Budapest has some of the finest thermal baths in all of Europe due to an abundance of natural hot springs. Baths have existed in the Budapest region since Roman times, but the Ottoman Turks who ruled Budapest for over 150 years made them what they are today and left many baths behind which are still in use.
The picture is of the Szechenyi Baths in Varosliget. This bath is the hottest and deepest in Budapest.
Another general meeting place for people in Budapest is the Deak square. We usually just say let's meet at the Porsche, because at the entrance of the underground (see picture) on the other side there was a Porsche Hungaria salon before (clothing shop nowdays).
It is a very logical meeting place, since the 3 underground lines meet just under the square, so no matter from which direction you are coming, it's easy to access.
Hungary doesn't have the EURO; the official currency is the Forint (1 Forint = 100 Filler). There are many warnings to not exchange money in the street. In fact during my 6 days in the city noone offered me to exchange money in the street.
In the tourist areas restaurant prices often include a service charge, in other places it is recommended to give a tip of 10-20 %.
In Hungary there are usually 2 sizes of beer in the pubs:
- Pohar (glass) usually means half of a pint
- Korso ("mug") is a pint (half liter)
There might be some extra sizes, but this is the standard. 1 liter mugs (called on some places "Krigli") are not that common over here.
The hungarian language is not an easy one itself, so why not make it a little more confusing with the names? :)
In hungary we put the last name (the family name) first. However if a hungarian speaks english, he/she usually changes the order back to "normal".
To be sure, just ask for the names before you start calling someone by his/her family name...it can also happen that someone has a "last name sounding" first name, so be aware! :)
Budapest is full of monuments. From the monumental ones, celebrating important historic figures, to ones celebrating local poets, musicians and other people.
This monument close to the Parliament building represents Imre Nagy, Prime Minister of Hungary immediately prior to the 1956 uprising. Nagy tried to introduce a more relaxed form of Communism in the country (pulling away from Soviet domination), but was arrested and executed two years later. His grave was left unmarked in an overgrown corner of the main Budapest cemetery. Shortly after the introduction of parliamentary democracy in 1989 his body was exhumed and he became an official national hero.
Thanks to Rea (shirez) for telling me more about this monument.
We (Croats) lived with Hungarians for many centuries in various kinds of political unions. But it is probably our language that helped us the most to keep our identity.
Hungarian is an island within the Slavic group of languages. Since I never left Europe coming to Budapest for the first time was my first experience of being surrounded by words that mean absolutely nothing to me. No similarities with ANY language I know. Hungarian is not an easy language. Here is an example:
szent = holy/sacred
szentség = holiness/sanctity
szentségtelen = unholy
(meg)szentségtelenít = to profane/desecrate (to make unholy)
megszentségteleníthetetlen = unprofanable (can not make unholy)
megszentségteleníthetetlenség = unprofanableness
megszentségteleníthetetlenséges = unprofanablenessish
[a thing that is almost impossible to make unholy]
megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedés = [doing/making the above]
megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedése = [somebody's above]
megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedései = [plural of the above]
megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitek = [your ...]
megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért = [for your ...]
Of course, nobody uses this word. It can be found only in grammar books. :-)
For more useful words and phrases in Hungarian please use the link below.
One of the most popular meeting places of the people in Budapest is the so called "Nyugati clock".
People come and go all the time at that spot, just spend a good half an hour there and you will see lovers on a date, friends before a party, someone giving back a book to a schoolmate, mother waiting for his son before shopping...
So don't worry if someone says to you, let's meet at the Nyugati station at the clock, just go there look for the turning lights showing the time or the temperature (see picture!) and enjoy waiting while watching people go by! :)
ps: the place is on Nyugati square, at the Nyugati metro/railway/tram/bus station just in face of the Nyugati railways station's building.
Tipping is easy in Hungary. In restaurants and bars we usually give about 10% tip. It's notting really strict, just round up the bill and tell the waiter to give you back from the amount you decide on (if the bill is 1235, say 1400, and so).
As you see, we don't leave the tip after paying the bill, but together with the payment.
We don't give tip in shops elsewhere. That's about it :)
Budapest is known for its thermal bath and the Gellért is one of the oldest in town. This lovely Art Nouveau hotel will put you in the mood for some serious relaxation! When we went there, it was the "men's day" so we couldn't use the steam room (the pool is coed - mixed bathing (May–Sept daily 6am–7pm, July & Aug Fri & Sat also 8pm–midnight; Oct–April Mon–Fri 6am–7pm, Sat & Sun 6am–5pm), so an employee gave us some direction to another bath where us ladies could use the steam room and it was a blast. A short tram ride away, the little bath we went to was really where ordinary Hungarians go take care of themselves. I wish I remembered the name.
First, we had to get undressed and the employee gave us those pieces of cloth that really don't hide anything. After the first moment of embarrassment, we got rid of them. Being embarrassed was... well... embarrassing. The dark main room topped with a dome had a hot mineral bath and cold pool. Next to it, the steam room (which was in fact a little room with the heater set at maximum temperatures). The locals, instead of sitting quietly like I did, have little instruments to scrape their dead skin. That grossed out some of my friends. I thought it kinda made sense. Anyway, after several dips in the hot pool then in the cold, I felt all my body in a state of relaxation hard to describe. I wished we had had more time there because the massages were very cheap. But we only had a few hours in Budapest and we had to make them count.
The address for the hotel is : Gellért Hotel, Gellért tér 1, Budapest
Vorosmarty is the most calssical square of Pest and one of the most elegant in Europe. In addition its also lacated at the end of the famous Vaci street. All off this bring here many tourists. Around the statues and the fountains you can find painter that will be happy to make your draw, there will be also street musicians and more... another man that i noticed in the square is an old person who is going around the square at the evenings and sell some special balloons fo 100 Forint....
All that things make the square a very colorful and pleasent place.
Hungarians are unique to Europe in their Asian roots and strange language. When in Budapest you will find many people who can speak at least some English, but if you are unfortunate enough to be stranded .. GOOD LUCK you will need it.
When you will walk around Budapest you will surely see some streets, squares and statues with unrecognized names on them... some of them can be pretty boring people but there are also some that are real heroes!
The Hungarin nation has a long history and a lot of events that brought her to this day, for its independence.
There are 2 persons that for them i payd attantion the most:
-The first is Kossuth Lajos that was one of the most importent Hungarian revolutionary heroes at the 19 century. You can see boulevards called after him, there is even a really honorable statue placed after him in a garden just near the Parliament house.
-The second one is Matyas kiraly (king), he was one of Hungaries greatest kings and ruled between 1458-1490. There are squares called according to his name and many statues of him around Budapest.
In additin to them there are many other Importent persons that had a lot of influence on the existence of the Hungarian people. examples to that you can see at: Andrassy boulevard, Attila road and Rakoczi street, the statue on Gellert hill or the monument near the Parliament for the people who resisted the Communism.
One of the most importent thing when you visit Budapest is to know how old the stuff you see began and reached its situation today (the old heroes really should be rewarded for that)...
Right in front of the entrance to Buda Tunnel there is a monument to - number Zero! (I told you Budapest is full of various monuments).
Apparently, this is the zero point in Budapest from which all the road distances to other towns in Hungary are measured from.
Well, this is the funny area regarding monuments. The new Budapest National Theatre (Nemzeti Szinhaz) is situated on the right bank of Danube, close to the Petofi Bridge.
The building itself is a post-modern experiment, and around it you'll find ziggurats, labyrinths and an aboundance of silly sculptures: paraschuters jumping from the sky, people waiting for someone on the benches etc.
Right at the main entrance path you'll find this guy apparently leaving the area with heavy suitcases.
I wonder where is he going? And whom does he represent?