Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Peninsula Escape

Back in the days when I moved Philadelphia it was a dream come true. I absolutely loved urban living. Being born and raised in a touristy beach city on the New Jersey coast, the only excitement happened during the summer season. After Labor Day, it was back to the Dead Zone. After living in Philadelphia for a couple of years, I would literally get the shakes if I had to go to suburbia. This was a good way for people to punish me; if they forced me to leave the city, it was like a temporary prison sentence. Before I would go, I had to plan my escape route. If they drove me out of the city, there had to be a public transportation option to return.

Living in Budapest, I still adore urban surroundings. Having matured over the years, however, tree-lined streets, parks strewn with flowers, dancing fountains of water are all a mini-vacation from cement and asphalt. Budapest has the best of all worlds. Day after day you can walk the same streets, but there are still pieces of architectural detail yet to be discovered on buildings you may think you have exhausted. Adding to the mix, many parks and grassy areas are the beacons of respite throughout the city.

Back a couple of weeks ago when I was still in school, one of my students asked me what my plans were for the weekend. At the time my plans included organizing grades, but in turn I asked her about her plans. I had hoped to hear she was going to work on her term project that had already been past due by three weeks. My fantasy ended when she told me she and her friend were planning to go to a strand (beach), one which I had never heard of before. She said she thought it was called Vak Vajú Beach, but then later amended that saying it was incorrect. Rather than hunt for a name, she gave me directions to this little peninsula of Budapest. I was intrigued, but we never did get there.

Today Ron and I decided to explore this unknown territory that has escaped their attention for 12 years. One can take either the four or six tram to the Petőfi híd stop. From there if you do not want to walk, take the number 153 bus to the end of the line which is only two stops. From there it is a very short walk - less than a quarter of a mile.

What we found was an oasis of which we had never anticipated. After passing by luscious gardens in front of the Water Police building, to the right is what appears to be stadium seating for water events. Follow the well placed and maintained walking path with trees skirting the Danube giving some glimpse of the river. On the other side of this peninsula there are multiple restaurants winding along another walking bridge.

Actually our timing was rather poor choosing today. We had checked the weather report this morning for guests. With a forecast offering a 50% chance of thunderstorms today, when we arrived, the chance increased to 100%. Ron has always loved walking in the rain, so I didn’t want to rain on his parade by turning back. We continued walking through the sprinkles as they transformed to light showers wary of the raging thunder in the distance, which sounded like a freight train filled with a cargo-load of loose bricks traveling on loose tracks at high speed. Lightning was keeping a low profile, so we continued to walk to the end.

On our return, we decided to stop for coffee, while waiting out the rain. It stopped before our waitress arrived.

I was really overcome with the maintenance care taken. These gardens are lushly exhibiting blossoms and blooms through a wide range of color. These pictures will whet your appetite for a little green getaway.

One of the many restaurants

I love the V formation with the sidewalks fading.

Beautiful plants

Lovely garden areas

The stadium seating

The walkway bridge on one side.

Stairs to the water, but for what purpose?
According to Google maps, this is called Kopaszi gát.

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