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July 21, 2002

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Not content to give my parents a night's sleep, we shuttle them on an overnight train to Budapest. The ticket office outrageously overcharged us by adding various imaginative taxes to our bill, so we were grateful for a chance to experience post-Communist corruption first hand. We slept in a first class cabin which means bench seats have headrests, and arrived in Budapest at 10:00 AM (a 9 hour train ride). From the train station we sprang into action like a well-drilled team: Jill and Dad went for cash, I looked for a place to stay, Ed found the metro, and Mom sat on our bags like a hen guarding the golden eggs. We booked accommodation at a private apartment for $85 per night (21,250 Hungarian Forints) and spent the rest of the day following a young, scatterbrained Hungarian tour guide around Budapest. In classic Communistic efficiency, our guide turned a 3 hour tour into a 6 hour death march. Mom and Dad hung in there and we managed to see every church, palace, synagogue, Danube overlook, and government building in Budapest. We won't remember anything except sore feet.
Who wants to sleep on vacation? They may look tired, but they're ready for action.
Budapest's parliament sits on a Danube bend.
The Communist's porche. It's made out of scrap metal and wood. You can double its value by filling the gas tank.
Budapest at night.