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Insider's view · Europe · hungary · Budapest

Insider's view: Dorka Klim

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Insider's view: Dorka Klim

A Perfect Day in Budapest

Dorka Klim is a film producer, as well as well as one of the co-owners of Hip Homes Hungary - a small company dealing in the renting out of select luxury apartments. Born in Budapest, Klim lived for several years in Amsterdam and Buenos Aires - "great cities", as she says herself - but she always wanted to return home. "Budapest is a very beautiful city. I live on the side of Buda, and every time I return from a trip, I have to cross a bridge. Most often I use the Elisabeth Bridge - from which the view of the city's panorama is simply breathtaking."

Hip Homes Hungary came about spontaneously - on a summer's evening by Balaton Lake, while drinking wine in the company of friends. "Many of my friends had wonderful flats, which for various different reasons, were standing empty at the time. At the same time, we knew that Budapest was short on apartments - stylish and comfortable ones, the kinds that we stayed in ourselves when traveling the world over. And that's how we came up with the idea." Currently, Hip Homes Hungary has nine luxury apartments at its disposal, in various parts of the city; they are, undeniably, among the best accommodations that Budapest has to offer. Each apartment has its own signature design and story behind it, embodying the amazing assemblage of feelings that make you feel like a local after having spent just a few days in the city.

When asked how would she spend an ideal day in Budapest, Klim laughingly responds that that would only be possible on the off chance that she didn't have any prior commitments. "I'd wake up early (that is, if I could) and start the day with a session at a spa. It's best to do this right in the morning - I'd probably go with friends. And the spa would definitely be Rudas Bath, one of the most authentic and oldest thermal spas in Budapest. I think we'd spend two-and-a-half or three hours there; then we'd have breakfast. Somewhere on Andrassy Boulevard, like Két Szerecsen - one of my favorite cafés. It's not far from the opera and Nagymező utca, the street that is often called the Broadway of Budapest - from the days when it was lined with theaters, taverns, public and private clubs, even bordellos. There still are five theaters there, just 50 m apart from one another.

But it's just as likely that I'd breakfast right here on Buda's side, where there are also a lot of great cafés - places where the locals go. Like the Tranzit Art Café (Bukarest u. 3-9, www.trazitcafe.com), which used to be an old bus station. They regularly hold all sorts of exhibitions, concerts, and film and literary evenings. A wonderful, relaxing atmosphere - with hammocks put up outside.

Afterward, I'd definitely go to an art exhibition, for instance, at the National Gallery; or to a newly-opened seasonal show - either in a gallery or set-up outdoors. Excellent art projects are also exhibited in the city parks in the summer months.

If it was a weekend, an obligatory stop would be two of Budapest's most colorful art and design markets - WAMP and Gouba. The first is held once a month (either at Millenáris or Erzsébet Square; upcoming dates are June 10, July 15 and August 12; www.wamp.hu), and it's a great place to introduce yourself to everything that is new and popular on Hungary's fashion and design scene. Clothes, accessories, various interior furnishings - WAMP is an ideal place to find gifts, or for just an inspirational stroll.

Gouba, on the other hand, is Budapest's version of Portobello Road, and it happens every Sunday (April through October, www.gouba.hu). It's in the 7th district - the historic Jewish district - in the courtyard of Gozsdu Udvar, between the streets of Király utca and Dob utca. The market is situated in a long, corridor-like passageway, which is also very interesting from an architectural standpoint. It's a colorful mix of items made by young designers, books, an antique shop, cafés and eateries. You can spend an hour, or even two here - shopping, having coffee...

Later - on a sunny day, I'd spend a few hours simply lounging about in a park. I'd just lay down in the grass and read. In the evening, I'd go out for a nice dinner. It's been ages since I've been to Café Kör (Sas Street 17, www.cafekor.com). It's a great bistro, loved by the locals and not far from St. Stephen's Basilica; always full of people, and special in that it's one of the few places left in the city that doesn't accept credit cards. Although, there's just as good a chance that I'd like to try some Asian cuisine, which is very popular in Budapest right now. I'd close the evening with a visit to a bar - maybe one of the ruin pubs. There's a new one opening every season, but the good old Szimpla Kert (Kazinczy Street 14, www.szimpla.hu), the first to start the trend of the "ruin pubs", is still alive and kicking; it also serves as an informal cultural center."

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