Part 3: Budapest – The Pest City!

“Paris of the East” – Budapest isn’t the only city that has been called this. Yet it is very fitting. Budapest has an energy to it that brought me back to creative hubs like Paris and Barcelona. Budapest has it all: You can choose a classic trip – visiting an opera, taking a cruise on the danube, enjoying some goulash, visiting the market, going to a bath…or, you can stay in the 7th district and discover the quirky side of Budapest. I loved the range of art spaces, bars and restaurants in this part of town. Creative designs, facade murials and funky bars and shops are sprinkled all across the Jewish quarter. Here are some gems we discovered while wandering through the streets around Kazinczy Utca…

1. Szimpla

The ‘godmother’ of ruin bars. Ruin bars are a big thing in Pest and this one is the biggest, quirkiest and loudest of them all. Painted and scribbled-on walls, flickering neon lights and old TV screens, a kitchen stove with records melted on to it, an old car in the middle of the courtyard to sit and enjoy a drink in, hanging gardens and party people everywhere. Unfortunately my favourite piece, the bathtub/couch has vanished – I wonder where it ended up…

2. Köleves

We were looking for modern, Hungarian food. After one week in Bavaria the thought of more meat and more bread and more potatoes was just not very appealing. Which basically rules out 90 percent of the restaurants in Budapest. But we were lucky. The dishes at the hip Köleves were creative and versatile and the menu included a great selection of vegetarian (and non-veggie), Jewish-inspired dishes and Hungarian wine. Lamps out of cheese-grinders, a great dinner party atmosphere and a look at their phenomenal outdoor beergarden space (complete with a boat) made us wish we had booked a room at their guest house. Next time!

3. Mono Design

We needed a souvenir. Paprika and Tocaji wine are classics. But we had shopped spices and wine in Austria already so we wanted something different. That’s when we stumbled across the interior design and fashion store Mono Design. This store slash gallery shows some fantastic Hungarian designers and their art and crafts pieces. Badminton Salt & Pepper Shakers, cute Budapest prints, stitched nude portraits on canvas and a rhinoceros statue were my favourite pieces.

4. M-Lamp

A lamp out of tea cups, colourful lace or filled with sugar cookies? M-Lamp designs unique, handmade lamps and shades. This little store with it’s fun and colourful designs is too cool for words and leaves you eager to start a DIY project – or  depart with a lamp under your arm.

5. A Table Boulangerie

Pistacchio & Chocolate Croissant. Enough said. This French bakery and their pastries are simply amazing. I mean, look at this… Pistacchio Chocolate Croissant Budapest A Table 6. Blue Bird Cafe

A cute and colourful breakfast spot offering great (pan-)cakes and omelettes to get a boost after a big night out. The service is super friendly and the whimsical interior decoration and their screened patio area make it a perfect place to relax.

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