In Budapest we stayed at a hotel where they had a terrible breakfast buffet. Probably one of the worst hotel breakfasts we ever had. Fortunately we had planned to have some coffee at the New York Café at the Boscolo hotel before doing all our sightseeing and now we still had some room left for their delicious cakes!
The New York Café is a swanky restaurant/cafe and has been around since 1894. Throughout the years it's always been this hotspot for writers, poets and artists. Today there are probably more tourists than anyone else, but it's still a fantastic place to visit.
The main reason this is a mustsee for tourists is because the place is damn beautiful. I just love all that glitzy renaissance gold! If I were rich, I would totally have my wedding here.
As you can see it was very busy! We were here juuust in time, we didn't have to wait in line. As soon as we sat down a very long line emerged, so I would reccommend booking a table!
Paul went for the classic opéra cake, which came with a scoop of delicious coffee ice cream.
I went for the crunchy hazelnut cake. I thought it was even better than Paul's opera! Both cakes weren't too heavy, and not too sweet which I appreciated very much. The cakes were 2400 huf each.
Then it was time for some more exploring! We took the metro and crossed the Danube to Gellért hill. Here you see the Gellért hotel, which houses the famous Gellért thermal bath. Thermal baths were brought to Hungary by the Turks during the Ottoman rule, and are still an important part of Hungarian culture today. We actually wanted to go to Rudas bath because that one seemed nice and it has a rooftop pool with a great view of Budapest, but we were in Budapest from Wednesday - Friday and on weekdays the baths are men or women only! So we didn't go.
We walked up the hill a little to visit this cave church (Sziklatemplom). We actually spotted it the night before when we were standing across the Danube at the Liberty bridge, and we wondered what it was. It used to be just a naturally formed cave (where people did live in), but in the ´20s Pauline monks turned it into a chapel and monastery.
It's pretty cool to have a chapel inside a cave. Makes it all mysterious and stuff :P It's pretty warm inside the cave because of the thermal springs. Fyi, Budapest actually has more caves you can visit!
From the cave church we took a tram to the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge. I don't really know why it's famous, but.. it's a nice suspension bridge I guess.
Then we stood in a longgggg line to go up Castle Hill with the Budavári Sikló, a funicular.
The ride was short, and I could barely see through the window but at least we didn't have to walk? That's really the only reason why you should take the funicular!
This is the Matthias Church. I really can't get over how pretty Budapest buildings are! I really love the colourful ceramic tiles, although I think they do clash a little with the gothic church. The tiles were added much later I believe.
Across the church is the famous Fisherman's Bastion (Halászbástya). It's another one of these famous sights that I don't really know why they're famous. Fun fact: it was never actually used and meant as a real bastion (artillery fortification), but just as a pretty thing to look at and could be used as a viewing terrace. It's also unknown why it's called Fisherman's Bastion, as it also doesn't have anything to do with fishermen. It offers a great view of Pest, but you have to pay up. If you walk a little further though, you also have a great view of the city, so we didn't go for it :-P.
See? Free view's also pretty great. This is the Hungarian Parliament being all super dramatic along the Danube river. I mean, what is this, England? :) You can also see a little bit of the Szilágyi Dezső calvinist church in the foreground. I think the roof is pretty spectacular for a reformed church (the rest of the building is pretty plain)!
By now it was lunch time and we walked over to Buda Castle for one of the best parts of our trip: the Budapest Beer Festival (Budavari Sörfesztivál)!!!
This festival is pretty cool because 1) it's held on the palace grounds. I mean come on, it's pretty funny to get hammered on beers with such a gorgeous, contrasting backdrop. 2) there were about 100 stands that sold locally and internationally brewed beers and 3) food.
Have I mentioned Budapest buildings are beautiful? The palace now houses the Hungarian National Gallery and the National Széchényi Library.
Beer = reason to get more langós. Not that we needed any reason. We really had langós everyday, it was just so damn good.
We also had Kürtőskalács, a typically Hungarian treat. It's a yeast dough that's spit roasted, and covered in butter and sugar so it becomes nice and caramelised. This one also had cocoa on it. You can smell these from a distance! I actually think they smell way better than they taste (I expected it to be crunchier?), but it's not a bad snack. I think Kürtőskalács would benefit from some ice cream inside it!
And of course another perfect beerfood: a simple bratwurst. I really don't remember what beers we had, but I promise we didn't get smashed, haha. If I understood correctly, this was the last time the beerfestival was held at Buda Castle, so I'm glad we got a chance to experience it!
Took a metro yet again. Can we talk about the Budapest metro for a second? Because I thought the Budapest metro was amazing. There are these old metro lines with old stations that have these cute wooden ticket booths, aaand there are these amazingly modern stations on the M4 metro line. I didn't really think it would look like this, because I had read somewhere that Budapest has the second oldest metro line in the world and somehow I thought all other lines would be old as well, haha. M4 was opened in in 2014.
The stations were designed by the local Spora Architects, and the whole project had multiple delays (reminds me of the still unfinished North/South line in Amsterdam, ahem) and eventually cost about €1.5 billion (also reminds me of the still unfinished North/South line in Amsterdam), which is insane :'). But the stations are amazing, and a modern architecture lover's dream.
Kudos to Spora Architects for their attention to detail! Love these chairs.
What concrete dreams are made of! They used a LOT of concrete and steel for this project, it made me think of Japan a little. New York and London subway can suck it.
Anyway, we headed over to the Saint Anna church (Szent Anna-templom) at Batthyány square. It's a beautiful baroque church, look at those those delicate towers ,
Inside there are these gorgeous frescoes that make you think you're in Italy. There was a service going on, so I didn't take a lot of pictures, but it's definitely worth a visit!
We ended our second day at the WestEnd City Center mall, but to be honest we were too tired to do some shopping. So we just sat down at a random restaurant and had another typically Hungarian meal, haha.