On our fourth day in Budapest we decided to take a day trip to Eger, to the north east of the city, as we had read about the castle there and simply couldn't resist! The journey took 2½ hours and was absolutely beautiful. The train ride into Hungary had been so disappointingly dull that we hadn't been expecting much, but it was lovely. We passed lots of huge fields full of sunflowers, some very pretty houses and lots and lots of countryside. The first thing we saw when we got off the train in Eger were some swallowtail butterflies, which made me very happy. Eger is such a pretty town, kind of like a very concentrated and compact version of Budapest, with lots of elaborate and very unique looking buildings, my favourite being the big Orthodox church in the centre where we sat and ate granita and listened to the pretty chimes of the clock tower. While sitting there we also saw a nun, some men with fantastic moustaches and more people wearing red trousers than I have ever seen in my life.
The castle in Eger, the main reason we went there, lived up to the hype. A lot of it was being done up, but the bits we saw were really pretty and from there we had great views over the entire town. I can't get across in words how good it was, so you'll all have to wait for the photos.
The touristy shops in the town were far more obvious than in Budapest, where we'd only seen a couple, but I'm sad to report we did not find a single snowstorm. However, they did have wine in small fun bottles shaped like boots and horses! Wine horse strikes again! We walked through town after seeing the cathedral and various churches and noticed that the road crossings don't beep like they normally do, they instead have a man's voice saying something in Hungarian, l imagine it's "please cross now", and he sounds just like Emperor Palpatine!
The train ride back to Budapest was crazy hot, but the scenery was nice and we'd picked up a big bottle of water from a Tesco (!) in Eger, so we were OK. Back in Budapest we attempted to locate the Chinese market we had read about, but the heat was so intense that we had to give up. We had a nice walk back to the Metro and saw a pair of old ladies with matching embroidered red boots and counted 6 women with their arms in slings.
A family came onto the Metro the stop after us who smelled just like powdered jelly, and when we got back to the hostel John shaved off his beard :(