One nice thing about Budapest is how quickly one can get out of the city. It really is quite compact, and with a population of less than 2 million, it doesn't take long to get out into a rural setting, especially on the Buda side. Budapest was actually two cities at one time, with Pest on one side of the river and Buda on the other. The Danube flows between these two halves along a fault line (or so I've been told). The Pest side is flat, while the Buda side is made up of rolling hills, with some great views of the city below.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to have been invited by my friend Alla for a hike up in the Buda hills. Just a 20-minute tram ride from the city center and it felt like we were a world away. It was also lucky that we were spared from any rain for a day. So far this summer it seems that rain has been a near constant companion here in Europe, and indeed it is back again today. Ah well, it makes for good writing weather anyway!