Big Storm

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Hungary  ,
Monday, August 21, 2006

Although we planned to be in Hungary for just a day or two we decided to extend our stay so we could see St Stephen's Day celebrations and watch the Red Bull Air Race being contested on the Danube River.

We took the Funicular Railway up to the Royal Castle (all of 30 seconds and something we wouldn't recommend wasting your 14 Euros on) but were disappointed we had to pay to go inside as they were holding a craft market in the grounds. Normally it is free to go into the grounds; how annoying we chose the wrong day to visit. After wandering around waiting for the fly over to mark the official beginning of St Stephen's Day we made our way down to the waterfront to find a good spot to watch the Air Race supposedly starting at 2PM. Unfortunately it didn't start till 4PM so by this time we had very sore bottoms from sitting still for five hours (and weird red sunburn marks where we had missed with our sunscreen). We were kept entertained by stunt flying displays overhead and the occasional sky diver. The air race was worth the wait though with the stunt planes flying low under the Chain Bridge before navigating a particular course through blow up gates as quickly as possible. It was an amazing display of skill.

After the first round we decided to head back to the hostel and have a snooze planning to head out after dark for the National Day fireworks display. We had been told the fireworks would start at 10PM but at 9PM, whilst we were still at the hostel, we heard them start. We quickly tried to get ready to go out but whilst doing so heard screams from outside, coming through the open window. Megan looked out the window, three floors up, to see hundreds of people running down the street away from the river where the fireworks were being held. We had no idea what was happening but all of a sudden big gusts of wind began blowing and although we couldn't really tell over the noise and lights from the fireworks a thunderstorm was rolling in. The millions of people by the riverside watching feared they were about to get soaking wet so they began leaving en mass. Unfortunately it got worse as the rain came down in buckets soaking everyone and flooding the streets. The fireworks continued as thunder and lightening, followed by panicked screams could be heard. The worst part was the wind knocking off roof tiles, most buildings being four stories high, some landing on people heads. Obviously we decided to stay indoors and watched group after group of people running past seeking shelter and listening to the outdoor restaurants smashing to pieces. The storm was ferocious but very quick and was over in about 20 minutes. The ground floor of our hostel was flooded, the foyer harbouring locals seeking safety during the storm. Throughout the night the sound of sirens could be heard as the city cleaned up after the storm.

Status of Rick's hair: Almost sorted.
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