Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bonkers Budapest - A delightfully different place to visit

Our break in Budapest was obviously awesome (see the post here if you don't already know why) on many levels; it was also quite frankly, brilliantly bonkers.

From me, that's a compliment. There are only so many art galleries one can see during a city break and it is quite unusual to find activities to do which break from the normal capital city fare.

While flicking through the information left us by our landlord that week (definitely try and find an apartment let if you want a budget break btw), I came across an advert for a new cat café which had been set up a couple of streets away.  Apparently this trend has already swept Japan. The premise is simple: you go and buy some coffee and in return you can hang around with the cats that live there. Within 48 hours of being in Budapest we were there.
For those of you worried about germs or the condition of the animals, both were very well cared for. No food or drink was prepared near the cats. You are required to disinfect your hands before petting the cats, just in case you give them a disease. At first I thought this was a little fussy, but then one of the waiters explained that they had three cats in residence worth nearly 2000 euros each!
So we had coffee, played with some cats, posed for cheesy pictures and then went on our merry way. The place had a steady stream of locals coming in. It was quite clear that a few of them were regulars and absolutely loved being there. In a place as built up (and let's face it, fairly frequently destroyed), this idea is perfect for those who cannot keep their own pets.

My dad was a little bemused as I own cats already. The novelty value is huge though AND the nutella coffee was a particular treat worth paying for.

Another particular favourite of mine was the boat cruise that A booked for my birthday treat. The buffet dinner was 'interesting' (read between the lines on that one if you will), the sights were gorgeous, but more than anything the music....oh the music was priceless.
These guys played their little hearts and panpipes out throughout the evening, strongly encouraging people with their eyebrows and head nods to blinking-well dance. Fairly standard for a captive audience on a Wednesday night perhaps. You know when you have found a country with a sense of humour, however, when their parting track is a pan pipe version of 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion. I nearly choked on my Strudel. GENIUS!

Earlier on in the day we had the delight of visiting Budapest zoo. A small place with lots of animals, it is definitely worth the 6 euro entry fee and a day of aimless wandering around. They have an excellent breeding programme which means there is ample opportunity to watch cute infants tumbling around. More than that though....they have wombats. If you have never seen one before (apologies to those who are Australian), they are pretty much the super awesome cousins of the Koala. Here's a random video from YouTube to illustrate their general amazingness:

You can only see them in three locations in Europe with Budapest being one. Wally and Molly slept most of the day, but came out for their feed in the afternoon. It might not be on your lifetime achievement list to meet a wombat, but it should be. I was really excited. Looking back maybe even more visibly so than when A proposed (whoops), although not on the inside obviously...
There was also a pretty clever hippopotamus that sprayed the visitors who dared to roam near its territory, after the precursory teeth baring 'bugger off' statement was made. Closely following this was the really clever orangutan who wet a towel, climbed a tree and then wore it as a cooling device.
 And...well these guys just look a bit silly:
The bottom line is that Budapest has a sense of humour. I suspect that it has had to develop this over many years of occupation and suffering. It may not be the cleanest, most developed, most navigable place around, but you will be guaranteed a laugh - unless you are devoid of all personal joy.

If you are...then you won't appreciate this super photo-bomb in the same way that we did. If you know this man, please pass on our thanks. We giggled for AGES.
Where is the most bonkers place you have ever been?
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Jess @ Spool and Spoon said...

I can't even get past the cat cafe... Coffee and cats. Cats and coffee. Two of my favorite things in one place? Sold!

ifs ands Butts said...


Cocalores said...

This sounds hilarious! I have seen that Japanese cat Café on telly and found it a bit odd, honestly. But doing odd stuff together is what makes a holiday memorable.

And what is it with street or biat musicians and Celine Dion? Did they also wear tophats? ;-)


Cocalores said...

And don't forget that she's mentioned nutella coffee, too! ;-)


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