Pretty much everything about our time in Hungary was amazing. We had a great two weeks in Budapest walking around the city, learning about the history, and taking it all in. (imagine a country occupied by pretty much all the empires, followed by Naziism and then Communism. They had a really terrible stretch of history here and yet Budapest has recovered surprisingly well).
Here are a few of our favorite things:
During Andras’ reseach to find things for us to do in Budapest, he picked up a couple of coupons for cat cafes.
‘Cat Cafés?” we asked?
“Yeah. Cafés with cats. It’s a thing.”
(P.S. Andras, I’m sure you didn’t say that, but that’s my artistic rendition of the conversation.)
Obviously we had to learn more. So we went to one of the two cat cafés in town. There were three cats there, including one Maine Coon which I had never seen before. The barista made coffee without cat hair in it, somehow. And our lattes had the cutest foam art I’ve ever seen.
Budapest is famous for thermal baths, with good reason. There are natural hot springs flowing under the city; they say 70 million liters flow through every day. Baths became popular during the Ottoman Empire and remain popular today.
Cale and I went to two of the spas: Szechenyi and Gellert. These aren’t your normal spas- they are giant spas, with multiple pools, steam rooms, saunas, and massage therapists. Szechenyi was our favorite (it was the biggest and it’s the oldest). Their outdoor pools were warm and beautiful, and they even had a whirpool which I think was meant for kids but we didn’t care :).
KURTOSKALACS (Chimney Cakes)
OH MY GOODNESS WHY DON’T THEY SELL THESE EVERYWHERE?!
People smile when they order a kurtoskalac and it comes out hot. Really, they turn around after paying and there’s a giant grin on their face. Doughy hot goodness on the inside, plus a crunchy outer crust with cinnamon sugar and vanilla, equals pure bliss. We had them in Prague but they are way better in Budapest, trust me.
Being from Seattle, I feel like we are coffee connoisseurs. Well, maybe not, but we can at least taste the difference between good and bad. They have a coffee shop in Budapest called Café Frei which is my new favorite coffee shop. Andras introduced us to a tobacco-infused coffee that they sell here. It makes you immediately close your eyes and sigh deeply. Try it if you’re ever in Budapest.
I’m really sad to leave Budapest. It was affordable, with a plethora of things to do. We didn’t even explore the rest of Hungary and could have spent lots more time here! But alas, Americans can only be in Schengen areas for 90 days out of 180. And we are on day 89. SO, at risk of getting deported, we are outta here…. off to Istanbul!!!