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Saturday, June 18, 2011

I Love this City

Never have I every been to a city that I like this much. Budapest is awesome. I cannot describe how cool it is, nor can I take pictures to show how amazing it is. Every corner you turn you see a different Art Nouveau building that was better than the last, and the entire city is packed full of amazing buildings. It is as if (and this is pretty much the case) the city was built over night with all of the cool technology, style, and technique of the period around 1875-1900. For us, the sites are cool, the castles are neat, but just gazing up at the buildings and down the street are all we need. Granted there are a few amazing sites that we are continually in awe of such as the Palace hotel and St Stephens Basilica, we make a point to see each of these buildings every night, they are just too amazing and we have to get our fix each day.
Budapest VI District
St Stephen's Basilica in the rain
After Croatia we needed a city, we were done island hoping, and we did not feel like seeing anything between Croatia and Budapest. The solution? Eight days in Budapest, we have been living here and it  feels good. The first three nights were at the Prater Residence. A cool place in the District VIII (Józsefváros) area,  but the hotel was a bit too mod and soulless for us, plus the connection to the Internet blew, and the area was a little too edgy. There are only so many times you can see someone defecating on the sidewalk. But the area had its charms, look beyond the red light districted stex shops (yes, stex) and we found many things we would not have seen otherwise. Such as the Corvin pass, St. Francis of Assisi Church where there are free symphony concerts, a local market, and Cafe Alibi to our delight and which after weeks of bad Croatian espresso served a mean good double cappuccino.

After three days we made it to District VI (Terézváros) for a home stay in a charming studio apartment in an old building owned by a guy named Norbert. Now this area is awesome, amazing good, walking streets, the Opera, wine stores, the works. We love it here, immediately we felt at home and the next few days ensued into leisurely strolls, runs along the Danube, coffee, afternoon German beer, and dinner. Dinner. Forget Hungarian food, which is awesome and we had some really great meals of pickled vegetables, salads, and wonderful soups, rather we focused on the over abundance of Middle Eastern eateries and pounded falafel and chicken humous bowls and Vietnamese noodle bowls. We have however taken advantage of the local delis for spreads of cheese, vegetables, chicken parts, fresh baked breads, and hand made sausage and other dried meats. This place is delightful.
Our apartment
The stairs inside our bulding
Nicolette fixing her shoes in front the the unique fashion store for unique people
We also spent the day trekking around the city finding famous cafes and coffee houses where famous Hungarian writers spent their time at the turn of the century. I have to say I know very little about Hungarian literature, but for our next trip back here I am going to make it a goal to read a few pieces, understand them, then spend some time reading at the cafe where the writer wrote the work. The Central Cafe, was a focal point of urban social life where new ideas, notions were discussed and dispersed. The Centrál reached its peak between the two world wars with writers Frigyes Karinthy and Lőrinc Szabó as regular guests. The communists did not tolerated the Centrál, so they shut the place down.  The Centrál Café was the first classic coffee house that reopened after the fall of communism in 1989.

The other is the New York Cafe in the ground floor of the Palace Hotel. According the story the writer Ferenc Molnár wanted the café to stay open day and night so he threw its key into the Danube.
Central Cafe
Finally we hit the Opera to watch Puccini's version of Manon Lescaut, which was quite stately to see in the Hungarian State Opera house, followed appropriately by a 100% French dinner down the street with French Cheese, wine, and country style pork dishes.

All in all Budapest is beautiful, is so freakin beautiful, and we will be back.

Back side of the Opera
The Budapest Opera
Hail to the Kaiser!

Pest from the Buda side
Cable Cars
Mátyás Templom
St Stephen's
Inside St Stephen's
St Stephen's Square

My Heros

1 comment:

Brooke Collier said...

wow. lovel. great photos! glad you guys have found your kindred city. I wonder if you will start to contemplate moving therecmore permanently? I wouldn't put it past you. :) continued traveling mercies.