I have to thank our guide from the boat, Radi, for suggesting that we repair to the Alexandra Bookstore after the Opera House. We had to ask for directions a few times, but succeeded in finding the tri-level bookstore. It was a well-stocked, modern emporium, with books in English as well as Hungarian, on the two lowest floors. On the third, however, was its glory: a cafe with a vaulted, painted ceiling that was a product of the same artistic sensibility as the Opera House. It was Karolyi Lotz who executed the frescoes in 1884, for what was then the ballroom of a casino. Lotz is famous as the artist who decorated the immense Hungarian Parliament. There was a black-lacquered grand piano in the middle of the cafe, and the inescapable glass cases full of pastries and cakes beside the entrance. We succumbed to temptation, adding a couple of extravagant desserts to our coffee order. We did not mind paying rent, in the form of the prices for the sweets, to luxuriate in that lovely room.
The treacherous pastry case
HL and I at the Alexandra Cafe, Budapest