One week from today and I will be making my way to my favourite European city; Budapest and every part of me is ready to go, my bag is packed, tickets printed out and passports at the ready! My boyfriend and our two wonderful friends are setting off for ten days of spa's, flea markets, cucumber salad and squat bars! I'm so excited I've been looking through my photo's from last years trip and remembering the essence of this creative city that makes me fall in love with it every time I visit. The potent mix of the history of war and oppression that has encouraged the creative forces to re-invent and redefine the city as something truly special, unique and very welcoming. There is so much to do and so much fun to be had, my first port of call is always the Esceri Flea Market (see photo's above) open 6am-1pm Tues-Sat. Here I have previously invested in costume jewellery, old Hungarian peasant skirts, silver charms, war-time gas masks, art works and embroidered textiles, it's a little way out of town, but well worth the trip! I could very easily furnish my whole home from the Esceri Mkt, and hopefully one day I will!
Next on my list would be a trip to the Szechenyi Baths open 6am-7pm daily May-Sept, with nine thermal indoor and outdoor pools and dream like architecture, spending a day lounging, bobbing, steaming and plunging is as good for your soul as you can get!
Budapest night-life for me is all about the Romkocsma; 'ruin-cafes'; these squat style bars, clubs and cafes mingled with exhibitions, workshops and performance art, have cropped up in and around District VII, Budapest’s Jewish quarter. This run-down area, some of which has not been touched since 1945, holds a bohemian atmosphere and creative energy, it's the dilapidation that makes the once-grandiose Habsburg-era squares and avenues so evocative. The façades may be crumbling, the paint peeling, the holes gouged by wartime bullets still unfilled, but the courtyards are fun and jumping! The best of the Romkocsmas, such as Mumus,Szimpla kert and Fogas haz, are a mix of hip bar and café, beer garden, music venue and cultural centre. Many Romkocsmas barely advertise their presence, hiding behind discreet signs and grubby doorways.
I will enjoy blogging my report on some of these places on my return and I will make it my mission to visit as many as possible!!