Gerbeaud is the most famous cafe in Budapest. The opening scene of the book “Prague” is here. As a proud member of the diaspora of Americans who moved to Eastern Europe in the early 1990’s, I can personally vouch for this book’s authenticity. The characters all ring absolutely true, as does the setting. I never finished the book; I didn’t want to. As long as I have not read the last page, the characters have not finished their journey and still live and breath, and I can yet come back to them. Lying there unfinished, it is among my favorite books of all time.

Gerbeaud, the cafe in the opening of the book, sits in the middle of Budapest’s most central square, at the start of the oldest subway in continental Europe. It’s a beautiful setting on a sunny day and great for people watching.

The cafe, with stairs to the subway in front.

Years ago, I read a restaurant review which stated that the quality of a cuisine’s desserts is inversely proportional to the capital’s distance from Vienna. And Budapest is spitting distance from Vienna! Note Baby Aaron waiting quietly, wondering when he gets his dessert.

“Hi, everybody!”

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