Breakfast: And the winner is Cirkusz Café. Best breakfast in town. They spare no calories, so be warned. We ate there twice and each time Olya had to roll me out of the front door afterwards.
Lunch: Budapest has some amazing eats, catering to every taste, style and degree of alternative inclinations. I fell hard for this cute little cafe Le Petit Bistrot in the heart of historic town a short walk from the Opera House. These pictures were shot here.
Dinner: Other firm faves were the food stalls and street market in the hipster quarter of town. Grab a bite here before heading one street over to all the bars and swinging by Szimpla Kert.
Check out the Hungarian Parliament Building, Opera House, St. Stephen's Basilica, Matthias Church, and if you are lucky enough to be in town on the right day the Air show over the water. Give the Baths a skip.
The best place to take in the sights from is the castle on the hill, the other side of the bridge. Cross the Chain bridge over the Danube at dusk to see the sun set over the water and whole city light up. And watch the lights come on at the Parliment building across the water. Leave pleanty of time - the bridge is deceptively long and the hill steeper than expected. Think catching a flight out of Luton, on a Saturday, when the trains service is essentially pot luck. Not popping out across the road to the local pub. It took us about half an hour (with photo opps) just to cross the bridge...
There is only one place for that - Szimpla Kert. This place is legendary and is open round the clock 9am-5am. It is also a dump. I mean that both literally and figuratively. Spend the evening sipping a coctail or grabbing beer and exploring this dilapidated maze which also doubles as a skip for old bath tubs, street signs, weird old soviet stuff and a museum of graffiti. At times you feel like the roof might cave in on you, and that you should have probbaly got that tetanus shot before setting foot over the threshold, but once you have a drink in your hand and sitting on top of a giant horse/dragon children's playground sculpture, one of several cracked bathtubs or an old bench you get the hang of this place.
Take some time to yourself while sun is shining but the city is still asleep after a big night out. Slap on some sun block and sneakers and hear out to the river for an early morning run. I am not usually a fan of doing anything at all , ever, until midday. But this was well worth it. Cross a bridge, run the generously wide pavement along the river, past the daytime views of the Hungarian Parliament Building, cross the next bridge back over to home turf and run back to base. You can also walk it, but you absolutely shouldn't miss it.
We gave the Baths a skip, packed our bikinis and hopped the train to tour the Dalmatian coast. That would be Croatia (and as it turned out an accidental detour through Bosnia). There were a few hiccups along the way (getting kicked off the train because someone took away the rail tracks, walking through a corn field with suitcases, figuring out which country we were in at that point and trying to find a local bus to take us the rest of the way...). We made it, and you can read all about it here.