The magic of the New York Cafe remained as we jumped on a bus and travelled to Budapest’s Castle District across the river. Also known as the Castle Quarter, this area is a 1km long limestone plateau towering over the Danube river and is home to Budapest’s most precious and important medieval monuments and museums. A sweeping flight of paths and staircases guide you up to the centre of the district, the Royal Palace and the Hungarian National Art Gallery, home to 11th-century and present-day artworks, proudly standing at the forefront. The Royal Palace has been said to of rebuilt at least six times over the past seven centuries, it’s subsequent Kings adding to it each time. At the rear, you can find wide stretches of ruins and the famous Matthias fountain, a romantic-style sculpture presenting the young kind Matthias in his hunting uniform, surrounded by dogs.
We strolled slowly through the courtyards and protruding stone terraces, the sky clear and the sun strong and warm, attempting to melt away what was left of the ice. Budapest sure knows how to present itself, this area, alongside the Fisherman’s Bastion and Citadella proving an excellent scenic spot to view the entire city, all the way from way past Hungarian Parliament, to the Liberty Bridge and beyond.
Surviving off only pancakes and an over-priced milky beverage, we made our way back to Pest to find sustenance. With intention of finding all the pastries possible, we stumbled across a magically lit outdoor food market instead. Bellies grumbling, we let our stomachs lead the way to a stall filled with an array of meat-filled flatbreads. On the menu for us; giant homemade Hungarian sausage, wrapped in a freshly made flatbread with onions and pickled vegetables. The sweet, yet salty, paprika-filled sausage was perfect winter food, the crunchy sweet, yet sour, vegetables an ideal contrast and supplement to the rich meat. The soft flatbread was divine, providing a soft and fluffy fresh bread for the filling. In need of more, we ravenously skipped to a stall serving Langos, the giant Hungarian flat “doughnut”. Desperately hungry we ordered one giant Langos smothered in Nutella. And if heaven had a taste, we had discovered it. Already devoured, another was in need, yet our desires met a bitter end as the Nutella was well and truly gone.
Devastated, we headed towards a chimney cake stand instead. Freshly made, we bought a cacao chimney cake that looked like a literal chimney, billowing steam from it’s top into the dark, cold night. Soft and fluffy, yet crunchy from the caramelised sugar coating, our hunger was satiated with this magical treat.