Budapest Local Customs

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    Zoltan Kodaly - Hungarian composer
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    Budapest Art Nouveau
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    Budapest Art Nouveau
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Most Recent Local Customs in Budapest

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    Language barriers

    by Laura_Mexico Written Oct 3, 2011

    Even though Budapest is becoming a very touristic city, most people aren't well trained to provide a good service to the tourists.

    We found out that car drivers are very kind and will always stop for you to cross the street, but cyclists are a nightmare and there are MANY of them. They aren't nearly as careful, and sometimes the sidewalk isn't enough for both pedestrians and cyclists so you have to walk on the bike lanes which I know isn't the right thing to do but sometimes there's no choice.

    In regards to the language, I was very frustrated to see that not even people at the information desks or tourist offices spoke English well enough to explain you basic things -- let alone clerks at metro stations, supermarkets, etc. So when you tried to get them to express themselves better they would also get frustrated and behave rather unhelpfully. I understand their feelings but it is really irritating and disappointing for us visitors to face this, especially when we're visiting the town for the first time and are clueless and need some orientation. Sometimes I even preferred figuring out whatever on my own than asking for help. It seems that people in stores are the ones who speak the best English (in order to try to sell you stuff, of course) and even in this case their knowledge was very limited. Their language is very special and not similar to anything I know, so I don't think they should expect everyone to speak Hungarian when visiting Budapest.... I really think they should make a bigger effort to deal with the tourists and not make them feel lost and helpless, as I did.

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Family Travel

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    The Chain-bridge in Budapest after the bombardment

    by budapest8 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Except from Admiral Horty Memoires
    As early as October 22nd, 1944, a government decree had drawn
    all male Jews between the ages of ten and sixty into a Defence
    Labour Force On November 4th, all Jewish property was confiscated by the state.
    Hitler found time to receive Szalasi, and on December 4th the two
    Fuehrers vied with each other in self-delusion when they published
    a joint official communique on the firm
    determination of the German people and the Hungarian people united under
    the revolutionary movement of Hungarists to carry on the defensive
    struggle with all the means in their possession and in the spirit of the
    traditional and well-tried comradeship-in-arms and friendship of the two
    nations.
    By the time this communiqe was published, the encirclement of Budapest by
    the armies of Marshal Malinovski32 and Marshal Tolbuchin was almost
    complete. The circle was closed on Christmas Eve.
    (Soviet Marshal Rogion Jakovlevich Malinovsky (1898-1967).

    The Siege of Budapest did not end un til Febuary 13, 1945. There was a
    total of 70 thousand German and Hungarian forces en circled under the
    command of SS Gen eral Karl Pfeffer-Wildenbruch.The fight went on
    from house to house. All seven bridges on the Danube were dynamited.
    Against Hitler's command, Pfeffer-Wildenbruch decided at the end to stage
    a break out. The Soviets were secretly in formed of this, and the
    German forces were massacred on what was later named Malinovsky Boulevard.
    Only 785 Germans survived.

    The Chain-bridge in Budapest after the bombardment
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    Visit the Zoo if you're in Budapest

    by janika Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Visit the Zoo if you're in Budapest. Thsi is the main entrance of the Budapest City Zoo. Don't feed the animals inside with junk food. They sell special food inside for the animals you can feed to them.

    City Zoo's main entrance
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    Wine, tomato, pepper, langosh

    by Raimix Updated Mar 4, 2011

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    What food and drinks I liked in Hungary? :)

    Of course, it was wine – the wine in Hungary, as it seems, is very cheap, especially in big bottles. The more expensive wine is Tokaji. What is more, there was an offer to try some nice ketchups and peppers in Hungary and some kind of national food - langosh (it is like big pancake, but actually I didn’t like this one).

    River Danube

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    Hot Hungarian Baumkuche

    by mvtouring Written Apr 15, 2009

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    To use the words of Tina Turner ...... you are simply the best! I discoved them a few years ago in Romania. You can have them sprinkled with nuts/chocolate/coconut or cinnamon sugar. You eat them nice and hot directly from the friendly baker on the street corner.

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    Manners

    by antistar Written Mar 9, 2009

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    The Hungarians are extremely polite people, although you might find it hard to get them to admit to it. They share a number of manners with the Germans, especially the greeting of people in small spaces; expect to have people say "hello" and "hello" to you in elevators as they enter and leave.

    One custom that the Hungarians seem to be crazier on than most is to say "Bon Appetite!", which in Hungarian is "jó étvágyat" (yo ate-vod-yot). If I make the mistake of eating a quick snack in the kitchen at work near leaving time, a stream of Hungarians will walk past, with each one stopping to say "jó étvágyat!" and waiting for a reply.

    Another custom is to let people go ahead of you through doors. Hungarians are so keen on this, that they will stand by a door, right hand extended, in a protracted battle of wills. You may as well give up, as the Hungarian will almost certainly win, and you will have to go through the door first, but it doesn't hurt to show that you understand the rule too.

    Despite all the politeness, the Hungarians are just as bad as other Europeans at queuing, so the British can rest assured that they can enjoy a good tut-tut when they see Hungarians commit all manner of queuing sins. One favourite is to have a friend stand in line with a single loaf of bread, while the other shops, and then returns later to the front of the queue with an overflowing cart full of groceries.

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    Most Famous Hungarians...

    by cobrioc Updated Mar 8, 2009

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    Intro: Hungarians are the strangest people, Hungary is most intriguing nation on planet Earth and some very credible scientist believe Hungarians are actually Martians, yes originally from the Red Planet Mars!

    This list is not meant to be complete nevertheless it is quite impressive. It is more than a country suffering from a small nation syndrome trying to overcompensate.
    Some people might find the contents controversial due to the fact that some of these famous Hungarians are half Hungarian or that they were “just” born in Hungary and left as infants.

    As the wise sage said: get a life people (and double check it in Wikipedia if you wish) so without further delay let’s marvel at this most famous Hungarians list:

    Please try to make an attempt to take in the significance of this tiny nation in Human history.
    Absolute geometry, torsion balance, the carburetor, transformer, electric bulbs with tungsten filaments and krypton charge, radioactive tracing, the nuclear power plant, thermonuclear fusion, the cooling tower, the electric engine, supersonic flight, radar astronomy, the new metric standard based on light, the ball-point pen, holography, radio, television, electronic computer, the first computer language: Basic, unleaded petrol, Vitamin C, the theory of games assisting in making rational decisions and conduct; these are all outstanding creations of universal culture.
    Instrumental in discovering or developing these major achievements were contributions by people to whom Hungary was their homeland, who took their basic knowledge and humanity from Hungarian schools, or to whom this country provided shelter and room for their creations. Equal respect and gratitude are due to the magnificent Red Planet Mars!

    Retrospective on the contributions of the most famous Hungarians:

    Most Famous Hungarians

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    The Hungarian Language

    by cobrioc Updated Mar 8, 2009

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    Hungarian a very special language, originating from the Finnougric tribe of languages.

    Major problem with direct descent from the Finn-Ugor people is that the Hungarian people are not genetically closely tied to their Finnic linguistic relative, least of all to the eastern Ugrians who are Mongoloids and are unlike most of the other Finn-Ugors of Eastern Europe.The uniqueness of the Hungarian language is one thing that cannot be denied and must be explained properly as an integral part of the history of the people who use it.

    Due to the years of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and Austria as a neighbour, lots of German word were imported and melted into Hungarian but they are alien and considered undesirable to use. The same applies to the "American" language nowadays. (And if you hear a word you think you've recognized, just watch out! For example "(autó)szervíz" (coming from "service") means garage, while "garázs" (coming from "e;garage") means parking place.

    Csontvary: Lonely Cedrus

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    Hungarian Tradition

    by cobrioc Updated Mar 8, 2009

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    Hungarians tend to differentiate between those who are familiar to them (i.e., family and friends) and those who have yet to enter this realm. So when you are first introduced to someone make sure to call them by their appropriate title (e.g., Dr., Mr., Mrs.) followed by their last name. When in doubt in Hungary, opt for formality.
    On business cards and the like, the last name precedes the first name.
    Handshakes are the common gesture of greeting, no matter how well you know someone.
    Expect to be offered both food and drink—and lots of it—when you enter someone's home. Always accept at least a modest serving of whatever is offered. If you're concerned about drinking too much, drink slowly and then politely decline the offer of another drink.

    Hungarians are a talkative and passionate people. They frequently state their opinions in very direct terms. Expect lively and sometimes heated discussions.
    When in doubt, tip, much like you would in North America. Ten percent and upwards is a good, general rule for wait-people, bartenders, taxi drivers, hairdressers, etc.

    FOOD AND DRINK IN HUNGARY

    Goulash (called gulyas in Hungarian), fish soup, and various paprika-laden concoctions are staples in the Hungarian diet.

    If you stay in Budapest, there are plenty of different kinds of restaurants to choose from—Italian, Thai, vegetarian, etc. Cooking at home, on the other hand, will limit your choices because grocery stores, even in the big city, are not consistently well-stocked with different items from the various food groups.

    Teetotalers are a rare breed in Hungary. Liquor such as vodka and apricot brandy, beer, and red wine are consumed in great quantities. In fact, Hungary is famous the world over for both red wine and a sweet, dessert wine called Tokaji.

    "I couldn't believe it. Many of the pubs in Budapest already were busy by eight-thirty in the morning. Even some of the construction workers were chugging on big bottles of beer well before noon."

    Stuffed Cabbage Hungarian fried sausage, call it s��ltkolb��sz. Hungarian Strudel

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    Einstein and Leo Szilard

    by cobrioc Updated Mar 8, 2009

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    Leo Szilard (Leo Szilárd; last name means “solid” in Hungarian) - the most famous Hungarian physicist: who conceived the nuclear chain reaction, Co-developed the Atomic Bomb and was directly responsible for the Manhattan Project. Szilard was the co-holder of the patent for the nuclear reactor alongside with Enrico Fermi who will reappear at the end of this post (yes that was a cliffhanger)
    in 1962 when Szilard was diagnosed with bladder cancer but when he designed his own radiation therapy the cancer went into remission and never returned!

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    Charles Simonyi

    by cobrioc Updated Mar 8, 2009

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    Hungarian computer software executive who, as head of Microsoft's application software group, oversaw the creation of Microsoft's flagship office applications. Dr. Simonyi will make history during his spaceflight by becoming the first private explorer to complete a second mission to space. He previously flew to the ISS in spring 2007 as Space Adventures' fifth orbital space client. The launch is scheduled for March 26, 2009.

    Leo Szilardleo szilard (Leo Szilárd; last name means “solid” in Hungarian) - the most famous Hungarian physicist: who conceived the nuclear chain reaction, Co-developed the Atomic Bomb and was directly responsible for the Manhattan Project. Szilard was the co-holder of the patent for the nuclear reactor alongside with Enrico Fermi who will reappear at the end of this post (yes that was a cliffhanger)
    in 1962 when Szilard was diagnosed with bladder cancer but when he designed his own radiation therapy the cancer went into remission and never returned!

    George Cukor (György Cukor) The Hungarian director of Gaslight and My Fair Lady
    “It is not enough to be Hungarian - you need talent, too!” and
    “Being a Hungarian does not necessarily make you a genius!”
    These quotations were posted on the walls of a Hollywood studio and above the entrance of MGM respectively.
    George Cukor was a key figure in the great generation of Hollywood film-makers.
    He received his first Oscar for Wizard of Oz and the second for My Fair Lady.

    William Fox - Hungarian founder of Fox Studios

    Paul Newman - Oscar Winning Actor and philanthropist R.I.P.

    Drew Barrymore - Actress

    Jamie Lee Curtis - Actor/Actress

    Goldie Hawn - Actress

    Johnny Weissmuller - Actor, his most famous role: Tarzan - most Hungarians do look that great in loin cloth!

    Charles Simonyi in the early days

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    Rebuilding the past and Reclaiming History

    by cjg1 Written Jan 12, 2009

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    Much of Budapest is being rebuilt or restored to it's pre-Communism glory. It's nice to see such grown and rebirth of a city. According to our new friend much of the resoration will take decades to complete.

    One facinating project was right by the Palace. They have discovered old wine cellers and are currently planning on making it a wine attraction featuring wines from each region of Hungary. I can't wait for that to be completed.

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    A New Friend

    by cjg1 Written Jan 12, 2009

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    We made a new fiend in Budapest, Istvan. Liz actually first made contact with him through VT. Istvan met us at our hotel and spend all day into the late evening showing us his beautiful city. He was very knowlegable and proud of his wonderful city of Budapest. We were so happy to have met him and see Budapest through his eyes.

    **Our friend requested that his face not be shown in pics so we honored the request by blocking out his face. He is a very private person. **

    Liz & Istvan He is some incredible tour guide

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    Interesting Playgrounds

    by cjg1 Written Jan 3, 2009

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    The playgrounds in Budapest have interesting discs to balance upon. We watched as children balanced on these large pivoting disc and spun around. Liz decided to try it out for herself as Istvan and I watched and laughed. It is not an easy thing to do as Liz soon learned but she had fun regardless.

    Liz and her balancing act (it's not easy)

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    Graffiti Everywhere

    by cjg1 Written Dec 31, 2008

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    Budapest is tied with Buenos Aires in my book for the most amount of Graffiti. It is a shame when buildings, monuments and walls are covered with such signs of disrespect. Hopefully as Budapest continues to be restored and renovated some of this graffiti will be eliminated. It is such a beautifyul city and should be kept that way.

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Budapest Local Customs

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