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Old Favorites & New Places--part 4, Budapest, Hungary

It's no secret that Budapest is my most favorite place in the whole world, and this was my 5th trip there in as many years. I first went to explore my Hungarian heritage, I am half, on my mother's side, but keep returning because it's just such a special place. I have visited other towns and most main sites, and will continue my explorations in coming trips, but this one needed to be peaceful and just enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

Not one to let a bit of rain dampen my enthusiasm at being in my happy place, I took Fo Taxi to my hotel (just under 8000 HUF)second time at the Medosz on Jokai ter, just off Andrassy ut near the Oktogon and a perfect base for my needs--dropped my bags and immediately headed off on tram 4 to Margit sziget to see my storks at the little petting zoo. There they were, 4 pairs on their nests, looking as damp & bedraggled as I felt, but due to the weather I got to spend a good 1/2 hour before anyone else came along. I was even lucky enough to spy one of their feathers on the ground so that is a very precious souvenir--as exciting as getting one of the Tower of London's raven's feathers last year. It was finally the right time to go to Kadarka on Kiraly utca, James' favorite wine bar and rightly so--cozy atmosphere, excellent service, great wine and I had boar tenderloin wrapped in bacon with forest mushrooms and rosemary potatoes, exquisite. Hit the Spar store across the street for some goodies and back to the hotel.

Friday--I decided to not only visit Szentendre for a couple of hours but from there take bus #7 to Skanzen, the outdoor history museum full of transplanted villages--houses, shops, etc--from various regions of Hungary. 30 minute bus ride and I spent a good 2.5 hours there exploring, lots of walking between the villages, they do rent bikes. I enjoyed seeing this as I imagined how my great-grandmother lived in such a house, etc, but at one point I'd had enough and it was threatening to rain and I got lost, briefly--nothing worse than being ready to GO and being discombobulated, trying to catch a bus that comes once an hour. Dinner was at Belvarosi Lugas Vendeglo on Bajsky-Zsilinszky just across from St Istvan's--excellent csirke paprikas, full of locals celebrating things.

Saturday is Ecseri piac day and I headed off to my favorite flea market around 10 am. It's the most ramshackle, disorganized place but I always manage to find more 1930s Hungarian pottery pieces for my collection, and exercise a bit of my feeble Hungarian skills. Poked around Vorosmarty ter area after that, made another visit to see the storks and had an early dinner at Urban Betyar on Oktober 6 utca, also visited Bestsellers where there's a big English section. 7 pm I went to a show at the Operettszinhaz, just 5 minutes from the hotel. I have seen 2 shows there I loved, but this one, Maya, was a bit tedious, though colorful, fun and well-done--no regrets.

All of a sudden it was Sunday, my last day. I started with a couple of hours exploring Kerepesi temeto (cemetery) on Fiumei ut near Keleti. Beautiful old cemetery, found a few of the famous inhabitants and the section commemorating those lost in the 1956 revolution but didn't see any Katonas (my Hungarian family name), and then headed up to Castle Hill to enjoy the beautiful spring weather at last. Back in Pest I found a shop recommended here by Khrystia called Printa on Rumbach Sebeysten, cool hand-printed items for the home and other things, bought a great top there. Hit Memories of Hungary for some last-minute souvenirs and since I was in the neighborhood, Belvarosi Lugas again, this time my favorite--toltott kaposzta with a Debrecen sausage--perfect last meal, topped off with ice cream at Hiszteria Cremeria on Andrassy by the hotel.

I had a 6:10 am flight home so called City Taxi at 3:50 and they were waiting when I got to the lobby at 4. 25 minute ride, approx. 7400 HUF. I came home with a 1000 HUF note and some coins, pretty good planning...

Posted by
1971 posts

Christa, glad you had a great time. I've taken note of your visit to Skanzen for my own next trip to Budapest. I loved a similar place in Switzerland and will definitely enjoy going there! Thanks for the idea!

Posted by
2645 posts

It was a pleasure to read the 4 parts of your trip report. I've only spent a few days in Budapest, but I liked it a lot. I remember walking along and seeing a movie theater. It clicked in my head, "Hey, that looks like the theater from which students fought during the 1956 Uprising." I walked up to the theater; sure enough, there was a plaque on the side of the theater and a small memorial out front. I would love to see the section of the cemetery commemorating those who lost their lives as a part of the revolution. Glad you were able to add to the pottery collection. Thanks for writing a very interesting trip report.

Posted by
135 posts

Christa, I've really enjoyed reading your trip report. I love Budapest also (have been 3 times) and on my list for the next visit are the storks, the Skanzen and the flea market. Glad you made it to Printa! And Tallinn is on my want to visit list.

Posted by
2163 posts

CW—I love anything historical, no doubt why Europe as a whole is so enticing to me, and there’s a similar outdoor museum in Tallinn called Rocca al Mare that I visited in 2013–bonus points for running along the Baltic shore so I found some sea glass as a souvenir—& as I am 1/4 Estonian it made me happy to see how my ancestors lived.

Posted by
1971 posts

Christa - thanks for the tip about Rocca al Mare. I'll check it out!

Posted by
681 posts

Thank you for the lovely trip report. I really enjoyed reading all the parts.