I have always been at odds with February, and, judging by past events, February was often at odds with me. Looking back, I can recall two types of February, or more precisely one: bloody awful Februaries. The other type would be Februaries I really can’t remember, odd brackets of time between January and long awaited March when something must have definitely happened, like I probably ordered pizza, watched some football and forgot the most important item on a shopping list.
This year, however, I have a strange feeling that February is trying to mend our relationship. Mainly, by pretending to be March. At which it will fail, because the holiday planted in its middle is not the sublime Guinness drinking fest of Saint Patrick’s day, but the ‘let’s recycle unused red wrapping paper’ and ‘let’s bridge the marketing no man’s land between Christmas and Easter’ monstrosity that is Valentine’s Day. I pity poor Saint Valentine for all the slack he gets, but he really could have chosen something wiser to be the patron saint of, like maybe trade a country with Saint George or something. This being said, the mild weather (which I am mentioning here only as context, you see) means many usually March timed flowers have already started to pop up at the florists, and I have duly purchased my first daffodils of the season and then ran into gerberas and roses during my coffee shop rounds, in Budapest Baristas and Espresso Embassy respectively.
I have also managed to finally stray off the beaten track and made it to The Goat Herder’s- which is actually only a twenty minutes walk from Oktogon, so my only excuse for not having gone there is being both lazy and a slave to my habits. The twenty minutes of jolly walk in the balmy February sun (note more efforts to be March, or straightaway April) were rewarded with coffee, which was excellent, but even more so with tea, as in real English five o’clock tea with milk and cake and a touch of Mad Hatter’s tea party about it. While pottering about the same area, and getting just a bit lost for a few minutes, I also wandered into the lobby of the Bethlen theatre, to discover a dazzling array of retro stuff complete with chintz and dubious china and stumbled upon a building with decidedly pleasant stained glass windows, which happens to be the Bethlen square synagogue.
Returning to the Művész coffee house on Andrássy was however a letdown- the drinks are ridiculously expensive and there’s about a gazillion plastic flowers too many for comfort. It’s outright painful to see that a place that could focus on keeping the old coffee house culture of the city alive chooses to stray into murky tourist trap territory instead. I shall therefore stick to the safe haven of places such as Massolit, where you can have both coffee and a great cake at the most decent of prices, and indulge in a peaceful read or conversation on the side.
February’s final flurry will be the premiere of the Coen brothers’ Hail Caesar, which I look forward to with the most giddy of excitements, but until then I shall indulge in some recommendations I found beside a table in Castro Bistro- a table I was grumpy about at first, due to it’s not so strategic positioning close to the door-further evidence that fate so very often simply knows better.