Szimpla Kert, Budapest

Szimpla Kert was Budapest‘s first “ruin bar” and a popular spot amongst tourists. I’ve actually unknowingly passed by the discreet entrance to this place while exploring the Jewish Quarters in the afternoon but didn’t realised that this is the place to chill and have a few drinks at night!

If you can’t spot the discreet signage, lookout for these cute soft toys on display at the shop next to the entrance.

While passing by this place the second time, we saw a group of people making their way through the door and was initially wondering why is this place so popular, if it’s the party place that we knew of, is it opened in the day? A kind middle-aged lady who just came out told us “You should take a look inside, it’s interesting.

Gingerly we followed the crowd and made our way in. Afterall we were slightly apprehensive about entering an old, dodgy building in foreign land…

The term “ruin bar” came about because the bar is located in buildings that were in ruins literally. But the occupiers turned it into a lively drinking venue with interiors made up from mismatched furniture, eclectic and colorful decorations.

It was apparent that this was a place that provided space for creative folks to display their talents. I must admit I was impressed by this funky venue. Although its old, it is kept clean and neat. During the day, the crowd was relaxed and not rowdy. It carried more of a casual cafe vibe and the natural light coming through from the skylight provides good photo opportunity. It’s a pity that we were running short of time to enjoy a beer here.

The ruin bar concept was so popular that it ruin bars started popping up all around the city over the last decade or so. Of cos Szimpla Kert remained as the mecca of all ruin bars.  Certainly this is an interesting spot to hunt down for a visit or even a drink or two!

From a pub, we turned our attention to looking for a place touted to be the Most Beautiful Cafe in the World. The New York Cafe is housed inside the Boscolo Hotel Budapest.

We had intended to sit down for a rest at the cafe, so that we could take some photos of the extravagantly furnished dining halls. However after spending 10-15 mins in the queue, we decided to give up. But I managed to snap some photos while being stuck at the waiting area. In any case, many reviewers updated that the food was pretty ordinary. Most guests were paying the premium price for the chance to roam around the halls for photos.

Be prepared to feel like a royalty if you have the chance to enjoy your afternoon tea here.

The ceilings were embellished with intricate details and staircase lined with ornate wrought-iron railing. The cafe is dripping with gold everywhere.

In honesty, I didn’t feel comfortable here. It felt like a place filled with posers judging by the number of people taking selfies the moment they step in? Not my kind of place…

Another beautiful building spotted while roaming around the city. I must say although I wasn’t immediately impressed by the city in terms of attractions, ease of travelling etc. I begun to appreciate the beauty of this city a lot more while reviewing the photos I took. Although the buildings seems less well-maintained and hence old, compared to neighbouring Vienna, they seems to exude a sense of aged beauty.

Some of the souvenirs I bought in Budapest include Palinka (a traditional Hungarian fruit brandy), Paprika and Hungarian secret boxes. The Hungarian secret box can only be opened by those who knows the tricks, with a combination of hidden panels and locks guarding its contents.

Of course the most memorable sight in Budapest has to be the spectacular buildings lining both sides of the Danube River. It’s befitting that the city is known as the Jewel of the Danube.

Flight back to Singapore, with transit in IstanbulTurkey. I must admit I wasn’t too used to eating Turkish cuisines…especially the starters of Turkish Meze.

This Sea Bass En Papilottewith julienne vegetables was pretty tasty. Rounding up with a satisfying Mascarpone Passion Fruit Tart.

Bright citylights in Istanbul as we approached the airport closed to mid-night local time.

Having 2 meals onboard the 2nd leg of the journey. I didn’t have much appetite given the changing time zones…it’s about 2.30am Budapest time, 3.30am Istanbul time and 9.30am Singapore time.

From the mood light, you could tell that it was already time to nap but I stayed up for the desserts! My favourite part of the meal has to be the awesome dessert trolley!

Last meal on this flight before touching down in Singapore. We were served “Breakfast” menu although its ard 4pm Singapore time because it’s 10am Istanbul time.

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