November 3-9, 2011: A sobe at the southern end of Andrassy Ut. That room in an elderly woman’s apartment, with shared bath, was my “home” in Budapest in 2004. A great location, but short on privacy.
A somewhat ramshackle hotel near the Elizabeth Bridge. My Budapest lodging in 2007. A pretty good location, but short on comfort.
So, where to stay in 2011? I still wanted the Pest side of the Danube – better transport, more restaurants, and a great view of Buda. (You can’t see Buda when you’re staying there.) I was tempted by the Leo Panzio, which had been full in 2007, but then I remembered reading about some great apartments in a trip report on Fodors, and with a little searching I found the reference.
Now, apartments are a great deal for families, and for couples traveling together, but like rental cars are usually not cost-effective for singles. But this time I got lucky. Between winter rates, and a new, small, addition to the collection, I could actually afford an apartment. In fact, it was so affordable I went for Liesel, with a bedroom, rather than Pierre, with just a sofa-bed (a very large one, it turned out).
The owners are clearly captivated by Budapest. Between the info on their website, and the collection of notes in the apartment, it’s hard to think of a question they haven’t anticipated. And the apartment showed the same loving attention to detail, from the spa bag with extra towels to the food in the fridge, from free calls to the US to the addictive Nespresso machine, it was truly a home away from home.
After two months on the road I was more than ready to settle in and enjoy the comforts. I took full advantage of the kitchenette and the nearby stores to eat in for a change. Of course, the gorgeous French cheese shop mentioned in the notes was one reason – bread, cheese, and pate did nothing for my cholesterol levels and everything for my tastebuds. And the eggs I found in the fridge made the most beautiful, golden omelet.
The apartment, on Szervita ter just one block from transport-hub Deak ter and two from the Danube, was also walking distance to ever-popular Duran, which sells delicious open-faced sandwiches (you don’t need Hungarian to drool over the pictures on their web site), Cafe Gerloczy, where I ate an excellent lunch, and my previous fave, Cafe Central, which had changed owners and unfortunately gone down hill.
But I did manage to extract myself from the apartment occasionally to admire Budapest itself – there are reasons why I was back for the third time. But that’s for the next post.