The next morning the light flooded between a crack in the curtains, our tired bodies stirring slightly as our minds figured out where we were again.
“Happy birthday”, I whispered in Joe’s ear, before falling back into a deep slumber.
Once we’d sleepily got ourselves ready for the day the excitement soon hit, and we quickly sauntered through the lobby and out into the morning’s sweet, fresh air. With a spring in our step, we already knew the way, tracing the path back to St Stephens Basilica, before sidling past and making our way through the streets that were still only just waking up. Our hands squeezed together as we arrived at our first port of call – a small, French-inspired cafe called A La Maison, sitting prettily between a line of closed shops. Inside was immaculate, Parisian decor, with dainty chairs, a rustic ceiling, and cute, vintage style bric a brac.
We happily chatteed about the day ahead as we sat up on the bar jutting out from a large mirror, glancing into it’s reflection now and then in the hopes of seeing our breakfast reflecting back at us. We were given a great prize for our eager waiting. Thick, fluffy pieces of bread were sandwiched together with sticky, orange chocolate goo, decorated with dots of fresh cream and strawberries, whilst Joe’s pile of pancakes were adorned with bananas and drizzled with a happy helping of maple syrup. Our eyes widened as we tucked in, our stomachs happily gurgling as we slowly made our way through the feast.
With stomachs completely full to the brim, we slowly shuffled back through the streets, and begun our journey to Joe’s choice of birthday treat – the Budapest Zoo.
It was a long walk to the zoo, the sun beating heavily on us as we wandered past busy streets and marvelled at the trees that stood tall amidst the towering architecture. But soon we arrived, and happily ran through vibrant flora in the search for our favourite animals.
“Two days in Budapest and most of my photos are of animals”, I exclaimed two hours into our adventure, grinning as I took a photo of a cheeky emu that decided to stare Joe down.
For hours we wondered through the zoo, forming a new found love for armadillos and cooing at the sleepy koalas. Beautiful birds flocked by the large pond, friendly monkeys twoing and throwing between the trees.
Soon we’d exhausted our visit and made our way to Matthias Church, a small church filled with intricate architectural designs, and impressive gargoles and statues. A large, picturesque pond sparkled nearby, with the golden arches of Szechenyi Bath only a short walk away, as well as the spectacular statues that stand tall in Heroes Square. With our feet aching, we bundled into a taxi…only to be completely ripped off and made to pay far too much. We grumbled our way back to the hotel room, but after a quick nap and a German episode of Big Bang, we were ready for Joe’s next birthday treat.
Accidentally arriving at Joe’s chosen restaurant an hour early, we stumbled into a delicate archway next door, the path leading to a beautiful, chic restaurant and cocktail bar that looked as if it were an indoor garden – Mazel Tov.
Intricate chairs crowded around small square tables, pretty ivy flowed from the balcony, and urban lights lit up the area, creating a lovely laidback atmosphere. Two cocktails and a lot of talking later, we slowly walked next door to a small, bustling restaurant, with hipster style decor and cool tiered seating. Tunings Bar & Burger.
Our hungry stomachs rumbled as we sipped on apple ciders and pondered over which burger to try, delicious smells wafting through the whole restaurant and up to our table.
Joe decided on the Ranch Burger, a sumptuous blend of Irish cheddar, a creamy sauce, smoked bacon, and crispy onions. Meanwhile, I chose the Juicy Burger, a decadent mix of blue cheese, betroot, bacon and a fried egg.
When they came out…we weren’t disappointed.
The patties were cooked to perfection, each delicious ingredient oozing from our burger buns as we hungrily tucked into our meal. The chips were thick and salty, contrasting beautifully with the sweet onion relish that sat on the side of the plate. Our eyes met and sparkled with happiness – if you know me well, you’ll know I love a burger.
Our stomachs full once again, we joyfully wandered back through the streets, slumped into bed, and slept soundly into the next day.