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A tale of two stories
“Let’s take the boat up to Ezstergom tomorrow!” blurted Sailor Bill, my husband with the river fetish.
“But it is supposed to rain”, I protested. “Why don’t we wait until we are guaranteed a nice, sunny day?”
My reticence was well-founded. The last time Sailor Bill suggested a day trip, it was in February and he wanted to head out on the HEV to check out the Sissy Palace at Gödöllő.
I had been to this movie before.
“But it is supposed to rain”, I had protested. “Why don’t we wait until we are guaranteed a nice, sunny day?”
But the sun was out and the sky was blue and Sailor Bill prevailed. So off we headed onto the metro and then onto the HéV, north out of Budapest. Unbeknownst to us, there are three HéV stops in Gödöllő and, of course, nowhere in the tourist books was there any indication that there was more than one nor the name of the one where the palace was located. So we went to the final stop and got off. No palace to be seen (or much of anything else other than rail yards) so we started walking back the way we had come. By the time we got to the second last HéV stop, there was still no palace but there were the first drops of rain. By the time we got to the third last HéV stop, there was the palace, seen through the downpour that was now thoroughly drenching us.
But hey, we’d made it. Up the drive we went. Right up to the big sign that said Closed for Renovation.
So my confidence in Sailor Bill’s travel planning was significantly compromised and Ezstergom was not an hour by HéV but 4.5 hours by boat. I was understandably unenthusiastic about our pending adventure but got up at dawn to head down to the Danube to catch the boat. There were high cirrus clouds already, a surefire harbinger of approaching weather, but Sailor Bill remained obstinately optimistic.
We boarded the boat and off we sailed. And, surprise, surprise, we encountered no rain. The sky remained blue, the sun shone and the trip through the Danube Bend was amazingly beautiful. There was only one little hitch. Seemed every time we had to take on or let off passengers, the captain had difficulty getting the boat even remotely close to the dock. He would eventually make it but the clock was ticking and we ended up arriving 45 minutes late. Even if it had been on time, we would only have had 3 hours in Esztergom. Now we were down to just over 2.
After a quick tour of the town - one where we will return, although perhaps by train - we re-boarded for the trip home. This time we had the current going with us, so travel time was scheduled to be reduced by an hour. However, in order to dock, the captain would now have to pass the dock and then turn the boat around so it was sailing into the current. This was going to prove interesting.