Previous: Loving Budapest
Dr Szabo, our dentist, announced that this session of dental work would take two weeks to complete (we would return again in three months but that is another story) so despite suffering from bouts of tooth discomfort and restricted eating, we decided to make the best out of our “dental” holiday. There are myriads of things to do and see in Budapest and the sub-zero temperature won’t deter us from enjoying what this beautiful city has to offer.
So we started planning our itinerary like there is no tomorrow! Here goes –
No visit to Budapest is complete without dipping into one of their thermal spring baths. This is our favorite – the pool of the very glamorous Gellert Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Europe renowned for its Art Nouveau architecture.
As the city sits on a network of almost 125 bubbling thermal springs, the Romans worked on channelling these waters into their military baths, bathing for them is not only for cleansing but a form of social and recreational activity.. Then the Turks who occupied the city from the 16th – 17th century developed the Hammam baths as part of their body cleansing ritual before praying.
We watched the ballet adaptation of “Onegin”, a poetic novel of Russian author, Alexander Pushkin, and set to the music of Tchaikovsky. This ballet of 3 acts is one of the finest works of renowned choreographer, John Cranko.
The Galleries of the Opera House.
We were lucky enough to grab center seats for a mere 14euros per person
This is the monumental staircase decorated with enormous Italian marble columns and balusters.
Ceiling above the Grand Staircase
This is the fresco, work of Hungarian-German painter, Károly Lotz, that ornates the ceiling of the concert hall. Entitled Olympos, it depicts Greek mythological scenes.
Some of the characters of the Olympos fresco.
The cast of Onegin
It is such a magical sight: these porcelain-doll like ballerinas dancing so lithe, putting the viewers into ecstacy with their dainty but languid fluidity, their dance movements telling the story in a more powerful way than that of reading the written word.
I just love this form of art.
As Twyla Tharp once said:
“The ballet needs to tell its own story in such a way it can be received without having to be translated into language. “
While riding Tram #6, this sight at the Margaret Bridge Stop gives a splendid view of the Parliament. It was getting dark and freezing cold, but what the heck, I had to capture this magical scene so we got down and crossed the busy bridge to get a better viewpoint.
It was well worth it.
The Parliament Building is of Gothic Revival style constructed in 1885 and completed in 1904.
Tried the legendary New York Cafe, so named because it was (and still is) part of the New York Palace Hotel which was built by the New York Life Insurance Company as their European Head Office. It opened in 1894, gained popularity among Hungary’s literati, badly damaged during the 2nd World War, converted into a sporting goods shop, later renovated and reopened as “Hungaria Cafe”. After the fall of Communism, it was left abandoned until an Italian hotel chain bought the whole building and revived the New York Cafe to its former glory.
This is a must not only for coffee lovers but those who want to experience, albeit fleetingly, the life of the rich and famous without necessarily breaking the bank.
Despite the highly tempting cake and hot chocolate infront of me, I was more engrossed marvelling at every single detail of this architectural masterpiece. I couldn’t believe my luck! Not everyone, even the majority of the well-heeled and the lousy rich won’t have the opportunity to sit where I am sitting now.
Two glasses of hot chocolate (one strawberry and the other, roasted almond flavor) and a slice of cottage cheese cake – all at 20euros – is all that we needed to experience the opulent setting of this most beautiful coffee house in the world.
This is the cottage cheese cake that melts in the mouth. The scoop of ice cream is welcome delight.
The Breakfast Room which we are aiming to attack one day…
Went exploring the little alleys and corners of the City. The photo above is not a church entrance. It is a typical passageway/driveway, that leads to a courtyard buried within a complex of apartments and offices.