My skin always decides to stage a little protest when I’ve been on a city break for a few days. Whether the result of a nightly glass of wine or just the rigours of travel, by day six in Budapest I couldn’t ignore the nascent spots that threatened to explode all over my face. Experience has taught me to turn to an expert when my skin is a little volatile, so I placed my face in the very competent hands of Erika at the Royal Spa in the Corinthia. The Espa facial took an hour, after which my skin and mind were soothed.
A swim, steam and shower later, I was outside in the searing sun enjoying breakfast and a tea at Anna Cafe. This cafe sits at the intersections between some of the main shopping streets – avoid like the plague if you’re put off by excessive bustle. I lost myself to the shops that afternoon and emerged with Hungarian honey and paprika and a view to adding a little Hungarian sweetness and spice to my cooking in London.
While walking around I noticed an abundance of mobile bars. These rectangular, wooden bars have pedals attached to the stools so that those sitting around the table drinking can effectively take the bar wherever they fancy. There were also plenty of courtyards which had been turned into impromptu drinking establishments with the addition of chairs, fairy lights and wine. Coming from a city where the council rules with an iron fist, I found the entrepreneurial and unchecked nature of these rather thrilling.
That evening, my family and I had a bite to eat at Nobu in the Kempinski before embarking on an adventure to see some of the famous ruin bars. The old, graffiti-covered walls filled with mismatched furniture and many, many people, were fascinating, though a little overwhelming. I’d suggest trying Szimpla Ruin Bar if you’re keen and making sure you go on a quieter night. After a shouted conversation over other’s heads, we decided to finish the night with a beer in a courtyard bar.