Off the rails and no rest until Budapest
The Danube Express speeds through attractive countryside en route to Budapest paper napkins. The food is fine but this is no place for the slimmer or vegetarian: each meal is good, big and hearty, Russian-style, and taking no prisoners. The chef, Gustav, is as wide as the train.
I get lost in Budapest, naturally. It is a very easy city to negotiate — everyone says so — and of course I have a map; enough said. Apart from the beauty of the skyline by night, one is aware of two things: an acute graffiti problem, and girls who appear from nowhere offering what I now know to be Thai massage; at the time, though, I just look down at my tie and think, hmm, how very bizarre.
I buy some hand-embroidered Hungarian peasant blouses for hardly more than twice what they cost in the next shop I come to. People smile at me all the time, in pity, I am convinced. The Spectator Joseph Connolly’s latest novel is
(Faber & Faber, $32.95).
Danube Express journeys start from Frankfurt, Budapest or Istanbul. Bookings and holiday packages aboard the Danube Express are available from Australian operators such as Travel Associates. More: 1800 017 849; www.travel-associates.com.au.
Train buff’s delight: