|The public section of Gellert|
|The BJC is located in an old residence|
Unbeknown to me at the time of my NYE post, January rang in a new era in Hungary: a complete ban on smoking in indoor public places! So, our New Year's Eve jazz concert was absolutely fabulous since we could actually breathe. (The Budapest Jazz Club had decided to make the remainder of December 31 smokeless as well.) Great food, superb jazz, and a fitting venue in the form of an old apartment building that featured a marble staircase between floors made for a wonderful way to start the new year.
|One of several trios to play on NYE|
Our digs in the Hilton Budapest (Old Town) right next to the Mathias Church were not only luxurious but positively a value: Having access to the Executive Lounge we were able to munch on snacks and wet our whistle for zero HUF (Hungarian forint), and a superb breakfast buffet in the hotel's restaurant (regularly costing about $36 or $37 per person) was also included. So, spending about $130 a night for such a place is not as frivolous as it might seem.
|Mathias Church with the intricate tiled roof|
|The Budapest tram|
On Tuesday it was time to leave Hungary's capital (and no, we didn't see or get mixed up in any of the protests). Sabine had made train reservations and by chance had found out about the Premium JetRail service that is being offered for the 7-hour trip to Munich. Think of First Class with a Premium twist—and all that for only an extra 20 euro! During the entire trip we were offered snacks and our choice of unlimited beverages, which led from prosecco via beer to red wine. The seats were comparable to those in transatlantic flights when one sits up front. Wow! If you are going to travel in Europe by train in the near future, you may want to see whether such service is offered.
|Traveling in style to Munich|