We enjoyed our final breakfast in the hotel’s beautifully appointed restaurant before gathering our belongings together and checking out. Our stay at the Hotel Nemzeti M Gallery by Sofitel had been lovely with courteous and attentive service, delicious food and comfortable rooms.
We left our luggage with the concierge to collect later in the day and then took the tram along to the southern end of Margaret Island for a morning stroll. The weather wasn’t exactly conducive for a walk on an exposed island as it was blowing a gale and drizzling, but we plodded on with our hoods up. Along the embankment, we could see exposed stones on the riverbed indicating how low water levels had dropped on the Danube after a prolonged, dry summer causing havoc to river cruise itineraries.
Margaret Island is 2.5 km (1.55 miles) long stretching from Margit Bridge along to Årpåd Bridge but due to the miserable conditions we didn’t make it to the northern end, and instead turned inland in search of the island’s famous musical fountain. On reaching the fountain, which is said to rival the one in Barcelona, it had unfortunately been turned off for the winter period. In summertime, the shady paths criss-crossing the island would be a perfect place for a gentle stroll, but sadly not on the morning of our visit.
Returning to the tram stop, we decided to hop on a tram and take one final look at the magnificent Hungarian Parliament in Kossuth Square. On a return visit to Budapest, a guided tour of the Parliament building would be a high priority for us but on this occasion we only had time to visit the museum located in the visitor centre (admission free). This small museum documents the history of the National Assembly covering the 1,000 year long Hungarian legislation with exhibits in glass showcases and on interactive screens.
We then enjoyed our final mugs of hot chocolate of the holiday before returning to the hotel to collect our luggage from the hotel. Another advantage of the Hotel Nemzeti is that it has both tram and metro lines leaving from the Blaha Lujza tér, outside its door, enabling guests to travel around the city with speed and ease.
We returned to the airport on Tram 4, transferring to Metro line 3 to its terminus at Kobanya-Kispest railway station before catching Bus 200 to Liszt Ferenc Airport. Travelling to Budapest airport by this method is included in the Budapest travel card but please note that the express Bus 100 which we took on our arrival is excluded from the travel card and an additional ticket needs to be purchased to travel on this service.
Budapest airport is quite pleasant with numerous airside cafes and shops. We found some seats near the large windows and sat there awhile watching the planes take off and land until our gate opened. Our Ryanair flight departed just a few minutes late and it was a smooth two and a quarter hour journey back to London Stansted. Here we found plenty of e-gates open and we were soon heading down to the railway station for the Stansted Express to the centre of London.
I would like to thank Visit Budapest for helping to make this short break possible. As always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.
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