Budapest Journals

The Great Budapest

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A November 2003 trip to Budapest by jacob_s

Quote: There is such a sense of history here. The inhabitants have witnessed the invasion and destruction, and nearly 40 years under the communists.

The Great Budapest

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Quote:
The best thing to do is just walk the streets. There is such a sense of history here. The inhabitants have witnessed the invasion and destruction and nearly 40 years under the communists. Other pleasures include walking the ramparts of Varhegy (Castle Hill), taking a tram along Bem Rampart, and sitting to watch a society in transition and a city waking up to its potential.Quick Tips: Budapest is divided into two parts. Buda and Obuda west of the Danube (Duna) and Pest to the east. They are connected by numerous bridges including the famous chain bridge. If you want peace and quiet stay in Buda, but for nightlife and shopping, Pest is best.Home-stays are a good idea and so devalued—an absolute...Read More
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This was a real find in Budapest. Hotels can be very expensive but this is affiliated with Hostelling International so you get the luxury of a room and privacy at near-hostelling prices.

Situated in a very classy area of Buda, a short walk from Castle Hill this is a lovely hotel. Not far from Deli-pu so useful if you are coming from Warsaw and the Ukraine. The rooms are clean and tidy and a jolly Magyar with a big bristling moustache manned the reception. This was a great place to come back to after a day's sightseeing in Budapest.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 2, 2006

Hotel Express
Beethoven Utca
Budapest, Hungary

Szentendre Dining: Korona

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Restaurant

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Situated in a row of restaurants on the cobble stoned main tourist street through town, Korona seemed a good, but random, choice for an evening meal. The building was a flat orange colour and seemed a popular choice, as most tables inside were taken already. It was a pleasant evening, so we chose to sit outside under the large umbrellas.Our waiter spoke English very well and communication was not an issue at all. We were provided with some bread as we browsed the menu. I hadn't tried traditional Hungarian stew yet, and we were leaving Hungary the next morning, so that was one requirement for my meal. I randomly selected a main platter from the menu and hoped for the best. Tom wasn't bothered about his...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 2, 2006

Szentendre Dining: Korona
Fõ tér 18 - 19
Budapest, Hungary
+36 26 313-651

Gerbeaud Cafe, Restaurant and Pub

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Restaurant

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The legendary Gerbeaud, in the heart of Budapest, is one of the largest, most traditional, and most famous cafée-confectioneries in Europe. I absolutely love it. Refinement is the operative word at Cafée Gerbeaud. This is one cafée where indulging one's sweet tooth is elevated to an art form.The cafée was established by Henrik Kugler in 1858 and expanded by its later owner, Emil Gerbeaud. Lovingly renovated in 1997, Gerbeaud shines with the cultured nostalgia of its original days: rich plaster work, magnificent chandeliers, marble tables, lavish fine wood paneling, and brocade wall coverings that characterise the elegant, yet comfortable atmosphere of this home of tradition.Gerbeaud's specialities inc...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 2, 2006

Gerbeaud Cafe, Restaurant and Pub
Gerbeaud House
Budapest, Hungary
+36 429-9000

Great Synagogue

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Attraction | "The Great Synagogue"

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It is a miracle that this place has survived. It was located two streets away from the Gestapo headquarters during the second World War, as well as escaping the depredations of the communists. It is without a doubt the most important synagogue in Eastern Europe, and may be the largest in the world. A visit here is a must to truly understand what Budapest has gone through in the 20th century.It is easily reachable from the eastern end of the shopper street of Vaci Utca. To the right leads down to the Danube and the Elisabet bridge, to the left will take you across Lajos Kossuth Utca and the synagogue. Its outside appearance is striking, with ornate red brick and a faintly Oriental dome....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 2, 2006

Great Synagogue
Dohany utca, 2-8
Budapest, Hungary 1074
+36 1 342 1335

Hungarian State Opera House

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Attraction

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Hungarians are a cultured bunch who have not yet succumbed to the Western ideal that going to the opera is a "fairly extravagant" thing to do. A royal box in the majestic State Opera House, for instance, costs the princely sum of $40, while the cheapest seats start at only $5.With an impressive number of decent venues, chances are that whatever time of year you travel to Budapest, it won't be difficult to plan a great evening out.The main season here runs from September to mid-June and includes over 50 major productions, many of which are familiar to opera lovers abroad. For tickets, it's advisable to book a couple of weeks in advance, though cheaper seats are often available at the last minute. Perfo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 2, 2006

Hungarian State Opera House
Andrassy Ut, 22, District Vi
Budapest, Hungary 1061
+36 (1) 353 0170

Quote:
This is the historic and spiritual home of Budapest. Situated on the Buda side, this great towering expanse of rock contains Varhegy, the castle area. This district, rising 100 feet above the Danube (or Duna in Hungarian), has more history then most countries and contains relics of its various invaders and builders. And did I mention it has stunning views of the Danube from Fishermans bastion. To reach it take the subway to Moskva Ter (which is quite an experience with its pavement market and Ukrainian migrant workers) then walk uphill to the Vienna Gate. Or alternately, if you are coming from Pest, walk across the Szenyi lanchid (Chain Bridge) where a funicular will take you up to Varhegy for...Read More
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Across the Danube from the heights of Buda is the younger city of Pest. This is where the city really swings with restaurants, offices, bars, discos and monuments - a world away from the tourists on Varhegy.This is a very rewarding place to wander with its boulevards laid out with "turn-of-the century" buildings that are as grand as those in Paris or Vienna. And Hungarian life goes on around you especially in the shopping street of Vaci Utca and the showpiece square of Vorosmarty Ter.To reach Pest from Buda take the excellent subway to Astoria or Deak Ter (where gypsies lurk) or simply walk across one of the Danube bridges. There is an international bus station in Deak Ter and trains r...Read More
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On your wanders around the streets of Pest the below attractions are worth a look. You cannot do justice to Pest in a few days. The below can be covered easily, but spare some time for Saint Mikulas Church, Gellert Hill, and the old Ottoman Rudas Baths. Vigado and Vaci Utca At Vigado Ter, in front of the big international hotels and flanking the Danube, they have set up a tourist market. Here you can buy lace, chessboards, T-shirts, and leatherware from a large number of stalls. Nearby is the pedestrianised square of Vorosmarty Ter with its showrooms, IBUSZ and record shops - scalps/touts will hang around there trying to get tourists interested in tours of Szendre of the Buda Hills. Bu...Read More

Breathe Mediterranean Air

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Story/Tip

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1. Szentendre, a small town constructed right on one bank of the Danube, can be reached easily by frequent HEV suburban train from Batthyany ter in Buda in about 30 minutes. The narrow winding streets, alleys, small squares, Orthodox churches, Baroque houses, interesting museums, and small shops have all contributed in making the town an attraction for visitors. Every summer, the atmosphere in Szentendre becomes similar to that within a medieval Sicilian village or a small town in Crete. Though more oriented towards tourism, the town is nonetheless calm and relaxing. 2. The HEV train station in Szentendre is a bit out of town in Dunakanyar korut. From here, walk through the subway and then al...Read More

800 years of history

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Story/Tip

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The history of Hungary starts with Prince Geza, a member of the Arpad Dynasty who, aided by the Holy Roman Emperor, was able to transform the pagan Magyar tribes into a nation. Geza and his family were converted to Christianity; his son, Vajk, was soon baptized, his name changed to the Christian name Istvan (Stephen). When Geza passed away, it was Stephen's turn to rule Hungary. Three years later, in the year 1,000, he was crowned the first king of Hungary.Stephen started on a road of political and religious reform. On one hand, he expropriated the land of the pagan chiefs and built castles to protect the Hungarian territory. On the other hand, with the constant support of the church, he hastened the ...Read More