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What are the best things about Budapest to show out of town family?

Hi all,
My cousin and his wife are coming to Budapest for a few days this weekend.
I have not seen him since I was 3 years old!!
Talk about long time between visits!!
Besides taking them to the city park and for a walk on Vaci Utca, the castle area. where else not too far out of the city would you recommend ?
I have a feeling they are religious as they are heading to Poland after Budapest for the big event in Krakow.
They are into Opera and such so any "high brow" ideas are a plus, not my sort of thing so any suggestions would be great.
Has anyone gone to those Hungarian style concerts with folk dancers?Are they worth the time and money to go to?

Marilyn Tassy :

Has anyone gone to those Hungarian style concerts with folk dancers?Are they worth the time and money to go to?

Going to a Hungarian folksy event can be a lot of fun for the music and food. But one must already like that type of entertainment. If you like a good oldie styled USA bluegrass jam session, BBQ and hoedown, then go to the Hungarian version. If not, then don't.

Folk dancing really seems to be a significant part of folk culture in Hungary. My wife often goes folk dancing. It is a participatory event. Just watching it.... I frankly find rather boring.

I suppose I should ask them in person before getting a res. anywhere.
I like watching professional dancers, maybe because my father and grandfather used to dance those fast Ukrainian style
dances in my youth,remember watching them.
My dad was a semi-pro figure skater pre WW11, did a short gig at Madison Square Gardens when he was 19 or 20 with Sonia Henning .
I read her bio, she liked to perform with much younger handsome young men, she was a cougar before it was a fad!
I love watching people do what they love and doing it well, no matter what really.

Not really sure about the age group you are looking for or interests -- you mention religion and Opera, for example.
I, personally, wouldn't want to miss the Bp Opera House. It is fantastic, gorgeous, and professional. I've only seen 2 shows there, but both were memorable. And I'm not an opera person either, but don't deny yourself this luxury if there is something there that might interest you. It's extremely affordable too!
There's also the Terror Museum, Heroes' Square, lots of good food and drink, Szimplakert for beer if they want to try the Ruin Bar themes, and the spas...

I've never watched nor had a desire to watch the traditional Hungarian dancers; I think those are really tourist traps. But hey, if you like it, then go!

Otherwise, some links may help along with some Google searches....
(Just typing "events in budapest" will give you a Google list of events in your browser.

http://visitbudapest.travel/budapest-events/
http://eventful.com/budapest/events
http://www.budapest.com/things_to_do/bu … ts.en.html
http://www.budapesteventsguide.com/

Good luck!!

Thanks for the ideas.
My cousin is a very active 70 or so year old.
Just a bit strange because I have not seen him since I was a baby of 3!
If he is anything like his mom though, he will be open to almost anything.
He seems a bit "posh" but then again, he may find a ruin bar experience interesting.
He mentioned he likes red wine and beer, so he can't be all that "posh"!Anyone who likes red wine is ok with me!

Marilyn Tassy :

He mentioned he likes red wine and beer, so he can't be all that "posh"

Hard call to say he is "posh" or not.

Red wine drinkers are the most diverse. They go from lovers of Merlot wine in a box, to those that look down on you if you do not give them a glass of Romanée-Conti Pinot noir.

And there is quite a micro-brewery craze on going in the USA at the moment.

Well, my poor cuz will have to settle for something in the middle of the price ranges at our house, I go for quantity with limited quality, for now. If my lotto tickets ever come through, I may try sometime on the "Top" shelf!
I could tell him it's totally BYO at our house...

Marilyn Tassy :

Well, my poor cuz will have to settle for something in the middle of the price ranges at our house

FWIIW, based on price alone, $20 (i.e. 5,000 HUF) is about the price point where you can be pretty sure it is a really, really good wine even if you do not know the wine. That is true in the USA or in Europe. Anything less *might* indeed be a really, really good wine as well (I have known some excellent $10 bottles), but one has to really search for them. Anything much over $20 is mostly just snob factor since the wine's quality does not usually increase linearly with price. When you get to about $100 you start then to notice some improvement, but quite frankly, only real wine snobs would notice or care at that point.

Here's a blog from some kids who "blundered through Europe", including Budapest.
http://wevemadeahugemistake.com/categor … /budapest/

They also mention some bars that are making the most of the craft beer craze.

Now that I know your cousin's age, I really do think the Terror Museum might be of interest and I'd look into the Opera even more.
You don't have to do a full opera -- try a mini concert!
http://www.operavisit.hu/?lang=en

http://www.operavisit.hu/mini-concerts/?lang=en
(690 Forints for 2 arias is a bargain!)

For the wine enthusiast:
http://budapestwinetasting.com/

Again, good luck!

Thanks for the price point tips, guess we may just go for some suds...
No, we plan on serving some palinka first, a nice welcome to Hungary spirit, that may just do them in.
My husband is not a drinker at all, I almost have to force him to take a half glass of wine with dinner.
My sister used to be a "player" in her youth before her untimely death.
She pretty much wouldn't go out with anyone unless they took her to dinner at a 5 star place in LA.
She actually made notes in a book about who was a good date and who was only good for "other" activities,
Gosh, miss her a ton, the one person on earth who could really get under my husband's skin, being a "proper" married lady, I must watch the family budget, she had no limits.
I swear if the date didn't cost at least $400. back in the mid 1980's then it was never going to happen again.
I really do not know wines much, only really started drinking anything much after moving to Hungary.
My FIL's stash of homemade hootch got me started.
In any case, the last thing I really want to do with a family reunion is start out with everyone drunk and crazy.
I actually want my cousin to remember his time in Hungary.

When I want to enjoy a Hungarian table wine (these are the wines to drink without regard to food pairing), then I try the wines I generally can't get elsewhere. Things like Tokaj wines (and for a "Hungarian Port", try Tokaji Aszu - 4 or 5 pontos, depending on your budget, but no need for 6 pontos), Kekfrankos and the Bikaver wines from Eger and Szekszard, and the Cabernet Franc from Szekszard and Villany.

I wouldn't spend more than 3000 HUF on any bottle, personally, but taste buds vary.  Often I buy wines for everyday drinking that are in the 1000 HUF range.

Tokaj: White wines, Furmint grapes, sweet wines
Pécs: mainly whites. Traditional variety: Cirfandli.
Szekszárd: full-bodied reds, with a bit of spice. Famous wine: Szekszárdi Bikavér. ...
Villány: robust, full-bodied, spicy reds. Main varieties: Blauer Portugieser, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and occasionally Pinot Noir.

Vicces1 :

I wouldn't spend more than 3000 HUF on any bottle, personally, but taste buds vary.  Often I buy wines for everyday drinking that are in the 1000 HUF range.

Actually, the olfactory bulbs are more discerning and dynamic when enjoying a wine than taste buds. But I get your point.

While I do find California "2 buck chuck" actually pretty good, especially at its price range, I am less than impressed by wines here in that price range. Meanwhile, and iMHO, there really are some stellar wines above 3,000 HUF in Hungary that are worth a splurge once in a while. They really do have characteristics not usually found in cheaper wines.

Sad to say the 2 buck Chuck is now $3.
Last trip to Trader Joe's...
It is a great wine for the price still.
Get spoiled in Vegas, since my husband doesn't really drink or "get it" about wines and liquors I would just order my faves from a Newcastle beer to a glass of top shelf booze while playing in Vegas, well worth keeping the waitress happy with tips, once you tip them, they always come back.

Marilyn Tassy :

Sad to say the 2 buck Chuck is now $3.

Yep. That is why I put the name in quotes.  ;)

A pity I do not live near Budapest. Else I would just give a bottle of 2HA Shiraz for you to have welcomed your cousin.

Vicces1 :

For the wine enthusiast:
http://budapestwinetasting.com/

IMHO, a tourist trap that only highlights the big or well known producers. If one is a wine neophyte, this is not actually bad. You can get an overall impression of Hungarian wines.

But the real wine enthusiast would tour the 22 wine regions directly and actually talk to the wine makers at their cellars -- which is actually surprising easy to do in Hungary --  not just to a tourist guide.

klsallee :
Vicces1 :

For the wine enthusiast:
http://budapestwinetasting.com/

IMHO, a tourist trap that only highlights the big or well known producers. If one is a wine neophyte, this is not actually bad. You can get an overall impression of Hungarian wines.

But the real wine enthusiast would tour the 22 wine regions directly and actually talk to the wine makers at their cellars -- which is actually surprising easy to do in Hungary --  not just to a tourist guide.

Agreed, but I was shooting for convenience with the ability to ask questions.
One could easily spend a month doing nothing but touring and tasting the wine regions of Hungary. Didn't one of our fellow contributors who lives in the South, say she was doing just that in another post?

Marilyn,
I thought of another unique thing.... Istvan's holy right hand!
http://en.bazilika.biz/history-of-the-h … holy-right

Nothing like a sacred desiccated limb to really perk up a tour.
:)

Vicces1 :

One could easily spend a month doing nothing but touring and tasting the wine regions of Hungary.

It is much easier than that. There are day tours. Bike tours. Weekend tours. Etc. etc. etc. Either planned or self guided. There are Apps that list wineries in Hungary (and then while in the same region, simply visit smaller wineries not listed in the App).

My point is simply this: it really is easy to do on site wine tasting in Hungary.

Yes, I've seen the "Holy Hand" a few times over the years, really doesn't do it for me.
Also saw the Head of some General's wife on display in Mathias Church, creepy, might be great for a Halloween night!
Picked up some nice Polish,( We are Poles, sort of) Vodka and a few bottles of Hungarian Bulls Blood wine, don't think we can go too wrong with these.
Making a little welcome lunch spread for them, see what happens, got 3 to 4 days with them, will meet them at the station in the afternoon and help them check in. then anything can happen!
If all goes down the WC, at least I know it will be another 58 years between visits, guess our next get together  will be on the dark side of the moon!
Dang could use a bit more then wine right about now....

Marilyn Tassy :

Yes, I've seen the "Holy Hand" a few times over the years, really doesn't do it for me.
Also saw the Head of some General's wife on display in Mathias Church, creepy, might be great for a Halloween night!

FWIIW: Maybe it is an American versus European thing, or an over 40 under 40 issue, or a personal issue, but old body parts on display in Europe (usually as a Catholic relic) really kind of personally creep me out.


Marilyn Tassy :

Dang could use a bit more then wine right about now....

There is a saying**: When having guests, alway pick out two bottles of wine. One for the guests for their visit, and one, later, for the host/hostess.....

** Actually, I just made that up***, but I like it, and am making it now a permanent life plan.

*** But of course: Nil dictum quod non dictum prius.****, Translation: "Nothing has been said that has not been said before."

**** Omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina.

Further translation: "everything sounds more impressive when said in Latin";
A more common phrase with the same meaning is "quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur"

Old body parts that are offensive to see. first I thought you meant the view from the strands!!!
Yes, old rotten Holy Hands etc. are a bit much.
I like the idea of keeping a bit of wine for after the guests leave, I always cover myself , an ex Girl Scout after all, always prepared !
They are arriving today so wish me luck!!

Cousin and his lovely wife have been put on a bus heading to Poland this morning.
Had  wonderful time with them both.
In "recovery" mode ATM, late night dinner and yes, lots of red wine, up at 4 am to get them headed to the station to catch their bus to Poland.
I hope they had a great time here, it was a very hot weekend to be running around but we did it.
Took them all over Budapest, let them do a river tour by themselves one night, we needed to rest and thought it would be more romantic for them if we let them go off on a cruise by themselves.
sadly, we probably could of gone with since it wasn't as romantic as one would think, so many tourists crowded on the boat, people with families taking cuts in line.
Was interesting to see my long lost cuz, he has a habit of telling jerks off, just like I do, guess that is a family trait!
One thing however which must also be a family trait, is my cuz is "well heeled" but no bodies fool,
I may not be well heeled but I try to watch for scammers.
Went into the Opera house to see about a quick tour, when they told him it would be 500 extra forints to take photos, he just thought that was greedy, he could afford it but that was the straw to break the camels back,so many hidden little fees, who wouldn't want to take photos, why not just raise the entry fee and not nit-pick every move one makes.
My cuz almost got arrested by the subway ticket agent, very exciting, I warned him if one hangs with me they had better be ready for something insane to happen.
Just a mix up with the ticket machine, took cash, then wouldn't take it then asked for a credit card 2 tickets came out of the machine and he stamped them both without double checking, one was just a receipt and one was the ticket, I had my own ticket and my husband travels for free ( a perk of being old) The ticket agent walked away in the middle of trying to write out a ticket for my cousin, my husband was trying to fix it telling him their machines s*** it going back and forth with a young ticket agent "translator helper" he walked away to give another tourist couple a violation ticket and I just told my cuz to "scram" we walked out while my husband stayed behind to explain.
I am a bad example but now I can say I got into trouble with my cousin, as all cousin's should.The agent held my husband , husband pushed his hands off of him and the agent threatened to punch my husband in the head.The young translator came over and told the idiot worker that the man was not my husband at all.
Worked out ok, believe me my cuz spent enough money in HU and the rude behavior of the transport worker was not worth ruining his trip over.
I later found out from his wife that my cuz suffers some PTSD from 1969 in Vietnam, he never leaves a man behind, I almost had to drag him off the subway car, he didn't want to leave my husband behind, all worked out well but what a crazy thing. My cuz is over 65 years old, I think it is just not right to mess with senior citizens by trying to physically assault them over a 350 forint ticket, I know many people in HU try to ride for free but tourists will pay on the spot for a ticket if they find out they had made an honest mistake. They see them as an easy target, people are not coming to HU and spending thousands of bucks to ride a subway car for free, just think they should be more understanding with tourists and not try to bully them.
I have issues with the BKK long running hatred for their system but glad it didn't explode into an international affair.
They were after just about everyone on the line, they must know their machines need repair no one to explain how things work and they just come around and pounce on tourists. Not good for the tourist trade for word to get around about rude agents, non working machines and threats of a beat down.

After the near international incident, we took a taxi, the next day we bought a book of transport tickets from a life agent.
Do not think I will be using the BKK any time in the near future.
Again, I personally think the rough neck enforcers that work as inspectors should have some checks and balances.
Most shouldn't be allowed out in public.
I know some locals try to ride for free but in all honesty how many tourists would try to ride for free? Not many , most have made a mistake of some sort and the BKK and it's agents can not be dealt with in a normal manner, they will not listen to reason or even give one a chance to explain the situation.
I would run again if I had to, hope not to make any further mistakes with their lamo system however.Better yet, just stay away from them, walking is one of the best exercises, so it is said.
Just not logical to think a tourist would be spending thousands on airfare, hotel, overpriced food and drinks and then try to save a dollar by not paying for a ride.
Not a very nice way to promote travel to Hungary by threatening to beat the heck out of tourists and old people.

Marilyn Tassy :

let them do a river tour by themselves one night, we needed to rest and thought it would be more romantic for them if we let them go off on a cruise by themselves.

During a conference my, at that time future, wife and I both attended in Hungary, this was one of our first dates (was part of the conference tour, but still kind of a date).

Marilyn Tassy :

Went into the Opera house to see about a quick tour, when they told him it would be 500 extra forints to take photos,

The last time I was in Vienna, the Opera house was projecting the opera playing inside the Opera House on a large screen outside. They even set up benches for people to sit on and watch the production on the screen. I actually watched the opera for about an hour, and I am not opera fan. Good PR. Smart.

Hungary really does take the "budget airline" mentality asking for fees for every little thing. It always did, but it has indeed gotten worse recently.

Marilyn Tassy :

They were after just about everyone on the line, they must know their machines need repair no one to explain how things work and they just come around and pounce on tourists. Not good for the tourist trade for word to get around about rude agents, non working machines and threats of a beat down.

I have only used the Budapest subway three times. And each time I was checked for a valid ticket. I have used the Vienna subway dozens of times and have been only checked once. I always felt like I was constantly put under a pat down in Budapest. As Budapest and Vienna are about equal in travel time for me to visit, and because of BKK and other issues, I honestly prefer going to Vienna.

Now that it is tourist season, so I would expect BKK to be even more aggressive since there will be more people (i.e. tourists) making mistakes. And those fines mean income for BKK. And being money eager, at the determent of other issues, is too often a common condition in Hungary. As long as tourist numbers increase, I doubt anything will change.

You are right about the hitting under the belt style of the BKK.
Guess I am turning more "local" then I thought, telling my cuz to scram, I followed to block the way if he was chased after, so lame, he is and was willing to pay cash for his ticket on the spot because of his mistake, we felt so badly, we should of doubled checked his ticket before getting on but couldn't believe anything would go that wrong.
In some ways it is funny now that it is over with, the BKK formally the BKV still owes me one more "freebie" at least.I do not forget a misuse of power.
Still reeling from my capture and verbal assault 5 years ago with that "racket".

Personally, I am pretty easy going, but if someone working in that capacity threatened to punch me in the head, I would probably take an immediate protocol with their supervisor and file a police report. Maybe this person is a con and not even working for BKK. But if he is, I would indeed consider making such a public mark on record. Maybe even report it to the US Embassy (they can do zero, but they do track such things for statistical purposes and alerts).

I would file a report, think my husband just wants to forget it,which doesn't solve further problems for others I know.
We flied a formal complaint 5 years ago with BKV and with a consumer agency here in Budapest.
Nothing happened but a letter from then BKV saying if you pay and then complain then you have omitted you are guilty!?
If you don't pay on the spot then they get even more nasty with you, have to go to court etc. Such a scam run freely by the corp.

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