The Commie IKEA of Rákóczi Boulevard

Rákóczi boulevard must definitely be the first glimpse I ever took of Budapest, as it opened up in front of Keleti railway station, rushed towards the mysterious Blaha Lujza square (I tend to get lost in its underpass to this very day), passed Astoria, the hub of my life while studying in the nearby ELTE…

Sailing Through 117 years of Budapest History: The Adria Palace

The Adria Palace (of which I of course did not yet know the name) had been the backdrop to many a mundane undertaking of my Budapest life: I would give it a passing glance on my way to Iguana’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, peer at it aimlessly while queuing at the mobile bathroom during the…

Un(re)touched Christmas

Last time I felt truly ready for Christmas was probably when I was about six, mainly because at that time I did not prepare for it, it just came, and it was lovely. Santa always brought the presents I had asked for, as if he knew me exactly as well as, let’s say, my parents,…

Fainting Chairs and Russian Spies: The Villas of Mátyásföld

The best thing about going on a city walk with a historian is that they will enthusiastically convey anecdotes about the places you’re visiting, throwing in a couple of juicy details for good measure, and then, with a much more matter of fact tone, they will also inform you that your exciting trivia is just…

To Be Or Not To Be A (Wash)Bear: A Visit to the Budakeszi Wildlife Park

One of my favourite books as a child was a beautiful shiny orange hardcover by the Hungarian name of Mosó Masa Mosodája– its alliterative beauty will obviously be lost in a direct English translation, which would be Masha the Raccoon’s Laundrette, but one might alternatively undertake some linguistic acrobatics along the lines of Washy Wooshy’s…

Gardens and Recreation: A Day in Füvészkert

Writing about the cherry blossom festival held annually in ELTE’s Botanical Garden (or Füvészkert in Hungarian) is perhaps not particularly timely, as this year’s event was held on the previous two weekends of April but recommending it without the pictures is somewhat of a Catch 22 situation. Sure enough, we do have pictures from previous…

Best of 2017 Budapest

The third year  must surely signal a tradition, so here are some new additions to the ever growing list of particularly nice Budapest things. (For the previous editions see here: Best of 2015 and Best of 2016.) -I am prone to moaning that it never snows in the city, although in all honesty I dislike both snow and…

Switch House Blues: A Visit to the Kelenföld Power Plant

Visiting the disused switch house of the Kelenföld power station is a pet project for any self-respecting architecture and/or urbanism aficionado in Budapest- the building is normally off limits to the public and has recently been serving as the backdrop of several dystopian films instead. The Contemporary Architecture Centre (KÉK) has however taken the pain…