Wait! Don’t start yet! Put some -appropriate- music on first!
We searched for several days the destination of our holidays in October, the Vacances de la Toussaint (if you ask me why the French have a week holiday in middle of the semester, I will answer “because they can”). When we began to consider Budapest, a stupid pun stuck in my mind concerning the movie Little Buddha and BudaPest! The decision had been taken! I would take a photo as a small Buddha, at Buda! It was supposed to be funny…!
Magyars kings, Ottomans, Hapsburgs emperors and Soviet commissars ensured that Budapest had a minimum time of independence through the centuries. However, since 1991, the city is alive ‘n’ kickin’ maintaining this prestige / fairytale image like many cities of northeastern Europe! But with an unexpectedly –for me- great nightlife! I’ll get there! Few touristic info and I will get in the chase!
The ‘double’ capital consists of two separate cities, Buda and Pest, which are connected by bridges. The Buda is built on hills, has an impressive castle named Varnegyed, medieval buildings, Baroque churches and aristocratic ambience! Surely you can realize the differences with Pest ! The highlight is castle Varnegyed, the nearby neo-Gothic church of Matyas, the breathtaking view from the Citadel fortress with dark stories, several curses and witch gatherings. At Citadel here I took the famous (not really) photo with little Buddha …
Also, the hotel / thermal baths Gellert is a place to be! The city has a long tradition in the spa lifestyle thanks to countless natural springs of thermal waters with healing properties. The hot springs of Gellert are more than a source of relaxation, they are a symbol of Hungarian belle époque, seeing all these traces at the art nouveau decoration of the pools! However, the rejuvenation and relaxation in the magical hot water was such, that after the session I could only remember approximately how I managed to cross the bridge from Buda to Pest.
Speaking of bridges, four of them, the oldest ones, located in the heart of Budapest are ideal for a nice stroll! We crossed the Chain Bridge and we returned by the Margaret Bridge. And that’s how we reached the vivid and dapper Pest!
At Pest we found many interesting sightseeing including Opera, the largest Synagogue in Europe, the Hungarian Parliament building a magnificent example of Neo-Gothic architecture and the Heroes’ Square (Hosok Tere) surrounded by the Museum of Fine Arts, Palace of Arts and the city park, the Varosliget. At the city park there is a huge artificial lake which is transformed into the most beautiful ice skating rink in Europe. But when we were in Budapest, the weather was in a good mood, so no skates for us!
Ah! A stroll we made and I ended up getting two pounds at once, was at the Market Hall, with all these stalls full of paprika which is something like a symbol of the city!! There we tried lángos, a traditional deep fried bread that you put any toppings you want like a sandwich! But be carefull! Don’t ask the “Budapest” Langos because the lady would add ALL toppings, and then you would face a mountain of cheeses, meats, vegetables and sauces … Speaking of food, take my word as a dedicated foody person and try kurtosalacs. It is a special dessert baked on a tapered cylindrical spit over an open sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, or chocolate, or nuts…Anything! And the dough reminds of donuts…in a way!
And let’s go to the part of Budapest that made me the greatest impression! This newer bar-history written in the city center, specifically at streets Dod utca and Kyrali utca, where alternative and stylish coffee bars are appeared next to each other! Each is different, each has something that you haven’t seen before, but all are great! Special reference to ruins bars, a unique type of bar in -perhaps – abandoned industrial sites with décor that comes from 1) the time of the Habsburg dynasty 2 ) the period of communism 3 ) your aunt’s old house!
Τhis city’s style is neo- bohemenian and alternative (not hipster for god’s sake!) that totally goes with my/our aesthetics and lifestyle! So it made us think, “we want to come back here, to stay for a month and explore Budapest!”. If you are Hungarian, you are reading this post and you want the services of a journalist and a physician, for some time, we are available! We accept all the offers!
PS: This post is dedicated to my sister, because she inspired me to be partly a travel nerd and do a good research before our visit to Budapest… So with this research combined with our exploratory instinct, we managed to see wonderful places! Below are the addresses where we ate and drank along with a short comment!
Pozsonyi Kisvendeglo Adress: Radnoti Miklos utca 38, Facebook
This is an informal place that serves many Hungarian classics. Absolutely local, with big portions! I had the gulyas, Mm had something that we will never know…although the menu was in English…
Yellow Zebra Bar, Adress: Kazinczy utca 5, Facebook
A cool bistrobar with plates that incorporate Western cusine within the Hungarian ingredients. Not a great variety because it is mostly a pub! You can also rent a bike!
Púder Bárszínház és Galéria Address: Budapest, Ráday utca 8, Facebook
Restaurant with Theatre and Gallery, situated in busy Ráday utca, a street famous for its collection of cafés and restaurants, is a citadel of culture and gastronomy. Great red wine! Try the slowly cooked beef with bread dumblings!
Szimpla Kert Address VII. ker. Kazinczy u. 14. Facebook
It is the pioneer of the ruinpubs. A truly unique cult place giving new trends. Undoubtedly its atmosphere will charm you and we will get lost in all these different rooms, it has! MUST! Do not miss it!
Kuplung Address: Király utca 46 Facebook
Another ruin bar, this time located in a former garage that maintains its original grubby appearance on the outside. There’s table tennis, a foosball, and lights in the shape of jellyfishes…
Blue Bird Cafe Address: Dob utca 16 Facebook
The interior is very cute, blue and one the best I have ever seen in my life (Paris suck it!!). The coffee is delicious, besides this place is specialized to make coffee in a unique way, and the sweet delicacies are really great!
Gundel Adress: Állatkerti út 2. Facebook
I know it’s a restaurant, but we had coffee there, so it gets to the Café section! With great history, many celebrities and heads of states (even Queen Elisabeth) have dined here. We try one of Gundel’s signature deserts, the Gundel palacsinta, a crepe with a rum, raisin and walnut filling, served with chocolate sauce. I was ok, but the best part it was when Mm threw his tea on his lap…! In such a chic place, it was even better!!!