Back in the land where beer is cheaper than water, Budapest no longer resembled the Winter wonderland I knew from a couple of months ago. The beginning of Summer had struck, and the city was filled with sun, heat, and most of all, tourists. The scorching heat hit instantly, stepping off the plane and walking into a wall of warmth, relentlessly afflicting locals and tourists alike. Temperatures of over 30 strike the people of Budapest, gelato stalls on offer at almost every restaurant and cafe-front, iced coffee signs erect at any cafe, and the oh so familiar scent of sun-cream once again permeate my days.
Naturally, a city changes its colours with the seasons, but Budapest remains ever beautiful and majestic in the Summer sun. The once magical snow that blanketed the city is now replaced by the enveloping heat, almost enhancing the warm colours of the beautiful and ornamented Austro-Hungarian architecture, seeming exceptionally Eastern (European) in atmosphere. My time in Budapest now is more relaxed, which is a blessing given temperatures rise to a whopping 38 degrees. Living more like a local, in a central apartment, my days are spent freelance-working, wondering around finding coffee shops for a change of scenery, and exploring the nightlife come the cooler, more bearable, evenings.
In my first few days, I visited Vinyl and Wood, a small cafe down my road, combined with a love of design (and dogs) – a perfect working spot. Trendy bags, shirts, and ornaments are on sale at the entrance of the cafe, which you can mull over whilst having an espresso and one of their many delicious looking cakes or pastries.
On a cafe-spree, I knew I had to return to Madal – a wonderful, super-zen, coffee shop, holding two locations across the city. For the best cheesecake of your life, make sure to visit.
My first few days were extraordinarily chilled, aside from work, and so a hearty walk or run across the city was very much desired, finding any reason to jog to a market or grocery store or to just walk around the Danube or city centre in the hope of great photo opportunities. Now a working-gal, strapped with a camera, I was adamant to improve my street photography. Being a photographer here and there, the art of street photography was one that I really hope to improve on, and so Budapest really gives me a lot of great material to work with – 10/10 Hungary, thanks for that one.
As for the night life, well, Budapest has some of the best nightlife around, especially in the centre. Its streets are filled with bustling pubs, restaurants and ruin bars, illuminated with neon signs, attracting locals and tourists alike. Kebab shops punctuate Budapest’s’ streets, between venues, guiding party-goers home after a solid night out. For a less wild night on the town, and if you’re into cocktails, head to DZZS Bár and Rustic Warm Up Cocktail Bar:
If you’re less in the mood to be cramped in a ruin bar with British tourists, DZZS Bár is a tiny lounge-like area, dimly lit and filled with extravagant artwork and mismatched objects. Here you can just relax in an arm chair and grab some Fröccs (pronounced fruutch) – bubbly soda water intertwined with fruity wine, either rosé or a dry white. History has it that due to the increasingly terrible quality of wine (which was usually ordinarily impressive) during the communist regime in Hungary in the 1940’s, soda water was the only substance seemingly capable of making the available wine drinkable. Despite communism eventually fading out, Fröccs popularity didn’t – and there you have it.
If you have a few extra thousand Forints going spare, treat yourself to a visit at Warm Up Rustic Cocktail Bar. With two venues right near each other, one right next to DZZS bar, this impressive venue has no menu to be found. Instead, once you take a seat in Warm Up’s super-suavely decorated interiors, a mixologist approaches, asking what cocktails you usually prefer, what flavours appeal to you the most, and what kind of alcohol you usually drink. The vague, or perhaps specific, answers you give stir up their imaginations to create an experimental drink tailored to you – no two drinks are every the same. Sweet or sour, fruity or creamy, spicy or mild, the world is your oyster at Warm Up. Presented to us, when we went, were a gin-based cocktail that was reminiscent of an Innocent tropical smoothie (with some fresh basil), a fruity ginger-beer based sparkling cocktail, an espresso-martini style cocktail and a sour berry kind-of one. Alas, my descriptions were no match for what they actually tasted like – you just have to find out for yourself.