Budapest – I love you – Observations

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Being here for a couple of weeks certainly doesn’t make me an expert on Budapest, but these are my first impressions of this beautiful city that I have fallen in love with.

  1. The architecture, especially the Art Nouveau buildings is stunning! The views from Buda Castle are unlike any city views I have ever experienced.   Seeing the Parliament Building and the beautiful Danube River from Buda Castle was breathtaking.
  2. Cost of visiting here? Short term rental property via Home Away or Airbnb is very reasonable.  Lunch is a really incredibly good deal.  A lot of restaurants have special soup/main course prices of 1000 ($3.60) HUF to 1250HUF.  Clothes seem to cost the same as in the U.S. or the rest of Europe.
  3. Peanut Butter – how can a nation survive without it? Found some finally!
  4. Meat – it’s the thing here – chicken, pork, and beef. And, of course paprika – finest in the world.
  5. Body Size – There are not the extremes here as far as body size that you see in the U.S. You don’t see many overweight people, and likewise, not many anorexic people either.  Everyone seems to maintain a healthy weight.
  6. Metro system –   Clay and I bought a 30-day pass for about $33 each.  The Metro bus pass covers the trams, buses, and subway lines.  Our favorite is the bus.  You get to see the city better than being in the underground Metro.  Of course, if time is of importance, we take the subway.
  7. Hungarian history – Have learned that it is very complex. Relentless invasions and occupations have occurred here from the Mongols, the Turks, the Germans, and the Russians.  I have lots of admiration of the Hungarian people for their resilience.
  8. I have observed that many Hungarians drive fast and aggressively; therefore, be very careful when walking. But, on the other hand, people will flash their lights at you to cross in front of them.  Regardless, it certainly doesn’t hurt to look, look, look when crossing the streets at crosswalks.
  9. Big department stores or grocery stores?   Smaller, more personal shopping experiences.
  10. Credit cards – some stores don’t take them, even big restaurants or in the mall and other places where it would be no question in the U.S. Always take enough cash to cover your trip, or check online first!
  11. English – I think some of the tour books overreact to the lack of people who speak English. Of course there are people that do not speak English, but in general we have not had a problem with our VERY limited ability to speak Hungarian.  Smiles go a long way!
  12. Wine? Had no clue that Hungarian wine was so good.  We plan on taking a day trip to wine country before we leave.
  13. Butter? – We have not seen butter served with bread here. You can ask for it, but twice we were told – no butter so we stopped asking.
  14. Soup? – I have much in common with the Hungarian people.  I love soup and eat a lot of it too like the Hungarian people do.
  15. Personal space – Americans tend to expect more personal space than Hungarians. Certainly not a problem for me, but just an observation when walking around town.
  16. Dogs – not sure about this one, but I have observed that there are not many dogs in Budapest. Don’t see dogs like you do in Austin, or some other European cities especially in France.  Not sure why?
  17. Hats – Being from Alabama where my Mama told me to stay out of the sun, I grew up thinking hats were a good thing.  Living in Texas that notion was reinforced with the relentless Texas sun especially in the summer.  Here in Budapest I do not see a lot of other folks with hats on.  I would not expect them to understand my sunscreen either.
  18.  Crime.  One pleasant surprise is how safe I have felt in Budapest over the past month.  Out of curiosity I googled crime rate and sure enough, my feelings were justified.  The crime rate here is low, and murder rates very low.  I wondered what kind of gun laws Hungary has, and no surprise here…..very, very strict gun laws.  I felt even better after reading that because while I am walking around there are very few guns.
Budapest – I love you – Observations

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