The Great Beyond- Trekking in Kamaraerdő and Budafok

A long time ago I used to live in a galaxy far far away, well, not really, merely on the other side of the Danube, in Albertfalva. I like to call this the Albertville period, with overtones of Gauguin’s Tahiti period painting Polynesian beauties, but mostly Ovid’s exile at the Black Sea, pondering on the real nature of the colours green and blue and deciding they’re both grey.
My undertakings were not quite as painterly or poetic- I spent a good time of my period in Albertfalva passionately hating it. Mind you, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with Albertfalva and I am sure there are plenty of people who find its rural charm meets socialist brutalism atmosphere quite fetching. And no, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with socialist brutalism either, I am a great lover of New Belgrade after all. It’s simply that things never clicked into place with Albertfalva, and whenever I could, I boarded some vehicle which could take me out of it.
That vehicle would have been either of trams 47 or 56 yet almost invariably the rattly thing arriving first was the 41, with its ancient carriages smelling faintly of weed- as it turns out, that is actually no urban legend, the old tram models were indeed treated with hemp oil, hence the ominous funk. 41 was therefore my arch enemy, and I really couldn’t care less that its final station was the mysteriously sounding Kamaraerdő.
Later, as I left behind both Albertfalva itself, and my hatred of it too- I am still not nostalgic about it, though, it occurred to me that it was silly not to have been to Kamaraerdő when it was considerably closer to me than it is now. And when we finally made our minds up to go and check it out, tram 41 is actually not running, due to the (in)famous summer refurbishment works on the Buda lines.
We therefore had to ride a 41 simulacrum, in the shape of a smallish bus in pristine conditions, no funk, no rattle, just a rather mind boggling route through Budafok, with occasional glimpses of the now unused rails.  It duly deposited us close to the starting point of a hiking trail- not that we planned it to be so, we were actually concerned that we’d gotten off at the wrong stop.
This particular trail is a so called learning trail, with several stations where useful information about the soils, flora, fauna and climate of the area is dispensed. The first half was picturesque enough and led through an ancient ravine, which was very fitting, since the weather was hot and humid and you could very easily imagine yourself swimming- mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, and we’re worse and go hiking as well.
We cannot say much about the second half of the trail- because we didn’t take it, and opted for another one instead, which we hoped would lead us to a nice vista, but didn’t. It was however a pretty comfortable walk which could be easily navigated in flip flops as well- you might start to assume that we are the worst hikers in the history of humanity and you’re probably right.

The trail did however lead us back to the main road, and then we had a bit of a vista as well, and slowly descended towards more domesticated parts of Budafok- though we did encounter one particularly fractious dog along the way. The next station of our trip was what must be the holiest corner shop of Budapest, protected by the Mother of our Saviour herself. And a good little store it indeed is, for we tanked up on beer and continued along Honfoglalás street, being probably the first people who ever went there without being locals or visiting relatives. We did meet several cats, dogs and lizards- among them a decidedly less furious mutt, who might just be the most despondent dog in Budapest- as you see, Budafok is indeed a place of superlatives.
Having made it back to the crossroads where the 41 usually veers off into the great unknown, we decided it’s high time to sample some local cuisine, and we were lucky enough to aimlessly wander all the way to Promontor restaurant and its charming summer garden, which we can warmly recommend to anyone finding themselves in the centre of Budafok for any reason.  Since aimlessness had worked wonders so far (this might be one of the main tenets of my life), we went on in the same manner, passing the Budafok train station and veering out to the bike track on the Danube shore. And true to form, our general unpreparedness bore fruit, and we stumbled upon a pleasant riverside establishment by the name of Dunaparty megálló, which consists of two disaffected double-deckers (looking for logic is beyond the point here), one dispensing food, the other one dispensing beverages, amongst them real, wonderful, Czech beer.

Given this most refreshing of pit stops, we decided that we’re brave enough to walk all the way to Lágymányosi bridge, which these days is called Rákóczi and somehow I’m not impressed, and take tram number 1 back to our usual haunts. On the way there we did however glimpse Népliget and realized it is yet another one of those places which have criminally escaped our presence in the past decade or so, and that is ridiculous and borderline insulting and must be made up for with a certain urgency. 




































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