I’ve been lucky enough to celebrate 4 birthdays abroad, everywhere from London to Africa. But the birthday that I celebrated this summer in Budapest is one of my absolute favorites (including the American birthdays too!). I owe most of this to my wonderful new friends who helped make it so special!
Along the way we stopped for the treat that I had been eyeing all week: flower ice cream from Gelarto Rosa!
No, the ice cream isn’t made out of flowers. Instead, it’s scoped in thin slices that are arranged on the cone to look like a flower. Gorgeous, isn’t it?!
I almost didn’t want to lick it!
After our appetizer, we made it to dinner, and then to dessert, where I was surprised with a birthday cake (eszterhazy) from Kristaly Cukraszda! I loved how the candles were green, white and red!
In Hungarian cakes, the greater the number of layers the greater the quality of the cake. So clearly my cake was fabulous! Thank you all so much!
Afterwards, we got ready to go out while popping Hungarian champagne!
The we headed to Fogasház for drinking and dancing.
(See, that’s the denture flag I was telling you about!).
We started with shots of Pálinka, and it turned out to be the best Pálinka that I’ve ever had!
Another group was celebrating a birthday, so Noel convinced me to sneak behind them to take a picture with their birthday sign. This picture may look cool…
But this was how awkward it actually was! And they didn’t even notice!
Fogasház has places to chill…
And places to dance. And we just wanted to dance!
It was SO. MUCH. FUN!
My actual birthday arrived at midnight, and Sean led us in a countdown on the dance floor. Then, after more dancing, we all were craving Lángos. Lángos (which should be known as God’s gift to man… or God’s gift to me, since it was my birthday) is basically fried dough either served plain or with toppings. It may sound a little strange, but hands down the best toppings are sour cream, cheese and garlic (yes, all at once!).
You can find the best Lángos in Budapest near Szimpla, in a little alley lined with food stalls.
Lángos was the perfect first meal to ring in my new age!
(Who am I kidding? Lángos is always a good idea!)
The next morning (so the morning of my actual birthday for those of you keeping track at home), Michelle, Sean and I started our day at the famed New York Café. It’s known as the most beautiful café in the world, and it’s easy to see why!
Historically the Café was popular among writers and journalists (and now Wanderlust in the City bloggers!). Rumor has it that on opening day the famous writer Ferenc Molnár threw the keys of the New York Café into the Danube so that it would be open 24/7.
Because it was my birthday, I ordered the Eper Pezsgö Fagylalt Kehely for breakfast. Yep, I had strawberry and champagne ice cream for breakfast!
The strawberry ice cream was good. The champagne ice cream tasted like very dry champagne, which was a bit weird in a cold, wet ice cream!
After breakfast, I made a birthday wish. It’s about to come true, I can feel it!
We then were off to enjoy the beautiful Budapest day.
We decided to visit Buda Castle up on the hill.
There are many ways to get there, but the most fun is the sikló (funicular)!
After a short ride you’re at the top of the hill, overlooking the city below.
We strolled along the grounds, enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery.
The Royal Palace (which is the same thing as Buda Castle, but not to be confused with the citadel, which is different) is now home to several museums. We didn’t go into any since we decided it was nicer outside than it was inside!
Next, we headed to Margitsziget (Margaret Island) which is a city park that takes up an entire island between Buda and Pest.
It was the perfect spot to continue my birthday celebration with a picnic lunch.
Once again, I wasn’t the only one celebrating!
Három is the Hungarian word for three, which always reminds me of the English word harem. Since there were three of us, we began referring to ourselves as the harem. And after lunch, our harem got up to a little bit of trouble…
We initially started searching for a party bike, where we could drink and bike at the same time. Instead we ended up in a party… antique car.
Which led to us driving all over the park, both on and off paths, and around and over pedestrians (just kidding!) as fast as the car could go. Despite what it may have looked like, I swear we’d all driven a car before!
That evening, my birthday celebration ended in the most amazing way possible. Noel, Alex, Casey and I attended Itt Élned, Halnod Kell, a Hungarian rock musical that celebrated Hungary’s history era by era.
It took place outdoors in Hösök Tere (Heroes Square), which was transformed for the concert.
The show was FABULOUS! It was all in Hungarian, of course, so we only understood what we could see (and what Noel, a Hungarian speaker, whispered to me during the concert).
Luckily the visuals were incredible! There were hundreds of actors, dancers, singers and performers, along with jugglers, acrobats and horses. I was amazed that there was anyone left to watch the show, since it seemed like everyone in Budapest was in it!
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any more spectacular, the musical ended with a phenomenal fireworks display. Budapest certainly knows how to celebrate a birthday!
It was such a fantastic day! Boldog Születésnapot to me!