Nestled prominently in the City Park of Budapest, is a magical castle. Vajdahunyad was originally built from cardboard and wood for the Millennial Exhibition of 1896, but was so popular it was rebuilt from stone and brick about ten years later. What makes it magical is that it’s composed of different architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. It’s fascinating to wander around this magnificent landmark and identify the distinct styles. It was designed as an homage to significant buildings in the Kingdom of Hungary, particularly the Hunyad Castle in Transylvania (now in Romania). It also houses the Museum of Hungarian Architecture.
On my first day in Budapest, this was my destination. But alas, I was distracted by an artists’ collective in a charming old building. I became enamored with a leather artist who designs purses to your specifications—you select the leather and style and return in a few days to pick up your personal handbag! I’d been wanting a fanny pack, belt bag, bum bag—whatever you prefer. It was great fun to choose the colors of leather 5224548and I was delighted with the product. AND I’m delighted to report that Heidi Klum says we don’t wear them around our bellies any more (great news for me—I don’t need any more bulk around my middle) but slung over the shoulder. Guess what? That’s what I did with mine! Did someone see me and think “she’s a genius! I’m following that fashion trend.”? I believe I’m an influencer!
I realized as I made my way to the City Park, that Hungary is rather quirky in an artsy way. I passed several whimsical pieces that made me smile.
After I visited the City Park, I headed to the famous Szechenyi Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool. What a beautiful building, bathed in sunny yellow! I relaxed in the warm, spring-fed water, which melted my weary bones (I’d traveled from Ethiopia the day/night before). It was heavenly.
When I had fully recuperated, I managed to find the Boscolo Budapest Hotel, which houses the New York Cafe. The Cafe was a prominent coffeehouse at the turn of the 19th century. It is the most dazzling cafe I have ever laid my eyes on, with gilded ornamention and muraled ceilings. I ordered a dessert that was sublime.
Of course, my first day couldn’t end without sampling some traditional Hungarian fare, which is hearty comfort food. I enjoyed some delicious cabbage rolls. And as I walked to my home away from home, I passed a dental office. Their logo was so charming I had to send a picture to my son-in-law who is a dentist!