The big event of today was that my stepdad came over from the UK to join in with all things clinical, he's having some dental work done tomorrow, and coming back with us on Saturday. I had to make sure I was in the apartment to let him in at around 4pm so I decided to have my daily walkabout just after lunch today.
It's dawned on me now just how close we are to Christmas - this has been driven home by the fact that they're building a traditional Christmas Market (with little cabins) and putting up a huge Christmas Tree in Vorosmarty Ter, which is just over the road from where we're staying. I've looked online and it seems that the market opens on Friday which is fab because it means I get to see it open before coming home on the Saturday. Apparently people travel across Europe to see this market - it's one of the big ones, like they have in Germany.
As is the case in Budapest, they can't build a square without shoving a dirty great statue in it and Vorosmarty is no different. There's a huge one of Vorosmarty Mihaly, a poet, surrounded by adoring figures made from limestone right in the middle of it. As I was wandering around the square looking at the construction, I couldn't help but notice that the whole statue seemed to have a been covered in a large inflatable condom. It crossed my mind that perhaps they were going to fill it with small polystyrene balls that would fly around and make it look like some giant snowglobe. Which would be genius. But sadly, this is not the case. Apparently the statue is covered every winter to prevent it cracking in the cold weather. I still think the snowglobe is a better idea...
Today I decided that I would walk down to the Central Market Hall, which is the city's largest indoor market. This would take me down the pedestrianised bit of Vaci utca, quite a smart and fashionable street, lined with restaurants and antique shops.
Halfway down Vaci utca, a wide road cuts across that goes across the Elizabeth Bridge:
In the far distance, on the other side, there's another statue of some famous Hungarian but I've no idea who. You can just make him out through the murk:
I carried on down Vaci utca, constantly looking up at the building facades above the shop windows and was rewarded with this gorgeously stylised owl keeping watch over the street:
Eventually I got down to the end and crossed over the road to the Central Market Hall:
The ornate front entrance:
Since I've been doing all the shopping and cooking for the last 10 days or so, I have to say I've been somewhat disappointed at the quality of the fruit and vegetables that you find in the little central supermarkets in downtown Budapest. They're very 'corner shop', if you know what I mean. So I always thought the locals had to get better quality produce from somewhere - and this is where they it from.
It reminded me of the indoor markets at Swansea or Cardiff, but much, much bigger,
and the quality and quantity of the food on sale was staggering:
Of course, after pottering around the Hall, I then had to make the lengthy trek back. Turns out I walked 2.5 miles in total at the very least, but then again, if I hadn't, I wouldn't have seen this truly odd statue in some dark green stone of a person riding a motorbike, looking up and going 'ooooooooo':