We woke up to bright sunshine on our travel day (no thanks, weather gods!), and our train to Prague was not until early afternoon, so we took a short walk to see the Parliament Building. It is one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings and a notable landmark. Construction began in 1896 and was completed in 1904, and it is the largest building in Hungary as well as the tallest in Budapest.
From there we found a small cafe that was open (it was Sunday and, like most places in Europe, everything but tourist shoppes and a few cafes were closed), enjoyed some cappucinos and shared a sandwich then went “home” to await a cab to take us to the train station.
A note about trains in Europe: Train travel is absolutely marvelous most of the time in Europe. They generally run on time and are a very comfortable way to move around, especially if you choose first class as we usually do—no having to get there early (five minutes before is fine), no checking luggage–it goes on the same care with you–no security lines to go through, dining cars and personal service, ease of walking around, and easy access to WCs (water closets/toilets).
Unfortunately, the train to Prague was an exception. Although we paid for first class from Budapest, we ended out sharing a 6-person compartment from Bratislava to Vienna with three large, friendly, and talkative men who smelled of cigarette smoke. They did help us to understand the announcements, none of which were in understandable English. Appears there was a power failure that caused the train to be 60, then 90, then 100 minutes late, arriving in Prague after 10:00pm!
Fortunately, we had prepaid for transfer service to our “Homeaway” in Prague, and Vladimir was waiting for us on the platform when we finally got off the train. He whisked us off to our apartment and oriented us to our location. Prague stays awake late and there was an authentic Italian restaurant just across the street. Although they were getting ready to close, they not only welcomed us in but also gave us complimentary after dinner liqueurs as an apology for closing up around us—a great introduction to a traditional Eastern European city that’s easy to fall in love with.