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When you are travelling in former East Block countries you can always be afraid of worst. However, Budapest was a glad surprise. If Prague is wonderland of architect, Budapest is meant for all of us. I prepared for down fall travelling to east but situation seems to be like wise.

Czech has developed in field of economy better then other East European countries, but that’s it. There are very few other fields of which they can be proud about. The biggest difference between Prague and Budapest is mentality, so I am going to tell few examples about it. I would like to mention in this point that these are generalisations but all five or six Budapest lads that we met intensify these stereotypes to all Hungarians.


You cannot even buy your way to decent service when you’re in Prague. People in service industries are awkward, which leads to communist times when everyone worked for government and did only what they had to. Everything else, like smiling, was unnecessary to make your money. One of my colleges, who is native Czech but has lived in States almost whole life and speaks both languages perfectly, told that he gets even worse service when he uses Czech language. It was very positive experience when waiter in Budapest called me as “sir”. This went along the way during our visit in Budapest. Hungarians are more open and strict, just the way Finns want it. For example one waiter asked if our friend is really sure she’s going to eat food she ordered. Kindness flourished in every meeting we had. When I was really tired and bought gyros from Turkish looking man, who served me really fast and even said, “Have a nice day”. Something that I was not prepared after few months in Prague. So it seems that mentality of Hungarians have also affected to immigrants.

We noticed some sort of kinship between Finns and Hungarians since Finns are so much liked in Hungary. Biggest surprise was in local tourist info where almost all brochures were also in Finnish. They have done this for two years now because there is so many Finnish tourists. Well, we met few but are we really so many. It seems that Finns have been behaved properly in Hungary. I never have had to shame my origin during my trips – but on the contrary. I suppose there has been so much micro level co-operation between Hungary and Finland. I must clarify to our English readers that there is absolutely nothing in common between Hungarian and Finnish language, as some guides claims. Only words I can now understand after my visit are “beer” and “please”.


Budapest itself is really charming city. I shall make some comparison between Prague and Budapest, so you know where to go. In town images biggest difference are trees. Prague is beautiful in architectural way but you cannot find parks elsewhere then from Petrin hill and Strelecky ostrov, as in Budapest parks seem to be in every corner. You could tell that from quality of air. This was partly affected by trolleybuses.

Place absolutely worth visiting were Gellert Hill on the bank of Buda. You can see all Budapest from there. Only proper way to get there is by climbing but you can get closer by tram numbers 47 and 49, which leaves from crossroad of metros, Deak Ter. In front of Gellert there is famous bath, which nowadays too famous and thus priced for tourists. Bathing is something very Hungarian like and that’s why we recommend you to go to Széchenyi bath just on north side of Heroes Square. Less tourists, more locals and fear prises.

Klara Vappen Budapest!

We happened to be in Budapest at May First and saw the celebrations of first year after EU membership, which was very visible in streets of Budapest. I heard that in Prague the biggest happening was communist demonstration, which was ‘disturbed’ by skinheads. In Hungary there was benches from all EU countries from which you could hear music from these countries and weird boxes full of smells from member countries. Well, Finnish bench was silent so we thought we should educate Hungarians, but since smell of Finnish wood was so strong that you could smell it also in the French box, we figured it was enough. Other wise celebrations were quite formal. There were markets going on in the park of Városliget that went through out the day. Political parties had the day. We even saw communist march, although they were quite smaller then Social Democrats had and their members were much elder. So, it seems that communist party in Hungary is past and new generation does not agree with them. Well, there was one boy in communist part of market singing but I doubt that ten-years-old boy knows anything about politics. But you know, sometimes one can still witness this kind of forced propaganda in post-communist states.


Striking in Budapest was the smell of urine. Of course Czechs are famous of urinating to streets but smell of main railway station seems to beet even Czechs. In this matter you can see clear difference between Prague and Budapest. Those who make the urine for our pleasure are mostly homeless and dogs, which in Budapest live in the neighbourhood of main railway station. And although you can see these people who urinates in main railway station of Prague, most of them are oust by police. We could notice much more homeless in Budapest then in Prague. But the attitude toward urine was quite different in Budapest then in Prague. We had the chance to witness why the streets of Budapest are sometimes wet even if the sky is clear. One local grammy was wetting the street with watering can and whipped the rest away with her broom. At first I thought there was some shops that wanted to keep their best sides clean but soon I noticed there were no shops and it was just the old grammy who was cleaning her own yard. In Prague urine tend to stay even in front of shops. I hope that this very concrete example helps you to understand the mental difference between Czech and Hungarian. Czech has developed fast if you just look statistics but Hungary will beat Czech soon because common attitude of people is much more healthier ground.

Fine Wine

One more thing, I cannot be with out mentioning the fine wines in Hungary. Well, we all know that Czechs can make beer but who would have figured that Hungarians are the best wine makers. Even French wines taste like buttermilk after you have tasted Hungarian wines. I especially recommend muskotaly wines and one called Villanyi Portuguese. These are really worth drinking. If you really want to get to know what local wines taste like go to a wine cellar that local use and where they don’t serve wine in bottles.

Some pictures