Garden City of the Octopus People: A Walk in Wekerletelep

Having explored the villas of Mátyásföld a couple of weeks back, we decided it was now time to investigate another leafy peculiarity of the city: Wekerletelep, lying in district XIX, and easily accessible from the blue metro’s Határ út station. Provided the metro is running, which on the weekends it is not, so we ambled around…

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…

Safe as Houses- The 2018 Edition of Budapest 100

  The main disclaimer to our Budapest 100 experience this year is that, no surprise here, we were lazy. Not to go, of course, but to register for the events which had a fixed schedule, and this obviously included some of the fancier houses, such as as the Magda courtyard in Mátyás square and the Gutenberg…

Fading Beauty: In Search of Secession in Újlipótváros

It takes special talent to go on a city walk on one of the coldest mornings of the winter, or, to highlight my gifts even more, on the only truly freezing weekend morning of the entire season. Nevertheless, I managed to embark on the adventure with little to no regrets: perhaps I could have taken…

Sunlight through the Snowstorm: Vienna’s Kirche am Steinhof

I have often sung the praise of the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s concert (Neujahrskonzert der Wiener Philharmoniker, a little gratuitous German never hurt anyone), which might seem odd for someone who is otherwise rather unattuned to classical music. Waltzes are however an exception, melodic and lightweight enough for the silly, familiar from Tom and Jerry…

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…

A Glimpse into the Hidden Budapest

One of my most frequent compulsions when walking the streets of Budapest is stealing a furtive glance into the inner courtyards of the houses when an unsuspecting inhabitant is going in, perhaps lingering a few seconds to hoist a shopping bag or lead a reluctant mutt over the threshold. Every now and then, I glimpse…

Vienna Beyond Christmas

I have already entertained people with the ‘arrival in Hauptbahnhof’ drama this summer, but there is no escape from it yet, for this was the first time it was actually inflicted on me. Objectively though there’s nothing wrong with disembarking in Vienna’s shiny new central station: metro line 1 takes you to the very centre…