Dan kissed me on the forehead on his way out at 8:30 this morning and I woke with a jolt. I had slept like a log and was not nearly ready to get up, but not wanting to miss the day I slowly came alive. One bright spot of the morning was a clean travel outfit. I retired the stunner I had donned for the last four days. (Thank goodness for cool weather.) In this case retired means set aside to leave behind for the cleaning staff. I brought along two outfits, actually, that will not be making the trip home.
A word about cafe culture. Over time cafe culture became a large part of the tradition in Europe, especially in France and Italy. It became increasingly popular to gather in small restaurants that offered cofeee and snacks or small meals. The purpose was to socialize, play games or hear music. As writers, philosophers, politicians, and movers and shakers of the day started to hang out in their favorite cafes for hours on end, the cafes got snazzier and snazzier in an attempt to draw bigger crowds who, in time, were conducting business there. Budapest, like many cities, wanted to be the equal of Paris and Vienna, considered by many to be the epicenters of culture and refinement, so they established cafes also. We visited one stunner today, Cafe Gerbeaud, open since 1858 and resembling a scene out of the Great Gadsby. It sits in a large open square so large windows offer loads of light to set off the velvet curtains, red fabric wall covering, marble, exotic woods, and bronze and crystal and chandeliers.
As stunning as Cafe Gerbeaud was, the highlight of the day was touring the opera house. Oh my. To compete with Vienna and Paris, Budapest built an eye popping, u-shaped theater that opened in 1884 and is still in use today. It is stunning! Gold, gold, and then some more gold just to be sure! Red velvet chairs that did not look too comfy, an ingenious heating and cooling system built into the floor, paintings in the rooms built for enjoying the intermissions, and grand staircases made quite an impression. Robin and I paid extra so we could take pictures (a first for me) and extra to hear a four minute concert at the end (not worth it).
As if the events of the day were not enough, the evening ended on a high note with a group dinner at Halaszbastya Restaurant which is housed in Fisherman’s Bastion, a World Heritage site since 1987 situated in the Buda Castle District. We ate in what looked like a limestone colored turret decorated with chandeliers. Stunning. Our table was right by a window overlooking the river. We arrived by speed boat, no less, after a quick boat ride from the Pest side. The four course meal (beetroot tartare with goat cheese mousse anyone?) was yummy and the views spectacular! We enjoyed our table mates, Steve and Jen, who shared fun stories of living in South Korea, Australia, Africa, Canada, as well as other places.
We got back to the room around 11:00 and turned out the lights at midnight after a very nice day. I am without a doubt living the good life!
2 thoughts on “A really full day … and night (May 2, 2017)”
What an amazing day!
I love you intro!! You are so funny
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