Welcome to Budapest

 

Welcome to Budapest

Hungary has been a republic since 1989 and member of the European Union since May 1, 2004. Its capital city became Budapest when the three towns on the two sides of the river Danube were joined. The Buda side of the city hosts the Castle hill offering a grand panorama of the city, while the beautiful Parliament and other administrative buildings are located on the Pest side of the Danube.

The population of Hungary is around 10 million in number. Besides the Magyars, a considerable part of the nation is made up of Roma, Slovak, German and Jewish minorities all contributing to the vivid, thus easily adoptable culture of this country. Hungarians are considered hospitable and helpful, especially if help is asked for from those who speak a foreign language, in this case, the younger generation.

Teenagers, people in their twenties and thirties most probably speak some English or German while those speaking Spanish, Italian or French are less in number. Russian and German speaking people are more commonly found amongst the senior citizens.

FOOD & DRINK

Those visiting our country may be aware that all the different cuisines can be found in the capital. Still, the delights of the Hungarian cuisine is something worth to describe here. The traditional Hungarian dishes abound in piquant flavors and aromas. Dishes are flavorful, spicy, – specifically those with paprika (ground red pepper, similar to chili but not the same), — and often rather heavy. Rinsing it with a glass of Hungarian wine may help, though.
For desert you should opt for one of the world-renowned cakes : Dobos, the Somloi sponge cake, the Gerbeaud, the Rigo Jancsi, the Gundel pancake.

Our wines, the Tokaji and the Egri Bikavér (Bull’s Blood of Eger) just to name two, have acquired great reputation all over the globe, while the Unicum and the Vilmoskörte are considered real Hungarian treasures when it comes to drinking pálinka (traditional Hungarian spirit distilled from various fruits).

Eating out will generally take €6 to €15 out of your pocket. Also, leave an adequate tip of 10-15% if you’re satisfied with the service since most restaurants don’t include the service fee in their checks.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

A good advice worth considering when you’re trying to catch a taxi/cab is to call one on the phone as it is cheaper this way (Ex. Budapest Taxi at +36 1 4 333 333 – 0,8€/km), or if getting one on the street watch out for the firm logo on the car. Try not to take one without a logo in case you want to spare yourself from overpaying the ride.
You need a ticket when taking the metro/subway, tram, bus or trolley-bus and you need to punch it when getting on. This except for the subway where you have to validate the ticket a couple of steps before the escalator (orange ticket punchers) and there’s no possibility for this on the train.
Controllers are hard to avoid, have no sense of humor and are usually surrounded by guards. In addition, you can buy a metro section ticket, a transfer ticket, a one-day ticket, tourist ticket etc. (you can check fairs at http://www.bkk.hu/en/prices/). Night busses and trams run throughout the city starting right after the last day-liners of the day that go out at 23:10 CET (check out this service at http://www.bkk.hu/en/timetables/)

DO'S AND DONT'S WITH ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION AND SMOKING

Alcohol and tobacco are sold only to people 18 years of age or over.
Hungarians don’t clink their glasses with beer due to historical reasons.

When invited to someone’s home, buy a bunch of flowers for the lady and a bottle of wine for the gentleman. Ask whether you can light up a cigarette when you are with companion.

The language Hungarian is definitely not one of the easiest languages to learn,
nevertheless, it is very expressive and vivid.
Good morning – Jó reggelt (4,5,6am – 10am)
Good day – Jó napot (10am – sunset)
Good evening – Jó estét (after dark)
Good night – Jó éjszakát (just as in English)
Please – Kérem
Thank you – Köszönöm
Good bye – Viszontlátásra (actually “see you next time”)
Bless you - Egészségedre

THE GAY SCENE AND LIFE

Gay life in Hungary is just like in any other democratic country having medium tolerance amongst the straight. You probably won’t see gays walking hand-in-hand with their partners out on the street, we’re not there yet. Ever since the socialist regime was overturned society has step-by-step accepted homosexuality.
The Gay Pride is held at the end of June or beginning of July every year, a series of events that last one full week and end with the Pride Party. Gay related movies are shown and other cultural programmes are organized the whole week round so if you’re interested log on to http://www.gay.hu or http://www.pride.hu to get a more detailed picture about the Pride in Hungary or any other event on the Scene.

FUN, SPORTS AND BATHS

There are plenty of gay and gay-friendly bars all over Budapest. It sort of a custom to start your night-out in a bar (LeCafe M, Arkadia, Mylord, Voyage) and then hit it to a dance club (Alibi, Action, Capella, CoxX). If you take to even bigger parties, you should check out Pure and Candy! that are held once a month on various locations, or parties like the White Party or Hot Stuff.
Should you be interested in sports, check out the variety offered on this page www.atlaszsport.hu. We have world gay dance champions, internationally awarded badminton players and swimmers to help you integrate and start or continue your training.
As what the baths are concerned, Budapest has inherited its culture from the Turks, given the fact that Hungary used to be under Ottoman rule for 150 years. Budapest is considered as the City of Baths having several original Turkish ones, like the Király, the Rudas, the Rácz, the Széchenyi and the Gellért Bath. These, however, are straight baths. They’re worth going to, no question about it, but gays are only tolerated here. So watch out what you’re doing when visiting them. Also, there are two gay saunas, the Magnum and Sauna 69. Both are clean with nice interior, friendly staff and a variety of services to help you enjoy your stay.

ACCOMODATION

You can find accomodation either in one of the hotels that belong to one of the top international hotel chains or any other quality hotel, hostel or motel, just as you’d do in any other European country. There are enterprises offering pension-type rooms for gays too. For further information check out the recommendations on this page.

SEX

Saunas and bigger clubs have dark rooms. However, as opposed to dark rooms in the US, these dark rooms are really dark. No light, no sunshine, nada but it’s trouble-free, no atrocities have been reported. Here we need to remind you how important it is to use a condom when in there and that the age of consent is 14. WOW! Then again, gays here all know about veneric (sexually transmitted) illnesses and they tend to have safe sex. Still, STI figures have started to climb after a period of stagnation in 2004 and 2005.

CRUISING AREAS

The Dunakorzó, (the Pest side of the Danube embankment between the Chain Bridge and Elisabeth Bridge). From here there is a fantastic view of the Castle Hill, the Fishermen’s Bastion, Mathias Church and the Gellért Monument. Careful though, prostitutes frequent the area. Népliget, which is a huge park. Here too prostitues may be all around but the scenery is awesome from early spring till late fall/autumn.
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