Where is the good in goodbye?
As you saw in part 1, we had only seen a fraction of what Budapest has to offer!
To be completely honest with you, I seriously could not stop taking pictures from left to right, up and down. Everything I saw was just incredible and I even had to stop every now and then just to get the right angle or light.
We were actually on a mission and that was to find one, if not THE most beautiful café in the city, Europe and quite possibly the world: New York Café / New York Kavéhaz.
Built in October 23, 1894, the café is located on the ground level of the Boscolo Budapest Hotel.
At first glance it may not seem impressive but trust me, as soon as you cross the doors, you are magically transported back in time to the former and glory days of this prestigious establishment when la crème de la crème of Hungarian society, from wealthy citizens, politicians, artists to writers gathered for a drink or meal in luxurious and opulent surroundings.
We were seated on the lower floor and what was above and around us was simply majestic.
The menus were brought to us by well-dressed servers who I believe spoke a little English but understood when we proceeded to order.
What were our selections? I chose the New York cheeseburger, salad and potato crisps which was accompanied by a drink of course and this time I opted for a cold beer.
For dessert? an order of the New York Cake Selection which was a pure delight both for the eyes and the palate was placed. Talk about getting a sugar fix!
The restaurant was getting more crowded with Asian groups of tourists who, fortunately, liked to take lots if not more photos than we did.
You might remember (or not) that last time in Passau, Germany, we set out to explore the city on our own and we happily stumbled upon a vegan restaurant, Selly’s, which was Godsent and I treated myself to a veggie burger 🙂
Throughout the week I had been secretly craving a nice juicy burger, so when I saw it on the menu, I said to myself: “you know what girl? Go for it! I mean how often are you in Budapest and in clearly the most beautiful café you had ever seen/been in and this probably will not happen again anytime soon! Just do it, no regrets”.
So I decided to listen to my inner voice and ordered. Oh, did I even mention the beer that went along with it? Since I was in Hungary, I had to support the local economy thus I selected a Borsodi beer which is a well-known pale and refreshing lager.
Needless to say, it was a surreal experience which made use of all my senses! By the way, the meal was tasty and it was much-needed energy after walking so much all over town and we needed it in order to continue our urban exploration.
Sadly, all things come to an end. After spending about an hour indulging in the décor and food, we paid our bills and went out to discover some more of what the city offers to both locals and visitors.
Burning off those consumed calories was our next mission as well. We clearly had become experts at it the entire week on board the longship and on land!
We left New York Café and crossed the street which we didn’t know the name. This is something about Europe that I noticed even the first time I went there. People often refer to an address by the main intersections or buildings. Street names are hidden or nonexistent!
We continued onwards and all of a sudden I saw something that caught my eye. It was the 23rd Psalm (which is my all-time favorite. I absolutely LOVE it).
Trust me, I know it by heart and as soon as I saw the very first verse “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…”
I knew we were in front of a sacred space and special place. Just around the corner we looked up and realized we stood before the largest synagogue in Europe.
Built in 1854, Dohány Street Synagogue is a historic building built in the Moorish Revival style and has a 3000 seat capacity. It was bombed during World War II and its completed restoration took 8 years and was ready in 1998.
It truly is a beautiful and colorful building with intricate details. If this was only the outside, I can’t even begin to imagine what the interior must look like, phenomenal most likely!
After taking in the sights, we walked on Károly Street and headed towards Deák Ferenc Tér, facing Erzébet Tér Park, the heart of Pest where the Budapest Eye is found (BTW, found the street names on Google Maps and not in the streets. See note above).
We wanted to find the Hard Rock Café, so we walked along Fashion Street, another of the main arteries of Pest, and then we saw a giant, neon-lit guitar. We had finally reached our destination.
If you’ve ever (or never) been to a Hard Rock Café before, well, I can simply say in all honesty that it truly rocks! We went downstairs to the bar where we ordered a couple of cocktails and frozen drinks.
They were pretty welcome and so relieving because as I previously mentioned, it was pretty hot and humid in Budapest throughout our stay. It helped us recover from our marathon walks as well!
I was the one who actually had to look at my watch and check that we going to miss the boat (literally and figuratively). We had to be back on board Viking Atla a little earlier than usual that evening since the captain was going to give us a night tour and we would see the city illuminated right after dinner. So we finished our drinks, said good-bye to our fun and friendly servers who spoke perfect English.
We did make it back right on time and a few minutes after we arrived in our stateroom, we saw that we were moving. We sat outside on the veranda and we were treated to spectacular sights of Budapest.
If I may say so, this had been if not a perfect day. Yes they do exist and we did live it for which we were very grateful! It does not happen too often but when it does you do recognize it. Do you?
The following day we woke up, had our last breakfast
and we bid farewell to the wonderful and professional staff from Viking Cruises which was actually pretty sad. We had come to know them a little better and we were going to miss them!
Our luggage was carried from the Long Ship to the taxi stand (please make sure you let them know you will need one) or read the instructions the night before your departure.
It was time for us to move into the Air BnB Apartment that was previously booked since we were going to stay 2 extra days in my new-found love, Budapest! If you want to see our visit to Széchenyi Thermal Baths let me know 🙂
This concludes our Viking River Cruise adventures on the Danube and I am very grateful for the wonderful welcome, fantastic service (it really is) I would like to thank them for welcoming us as guests.
As you know all opinions are mine and not influenced in any way or matter. I have and always will give you my two cents, whether it is good or not so good.
In any case I am all for educational, cultural and transformational travel and this was special.
Now I want to go on a real ocean cruise and see the difference! Will I love it or not? Stay tuned!
I’m now turning it over to you.
When was last time you went on a trip where you felt you marveled at everything in sight?
If so where was it?
Until next time, many happy travels.
Tashi Delek, All the best,