Bridge to Buda. I barely remembered the flat where I'd stayed all those years before, though the address had stuck in my mind. It was good to meet Judit at last, though I had already encountered her rosary hanging from the car's rear view mirror. She greeted me with an elaborate breakfast, including cherries from by Lake Balaton. This evening, I ate a large plate of fresh peas from the same source.

No comments: