Red Bull Air Races – Budapest 2017

On a hot and stuffy summers day we drive from the largest lake in Europe to the beautiful capital city of Budapest.  During this short hour and a half journey we enjoy the fluffy clouds that are threatening a storm from the comfort of our air conditioned car.  Having just purchased a new kite we also keep a lookout for an open space to give her a test run, but it proves quite difficult picking a spot from the motorway.  Many farm fields open before us and we discuss the possibility of running through these fields destroying crops to get our kite airborne.  Having decided that this is totally worth it we pull over and begin laying out our string only to have a police officer stop and tell us that stopping on the motorway is illegal and so is trespassing on someones property.  Who knew?

Carrying on to Budapest in a sour mood we are surprised at the level of traffic going into the city.  It is a Saturday morning and usually at this time during summer the inbound lanes are clear and the outbound bumper to bumper as the city empties its people to the lake and villages.  Not today.  Both lanes of travel are packed.  Loving suspense I wonder what is going on in the city and look forward to finding some posters or coming across whatever it is but this being the age of smart phones I can only enjoy my suspense for a minute before I am told that the Red Bull Air Races are in town.  Damn you technology.

This is an amazing coincidence.  I have been to the Budapest air races before and loved it.  I know they are run right in front of Parliament over the Duna river and our hotel is on Margaret Island which is right at the end of the race course.  I couldn’t have planned our visit better if I had actually researched it.  After working our way through the traffic and checking into the hotel we grab a bottle of wine and head for the races.

Walking across the beautiful park that is Margaret Island we arrive at Margaret Bridge and are greeted with the awesome sound of pure horsepower.  Now this is an amazing rebuke to the “safety first” culture of today as these air races take place in the middle of a city, in front of an incredibly beautiful building, meters off the water and meters from bridges full of people and traffic.  There is even a flight under one of the bridges and a low speed pass by a WizzAir A321.  It is all very exciting and a breath of fresh air, except for the fumes.

Do not worry about getting your moneys worth, as the city puts this show on for free.  Grab a drink, find some shade, and enjoy your childhood dream zoom right across your face(If tearing through the center of a city at ground level in an agile and powerful plane was not your childhood dream then we have serious issues to discuss, but we will leave that for later).

After watching for a while and polishing off our wine we move on to the other offerings of this incredible city, all the while enjoying the sound of pure adrenaline fading into the distance.