Train trip to Budapest – Glasgow, London, Paris & Zurich – Part 3 – How are the trains / night train?

The Zurich to Budapest “old school” night train

We originally took the train (Scottish Sleeper) from Glasgow to London. I must say that this one has improved recently, with a massive investment for new rolling stock.

Equally, inside, the train was sleek and clean.

From there, after a two day stay in London (will blog later), we went with the train to Paris, with the “trainport” at St Pancras being similar to any airport departure lounge.

The Eurostar trip was incredibly fast, and after a little bit over two hours, we were there in Paris, at the Gare du Nord. The train was clean, spacious, and it was easy to find the restaurant car!

From here, after one night (will blog about this later), we used the TGV to go to Zurich (below). What a train! Extremely quick, with little to no noise. And there was even enough space for my bags (at least in my opinion!).

A mad dash in Paris, to get the TGV to Zurich

And man, did it fly! I can’t remember, but I thought it said its speed was something like 361kmph? Though the photo is slower.

Amazing. And plenty of enough space for baggage, though I must admit, I went First Class on this leg.

It was also no problem to have some food on the short journey of about 2+ hours. Also talked football with the kitchen staff (it was the World Cup afterall).

From there, we were in Zurich, but for only a short, two hour stay (more later). We boarded (below) the night train to Budapest. As above in the very first photo of this blog post, this train was from a time long ago; I loved it. I was only in Zurich for about 2 hours, but would like to return (below).

The train’s sleeping compartment was completely old school! There were actually 3 beds there, and the ceiling was quite high. In addition, they delivered us a small breakfast the next morning; tea / coffee and rolls. Which is what I expected.

I must say, it was rather a rough ride. I always sleep better sitting for some reason?

The beds were very comfortable and communication / attitude of the staff just fine. They spoke a strange German so it was not a problem to communicate, so I did not speak too much English. I wouldn’t think that this is a problem for the non-German speaker.

I can only say, that compared to the MUCH higher cost of going on the Orient Express; I preferred this!

CB

November Eurotrip Part 2 – Budapest again- The Gellért Thermal Bath

Amazing in all reality!

I’ve never really seen anything as opulent as this, with it NOT being a hotel, museum, or footballer’s mansion.

Yes, I’ve been to thermals /saunas before as they’re called in Germany, but this one had a key difference; you had to wear clothes! What a relief, and also it was completely indoors, as the outdoor pool was closed (It was freezing anyway.).

The baths from the outside

What must be said, is that we did this in a tourist, old-fashioned way – we had no towels and decided to go to the venue to buy tickets.

Please buy online, as the place can quickly become very busy (I believe that they limit customers at busy times of the day.). In addition, BRING YOUR OWN TOWELS! They do NOT rent them, so we had to buy two “deluxe” ones, at 30 euros each! What a rip-off!

Two more shots of the interior

Obviously, we have no pictures of the indoor pools, but there are plenty of those on the website links.

I will say, there was a very mellow vibe here, not a lot of noise, very respectful patrons and a lack of English speakers.

Final montage, note the “buy online” sign

Finally, there were families here, all ages, tourists, and everyone seemed to get on with each other. As for the price, I thought it was only about £10 to get in. We went there on a Tuesday afternoon, and there did not appear to be a time limit for your stay. Unlike this country, where a gang from the Stasi would inspect your ticket, and repeatedly warn you that you had to be “oot” at 3:30.

CB

This month, many old trips, just got back from Budapest and its New York Cafe

Lately I’ve been ill, tired, busy with other things, and watching far too much football – but now feel energised and will start to blog a wee bit more.

Last month, I had a week’s travel on some European trains, and ended up in Hungary. A place where I will go again. The above shot is, I believe, of a Budapest post box, or something along those lines? My Hungarian is not what it once was so I simply had no idea what the writing said!

Whilst there, with a “recommendation” from a friend, I just had to go to the New York Café. Really? The “New York Café” in Budapest (Ed; NOT Bucharest!). And even (above) after 9.00pm, there were still queues there. Apparently it’s the go to place in Budapest and I’ll show you what it looks like later in the month.

This month, I will definitely write of this recent trip to Europe, that saw us also in London and Paris (Why have I not been there for 30 years?) In addition, I still want to show some fotos from America, some places in Scotland, more from Germany and a voyage a month ago to Porto.

CB

Belfast, Northern Ireland – Part 1

ICC in Belfast

I’ve been to Belfast / NI, about a half a dozen times the last decade, for a variety of reasons; travel, golf, to see friends, etc, and each time it appears to be more vibrant, cosmo, livelier and “better” if one can use that word.

The Garrick

For today, I decided to have a walk around in the evening with my partner, and after leaving the ICC, we headed for a pub that we’ve been to before, The Garrick.

What a selection of beer, and a simply excellent, hearty menu. Ah tradition, I love it. Equally, there must have been an Erdinger bier promotion (both here and other places in Belfast), as the blau und weiss colours of Bavaria were everywhere.

From here, we had a stroll to Belfast City Hall, a hall that makes the one in Glasgow, look like a dump! I noted this to one of the very kind, security guards inside, and surprisingly, he told me that, that was the second time he had heard someone tell him that, on the day! Whilst inside, we naturally signed the condolence book(s) for Her Majesty, the Queen.

From here, again, we went to a familiar pub, and favourite of mine, The Crown Liquor Saloon, an antique of a bar owned by the National Trust.

A pub that always seems to have a decent pint of real ale on the menu. And equally, seems to always be packed with tourists.

Part 2 to follow, one can hardly wait!

CB

Month Ahead – Various past trips but also a recent one to Northern Ireland

Finally this month, with enough time, will return to blog about recent trips to Germany, America, London for Wimbledon and maybe a few more (Ed: Didn’t you just get back from St Andrews, Scotland, again?).

Belfast City Hall

But the last trip, was a quick 6 days to Northern Ireland, where I stayed in Belfast and had a day trip to the wonderful county of Armagh.

This was probably the sixth or seventh time the last 10 years for me to travel there. And I’ve always wondered just why, more people do not do the voyage? The flight was only about 25 minutes (!) from Glasgow – it literally takes off, and then sets down, stressing the ease of making the trip there.

And speaking of Ireland, both North and South, when back, I decided to go “Oirish” and buy a different type of porridge!

I’ve seen these Flahavan’s for some time, and felt that they would be too expensive when compared to the bog standard, dreadful things that usually come in a plastic sack.

Well, with the recent inflation, they aren’t any more and I can only say, that their “quick oats” design is a winner! In fact, you don’t even need a microwave, boiling water does just fine.

But talking about Northern Ireland, as usual, the people there were incredibly friendly, whether in Belfast or in the country and this week, will put several entries on Belfast, the Churches there, the Titanic Museum (where I had a wonderful dinner), and various things that I encountered there.

CB

Euro Trip – A good idea from Germany – the 9 Euro Ticket

So I’m over there in Deutschland, and the partner says to me, “I’ve got you one of these 9 Euro tickets.”

“Ah, I’ve heard of these.”

Yes I have, due to the online job that I have, where I communicate daily with many Germans.

It’s an (was) interesting idea and one that gave even more benefits, besides just being able to use it on a train.

You could use it on buses, trams, underground systems(?), everything BUT the ICE trains in Germany. The ICEs are the Inter City Express trains, that are not only quicker than normal ones, but have a good deal fewer stops as well.

Not only that, but another huge benefit, was that it did NOT expire after you used it, but was valid for the entire month of August (I believe?).


Many of the trains / buses were packed, and some were not, so it was not a panacea; OTOH, it was just SO convenient to use, and no doubt the German authorities wanted to see just how much of the public transport their citizens would use for one month, if it was, in effect, free.

Why oh why don’t we at least TRY to do this here?

CB

Europe – Start of my last trip, Hull to Rotterdam via the Ferry.

Very comfy bed in a double room cabin

I have to admit, normally I prefer DFDS Ferries, but this slightly older P & O one was perfectly fine, though it was packed with families and their kids.

We had stayed the night before in York (blog soon!), and then caught the evening (early, almost missed it!) ferry to Rotterdam, from Hull. I prefer this, rather than going to Amsterdam, as I’ve always felt (perhaps wrongly) that it is easier to get out of Rotterdam.

And the room was plenty big enough, though it did not have a window. Not really bothered, as I was really only in the room to sleep and shower. Also, there was even a “desk”, though the Wi-Fi was simply too expensive to pay for; I believe it was 9 euros for 3 hours.

The partner in crime had the top bunk, whilst I took the bottom bed, and yes the pillows looked and were, not my cup of tea, but two of them together were just firm enough for a good night’s sleep.

And speaking of showering, it has always amazed me, just how much “kit” there is in one of these ferry’s bathrooms!

Complete, even with shower gel.

Next will be the road trip to the Black Forest.

CB

Euro Trip – Germany and France – A random walk in Bavaria

Yes, in Bavaria again, and I have always found it very good, to just go for a walk and see if there is anything different that strikes me.

I’ve been to Germany many times, but something always hits me, that many who have not been here, would probably find quite odd.

Yes, the above is a gigantic (not sure if I’ve blogged on this before) climbing wall, right next to a children’s school or nursery (a KITA perhaps).

With a smaller wall, for the children I presume?


It’s part of a private climbing club, and is right in the middle of a housing estate; though looks very well maintained. And the walk there, involved some grapes, growing on a wall by the sidewalk! Amazing.

Equally, just round the corner, as this was a Sunday walk, I came across one of these huge quality / inexpensive German supermarkets, where the amount and variety of goods is simply amazing.

This was a Kaufland, and owing to German laws, it is not open on Sundays! In fat, NOTHING is open on Sundays, except bakeries, some restaurants, and petrol stations (There may be more, but I’m simply not sure).


As you can see, NO ONE is there, as the car park is comletely empty.

Interesting.

CB

This Week – More on trips to Portugal, cafe’s, the Highlands, but first, I went to Wimbledon

Every now and then, I get lucky, and several years ago I did. We received some tickets to the Men’s Final at Wimbledon, and then were, very kindly, allowed to defer them until this year (Hello Covid, etc).

After the Women’s Doubles final

I’ll show more later this week, but will always remember seeing Nick Kyrgios in his first major final.

CB

Portugal – Part 4 – Lisbon City Centre – A brief (again) visit

After the previous day, decided to head to the city centre and away from the Alfama hills.

Lisbon Underground – Compact, efficient

When there, went west! Not to the hills and the hoard of tourists, or so I thought! They were everywhere! The place was crammed with every nationality known.

I managed to go to the go to place, facing the ocean and the huge square there.

There were quite a view people already there, concerning the early morning when I arrived. If you ever come here, go further west, and there are many more opportunities to grab an old street car, but more on this in a few days.

Here I noticed even a beer museum! Why not, but it was not open yet, and I had little time.

Beer Museum, Arco da Rua Augusta

From here, I walked along these streets to the west side, and came across a multitude of pubs, cafes, sights and restaurants.

Lisbon Streets

And saw one of the better tourist “things” to do ever, a mini car, that can be hired for two intrepid adventurers.

Mini cars for rent if Lisbon

CB