I’m on a boat! 

We’ve taken all the wheel-based vehicles known to man. Time to take to the sea! Or just the Danube. After blindly attempting to catch a boat in day one with no timetable or map, I now had a handle on the boat situation. Our miraculous one-month transit pass covers a boat that commuters use in the morning and afternoon and serves well as a sightseeing boat during the day. Charting a zigzagging course from Buda side to Pest side and back about 8 times as it heads southwards, it seemed like a good use of a clear(ish) morning. 

 

We took the trolley there and then settled in for a 20-minute ride. Upon approaching our desired stop in Buda, we stood up and approached the door, giving the conductor space to do his mooring job. Instead, upon determining there were no new passengers on the dock, we proceeded to tack towards the far side. The side we did not want. Also known as the last stop. After some mild cursing under my breath, we had an enjoyable pause watching skateboarders and trick scooter riders (without helmets, in the European fashion) ride the ramps in a skate park under a bridge. 

We then corrected course and took a trolley over the bridge and a 25-minute bus ride deep into the outer provinces of the city where few tourists tread. Today’s destination, buried invisibly in a shopping mall? The Palace of Wonders- a hands-on science museum filled with puzzles, optical illusions, magnetic sculptures and a lunar rover. We attended a physics demonstration (entirely in Hungarian, of course). Highlights included the strobe light on a moving fan that makes the fan look like it’s not moving, cracking a walnut on someone’s head (atop a brick to diffuse the blow) and making sound waves visible with a laser and a tuning fork. 

We got our exercise sprinting full speed to the bathroom clear across the mall. Twice. We were, in sure, the only Americans in the place and definitely the only ones eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the food court, packed from home that morning. What am I, made of money? I fended off Sonia’s moony-eyed looks at the toy stores, arcade rides and vending machines and we ate dinner at home after the long trip back. Seems only right after our big weekend away.

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