“i shouldn’t have this. it’s just too much! i’m not this kind of person. i don’t deserve this”
words spoken by me in the late afternoon of our unintentionally decadent easter sunday.
the evening before, we had opera plans which start at the awkward seven o’clock hour… too early to go to a big dinner, but dining afterwards would be too late. i wasn’t hungry anyway, so we popped into a fast-food imbiss-style wok grill down the street. as we were enjoying our thai noodles and coconut soup, “fancy” by iggy azalea begins to play and i just cracked up– we’re sitting here all dressed up for the opera eating fast food noodles. welllll, aren’t we fancy.
the opera house is as beautiful in as it is outside. i decided to splurge on box seats because it is so affordable to do so, even if you make czech crowns. our own private little red velvet box (full disclosure: shared with one other couple), looking out onto golden everything. it was an amazing experience! i ate it up! alex shifted this way and that trying to get comfortable on the little velvet seat for the performance of “st. john’s passion”. i think it got me back on the “opera” train! prague opera… you’re next!
the next morning, easter sunday, we headed for the thermal baths! what better way to celebrate the resurrection of jesus christ by soaking for hours in hot water with hundreds of other bath-goers? budapest reportedly has over one hundred thermal springs and loads of baths to visit. for our visit, we chose the széchenyi fürdő (baths), the large medicinal baths in europe. i’d been there before a decade earlier so i didn’t mind revisiting in the least, and it’s a fantastic “first timer” thermal baths experience… no nudity, no gender segregation, but enough new and different features to keep it quite interesting.
i looove thermal baths and saunas. back in seattle, i was a frequent visitor to banya5, a russian-style bath house (but only on ‘happy hour’ days because $$$). i love the hot pools, the cold pools, especially the smelly green pools. széchenyi
also has three different large pools outdoors which can be surreal on a cold or winter day. it was strange: the water was warm, the warm sun was shining on my face… you would’ve thought it was the height of summer! oh yeah… the cold air. i’m quite glad we decided for a morning visit because leaving was just a klausterfocken; waiting forever for a free changing cabin that would never appear. as we left, we noticed a huuuuge queue waiting to get in. yep. so afternoons on major holidays: probably go early.
there was an easter festival going on in városliget (city park) as we left, and we couldn’t help but stop to pick up one of these hungarian specialty pastries i’ve never heard about before called boldogi nagyrózsa. it comes plain, with vanilla sauce (below or with marmalade. although it looks sort of imposing, it is so light and delicate – you could slurp it up in a few bites!)
afterwards we metro’ed into the heart of pest (lipótváros), too hungry to think straight, and stumbled into the first good lookin’ bistro that was open. budapest has a multitude of delicious restaurants, so when my first choice was closed, we just took our chances that we’d find something delicious.
after the aforementioned ridiculously early dinner (’cause who cares! it’s vacation! it’s easter!), we popped into the stately 19th century era new york café
which i had noticed earlier on erzsébet
körút. this place bills itself as “the most beautiful cafe in the world”, and i feel quite sure that this statement very well must be true. now this place has true western european prices, this ain’t your usual hungarian coffee house. but for something special or to impress visitors, it’s worth the splurge. and here’s where i started on (the above quote) about it being toooooo much. it was fun to have the new york cafe experience, of course, but give me a more traditional hungarian coffee house any day. (below, the impeccably prepared hazelnut tart with golden hazelnuts and the chocolate raspberry tart)
(social media situation on point)
i didn’t know i had a ‘decadent ceiling’, but i hit it in budapest. it can be just much more fancy than i never knew i wasn’t. i think i’ll stick to the grey, dilapidated parts of town in the future!
in summation: budapest, you made me feel instantly welcome and know how to spoil a lady. we love you.
this is the second of two budapest posts – catch up here!
this post is a part of travel tuesday.