I'll be heading to Budapest next May as staff for about 30 Undergrad collage students to learn about how business is done in Eastern Europe. Most of my days will be filled with visiting major companies around Budapest, but many nights I'll have free time to get away from the students . Where should I go? We will be in Budapest about a week,
i dont know if i would call it an "adventure" but i went down to the waterfront. Really cool pics. choose your side and go for it.
walked up/down the main drag that crosses the Octogon.
The Entertainment chapter in Rick's Budapest book is surprisingly full - a local guide must have contributed a lot to that info. The opera sounds like a good place to avoid your students. You can also swim/bathe of an evening in the outdoor part of the Szechenyi Baths and on Friday and Saturday nights at the Rudas Baths.
May? Did you say May? Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch...........http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYP1OBZfFK0
Okay, well most evening the second half of May you will find me sitting here http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274887-d2293155-Reviews-Kadarka_wine_bar-Budapest_Central_Hungary.html#photos Now, it has been pointed out that there are more happening places in town, but I know and like the owner and staff and its about 200 feet from the front door of where I stay in Budapest.
Other than that, it would help to know what you like to do? Like was pointed out it can be bars, opera or bath houses or just strolling the river front.
Sounds good. We will leave the US on May 16th, so if a guy walks up to you with a USC shirt on saying hi, I'll at least by the first round :) (any Stooge fan is a friend of mine).
As for what I like to do, I love history, theater (I'm a magician as as well), and just learning about a new place. I've never been to Eastern Europe, so I'm really looking for ward to it. I'm not sure where we will be staying, but the University tends to put us in a good hotel.
Thank you all for the information so far. Sounds like I'll be able to to get out and have a little fun
So you want something exciting, unusual, unique and very memorable. This is what you do. About 10 pm start walking up and down Vaci utca. Eventually an attractive woman will approach you. She will be French or Russian or ???? and she will suggest that the two of you go and get a drink. She will lead you to a lovely place where the two of you will drink and laugh for about an hour. Then the bill will come. The drinking and laughter will amount to about 1000 euro. Not enough money? Don't worry!!! A kind gentleman, probably several kind gentlemen, will escort you to the nearest ATM and assist you securing the funds. A night you will never forget!!!! Once happened a lot, haven't heard about a case in a lot of years. But being a single guy, don't fall for it.
Scott, I will be the aggie. G-d Bless Auburn. My schedule is still a little sketchy. The goal is to land in Baku spend a few days then move on to the Tien Shan Mountains for a little fishing............somehow ending up in Budapest. All depends on the world affairs in May I guess. We depart Budapest on the 27th to return back to Aggieland after at least ten days in Budapest. That's about all that is certain.
Okay, theater; Google Budapest Operetta. It's operettas and musicals very well done in a very interesting venue. You are in luck as the theaters don't usually start closing down until mid June. I looked and the May program has been published yet. Often they project English language above the Proscenium Opening.
Google Budapest Ruin Pubs for a web page with descriptions
The Bath Houses are interesting in the evening. http://www.spasbudapest.com/ has links to all of them. http://www.spasbudapest.com/ is probably the most mature of the bunch. That's where you will find us Christmas Day.
In may you can get an outside table on Andrassy ut or on the river front and drink and people watch.
Take a Taxi to Gellert Hill for the view. Go to this website. It is a good taxi company. Then call them and tell them you want to see the view on the start page of their website (Gellert Hill overlook) http://www.citytaxi.hu/
Oh, and I get a lot of flack for bring this up, but Hungary wasn't in "Eastern" Europe until anti-communist nations needed a unified enemy and so they combined Central and Eastern into one foe to defeat. "Eastern" Europe is great marketing especially for my generation but the Hungarians that don't rely on that marketing don't really much care for the label. Of course, I'm no better. I tell my friends I have a business in Eastern Europe just to see the look on their faces.
But with the massage and more he will run into too many of his students. Good to hear about the girl scam.
You must have hit it on a good night. Generally pretty quiet when I am there, but there have been exceptions. They know us. We show up and the tables are all reserved ................ until one isn't for us. But they know we go to bed early. The food is pretty outrageously good too. But too much for a wine bar. And I think you pointed out that it was a little stark; and it is. I sort of like that the tourist generally don't find it.
St. Stephen's Basilica has evening concerts. It'a a better way to see the cathedral than the daytime visit. Get there early and take some photos inside before the performance begins.
Worldinbetween. I try and recommend the best tourist experiences. You were correct about Kadarka. It's the kind of place best if you are staying near, go often and invest in relationships. That doesn't describe many tourists. As for "the coffee house" I think it is a good revelation of Budapest's past which makes it good for many tourists; but not the sort of place I visit.....but glad I did once.
We were touched because these folks remembered us from our 3 times a year trips. They spotted us on the streets and yelled hello. The lent me wine glasses for the night and they keep the place we stay well stocked with good grape juice. The Hungarian people by and large have always treated us well.
James and all, Thank you all for these great tips. I just wish the trip wasn't still 6 months away. I'll be getting more information on where we will be staying and what group activities we will be doing (I know we do a dinner cruise one night)
The ruin bars sound fun and James I will be stopping by your wine bar as well. Are there any areas to avoid at night?
It's a very safe city. Still, dark narrow streets can be a little frightening .... until you notice that there are a lot of locals walking those streets with complete confidence. With a little common sense and a well located accommodation you won't come near a neighborhood that presents any great threat. We wander well into the evening.
Remember that Budapest is not “restored”. There are places where you can still see plaster riddled by machine gun bullets. After the “change” building ownership and apartment ownership returned to the people and these people could not always afford to maintain the old apartment blocks as they would like. So a lot of buildings can look pretty rough. What can be fascinating is getting into the courtyards. There is an apartment building near where we stay that looks like absolute abandoned hell on the outside; the courtyard and the apartments are beautifully cared for or restored. This sort of thing is not uncommon. If you want overly restored grandeur, go to Vienna. If your want total recreations ………… well pick most any major city in Germany. Budapest is what it is, very real, a little gritty here and there, but very much authentic.
@worldinbetween, I love the Rumbach Synagogue too. Have you seen the little one nearly hidden on Vasvari Pal? Or there is one in Buda not far off the river where the synagogue was constructed as a free standing building in an apartment block courtyard. Recently restored, its amazing. But my best memory of Jewish Budapest is a little prayer Shul in District VIII, that invited us in, insisted we stayed and participated in the prayer service, fed us and then drank with us. Beautiful day.
@worldinbetween. This is the one that took us in and treated us so well: http://www.budapestshul.com/ It's orthodox so for the service you will have to sit behind the curtain, apart from the men. But all the women peek and watch. Beautiful people.
I highly recommend heading up to Castle Hill around sunset, and stay until it gets dark. A lot of people head up there for the sunset, and even though the sun is setting behind you, the views over the river and over Pest are spectacular. Especially the Chain Bridge when it is lit up after dark. You can take the bus up there and hike down. On this and previous trip, I always found the waterfront views to be great, especially after dark. I could keep myself entertained by riding the tram up one side of the river, crossing a bridge, and then hopping on a tram on the opposite shore. The Liberty Bridge is great too; I have always thought of it as "our" bridge because spent a lot of time in that part of town. We went to the Gellert Baths late in the day on our 2011 trip in the early evening and found it a bit grungy at that time of day. (Much better was this year when we went in the later morning, and it seemed much cleaner). But if you can only go in the evening then that or one of the other baths would also be a good choice.
A little over a dozen years ago we got bored in Vienna and discovered that there was the place called Budapest a few hours a way. I made some calls and secured a room at the K&K and we boarded the first train to Budapest. At the time the train still stopped at the border and gentlemen in black uniforms brandishing automatic weapons and speaking nothing but this strange sounding language checked papers. Geeeee, what heck did we get ourselves into? The train pulled into Keleti Station stained black from a 100 years of steam locomotives was not a pleasant looking place and the poverty was immediately noticeable. Great, I took my wife behind the iron curtain to be................ well the iron curtain had fallen 10 years earlier but .........................??? Okay, well we grabbed the bags and headed out the front door of the station where we were met by a stocky little communist looking cartoon character who began demanding that we give up our luggage. Moments later a taxi drove up over the curb and the driver, just a kid, got out and the commie and him began arguing. Of course, it was two cab drivers arguing over the same fare.... us. I choose the kid because I thought I could win a fight with him if need be. Although he spoke no English we did convince him to just drive around the town for a while. We had made no plans and knew nothing about Budapest so it seemed logical. As it began to get dark he crossed over to Buda, then began climbing the hill. The road got narrow, there were trees on both sides and it was getting more and more secluded. We were obviously going to a location to be mugged and robbed. I was correct. He parked along side the road in the middle of no where and demanded we get out of the cab then he demanded we turn around. I was ready to throw the wallet and I only prayed he wouldn't shoot us in the back. Then we saw; http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs27/f/2008/165/c/c/Budapest_by_night_by_Psygabcsi.jpg and knew why we were really there. I told my wife that we were going to return to Budapest. She reminded me that we had only just arrived. Yes, Gellert Hill after dark is well worth the effort. Take a bottle of wine, a couple of glasses and sit on the wall and enjoy one of the most beautiful views in the world.
James: You just get better all the time. You need to go into the Budapest tourism business and put your knowledge online like RonInRome.com has done.
I too went to the University of Innsbruck on the same type program as Scott will be overlooking--with 180 college students. It was one of the highlights of my life, and I return to the region time and time again.
30 U.S. college students loose in Budapest should be quite an adventure. I'd suggest the first night, they all go on a Pub Crawl--to find out where the best places to hang out are located. The Ruin Bars of Budapest are really happening places. As a consolidation, I'd rather have my students in Budapest than in Prague.
That moment on Gellert Hill during a much more simple time in my life; holding hands with my wife as we shared a most remarkable moment still chokes me up.
I've only been to that spot once since then, with my son, I think in the spring I am going to borrow a couple of chairs, two glasses and a bottle of wine from Kadarka's and have a special moment there one evening with my wife.
Hey David, you are so right, James needs to follow RoninRome. Its so exciting listening to him and WorldinBetween talk Budapest.
Ron has gone on and started a travel agency.Ron Phillips Travel. We use him for all our trips. :D
Woldinbetween has/is living there and is a lot better source than I am.
At best I only spend a month a year in Budapest. Over a dozen years that equates to about a year, but its hit and miss. She's sort of a permanent source, while I still see a lot through the eyes of a tourist. AND, every trip I discover something new that makes me know that the time and money I have devoted hasn't been wasted.
This Christmas it will be myself, my wife and our three semi-adult kids. New years, just my wife and my daughter. we depart in 11 days. Wave if you see us.
Oh, and for the tour business encouragement. This sort of thing already takes more time than I have. Cant imagine doing more. And I don't want to do it for money.