Springtime (and spring break) in Budapest

by arianambrand

Of course I had midterms this week. But we did manage to get a fair bit of touristing in all the same.

Exhibit A: because no visit to Hungary is complete without a bath. The warm weather is amazing after all the cold there in February, and the speedo-clad are out in droves enjoying the sun.

Yes, we did wear sunscreen. It was really fun, although I had woken up at 6 that morning and so nearly fell asleep in the warm pool. Thankfully Alex rescued me, and I later had a much safer nap at home.

The Budapest Spring Festival was on this week, and we celebrated by visiting the outdoor fair down at Vörösmarty tér (here you can see a coffee roaster in action, sending the most amazing smells wafting up the square) and walking up the Danube Promenade. The forsythia and magnolias are all blooming, and the public parks have all been planted with pansies. It’s like spring decided that this week, it was time to stop procrastinating and get on with it. Hooray!

I took Alex to see a real Hungarian cukraszda one day, and we found this mysteriously named dessert there. It looks like chocolate cake?

Our dessert, being wrapped up. It was delicious.

Visiting Castle Hill at night. The views are spectacular, and it’s warm enough now that it was really pleasant to walk around old Buda in the dark.

Spectacular views of Parliament. And my profile, I guess?

Saturday we went to Kádár, to taste their famous Saturday dish, Sólet. A cousin to French cassoulet, Sólet is a bean stew that was mixed together Friday afternoon and placed in a warm oven before dinnertime. Since you weren’t supposed to work on the sabbath, the stew remained in the oven until after dark on Saturday night, when it made a delicious dinner. Of course the Hungarian non-jews serve it with a slice of roast pork. Anyway, it was incredible, and we were the only non-Hungarian-speakers in the restaurant. Am I obsessed with that place? Maybe a little bit (or a lot, whatever).

I had class at 8 am Saturday morning (it was a makeup class for the one we missed last week because of the holiday and yes, 8 am Saturday is as disgusting as you think it is) so we didn’t stay out late on Friday. But Saturday was a different story. Szimpla Kert is still my favorite ruin pub so of course I had to take Alex there. We drank this lovely bitter dark beer (no idea what it was called, sorry Jared. I think it was just the house brown beer) and I got Alex to try apricot and cherry pálinka.

The walls of the room we were sitting in were covered in old tv sets wired together to show kalaidoscopic patterns that kind of matched the background music. We were sitting on chairs that had clearly been car seats in a former life. Szimpla remains a slightly surreal place, but we had a lovely time. I wish Alex could have stayed longer, but he’s off to school today…pssh, engineering, it’s not as fun as Budapest.

A few more photos can be found here.