Even though the summer heat has been really brutal the last few weeks (over 100 this weekend in Szeged), Györgyi and I haven’t missed out on a few really nice Friday evening bike rides. A bike is definitely the best way to see the city. In five minutes you can go from the top of the castle to St. Stephen’s Basilica, from Buda to Pest and into all of the secret nooks in between.
I have a feeling that throughout the history of Budapest, the square in front of the basilica probably hasn’t seen that many Marin Co. California beach cruisers like the one Györgyi rides. It looks good here, though.
There is an irresistible fountain next to Szabadság ter (Freedom Square) near the American embassy.
Every time I’ve gone by in in the last few weeks there are kids emerging, soaked, from the fountain innards, or disappearing behind its high wall of water.
It’s another great example of interactive public art in Hungary. And on a hot day, even the most proper people stick a leg or arm in. I road through about halfway during the afternoon. It was deliriously refreshing.
After dinner, we road to Duna Park, which is just a few blocks from our apartment, to have an ice cream sunday. Duna Park is home to the city’s most expensive club sandwich, which naturally and shamefully I adore. It’s also where all of the sunglassed Hungarian celebrities hang out. It’s like the Hungarian Ivy. But all of the starstruck mystique is lost on me because I don’t really know who they are, except for Fenyő Miklós, who lives nearby and is always there in his orthopedic training shoes and who Györgyi describes as the Hungarian Elvis.
Our last stop of the night was at Holduvar, the restaurant/beer garden on Margit Island. We ordered two large Fröccs, (pronounced fruch). It’s a favorite Hungarian summery drink that dates back to the late 19th century when Ányos Jedlik invented soda water. Yes, a Hungarians invented soda water (and Vitamin C and the hologram and the ball point pen and genius hair and the ability to catch a cold from an open bus window).
Fröccs is a combo of wine and soda water. I have to pause here for a second because I’m guessing my mom probably just passed out hard reading about the sacrilege that is to combine wine and water (except in church). BUT, it’s actually quite good and a perfect summer drink.
We stayed for just one drink before biking home. And it was enough. By about 11:30 all of the underage American kids had snuck out of their hostels and were piling around the bar in their hammar pants and American Apparel dresses. As soon as the first girl asked the bartender, “Do ya’ll have Sex on the Beach?” in her perfect Georgia accent, we were outta there. That’s summer in the city. Kind of great all around.