Saturday, 7 November 2009

Szervusztok a Budapesti ...

... or 'Hello from the capital of Hungarialand'.

Everything's been pretty groovy so far. One of Stelios' planes took us from the South of England in the company of a group of bodybuilders, a stag party all dressed in kilts and Hawaiian shirts apart from the groom who was in drag, and a quaint group of about 10 Hare Krishna cult followers. You used to see a lot of them, the Krishna botherers, skipping about in a procession down the street, banging tambourines and chanting - especially in the Seventies, I seem to recall - but you just don't see them nowadays. They seemed oddly old-fashioned.

The flight took a couple of hours and we landed mid-afternoon. It was grey and drizzly but not very much colder than home. The clinic sent a car to pick us up and take us to the apartment which is slap-bang in the centre of the city, about 3 minutes walk from the Danube.

The apartment block at 10 Joszef Attila utca ('utca' means street in Hungarian)

The apartment block is arranged around a courtyard. The front of the building is quite imposing, and the courtyard inside is a bit surprising because, at first sight, it seems somewhat shabby and rundown. This is, however, very common here. There's a small outdoor lift that takes you up to the fourth floor.

But, let me tell you, the apartment itself is like a palace. Almost. Well, all the rooms are bigger than mine at home. Even the bathroom is bigger than my bedroom.

Big kitchen/diner with hand-built units

Sitting room which has a 3-seater and a 2-seater sofa plus a double sofa bed. This place can sleep 6 comfortably.

Fully tiled bathroom with power shower.

The smaller of the 2 bedrooms which I'm using. This is still a queen-size bed, mind.

The master bedroom.

It was dark when we first arrived, but the view from the bathroom window was of nearby St Stefan's Basilica, all lit up. This is quite a grand church but the best thing about it is that it has St Stefan's mummified hand on display in a glass case. And yes, of course I'll get you all a photo.

Today was our first full day so we walked until my feet wanted to strangle me, which would have been interesting to see. We wandered down the 'walking streets' (i.e., pedestrianised streets) around Vorosmarty Ter which had lots of lovely shops, but the best one of all was dedicated solely to Christmas decorations - utterly fabulous [The shop's called 'Philanthia' and it's down Vaci utca]. If you want a 'fairy' for the top of your christmas tree in the form of a jersey cow in a meringue ballgown, this is the place for you. I was very taken with the fat green fairy and may bring one of them home with me ...

Just inside the front door. It smelled lovely as they were burning apple and cinnamon candles, and playing birdsong.

A tree full of imps, elves and fairies

I don't know whether these are tomato or orange elves but I just loved their curly hats and curly shoes.

The rather fabulous/alarming cow fairies. Note the human hands.....

Totally adorable fat green fairy. I think she's coming home with me...[She didn't come home with me as, gorgeous as she was, at 19,500 HUF she was ridiculously overpriced. That's £54. I know. I went back and checked the price on 3 separate occasions to make sure I hadn't added a 0 by mistake. I hadn't. And she stayed in the shop]

I wanted to post more pictures today showing the interesting architecture but it's taken me hours just to write this, so tomorrow, my lovelies....


Anonymous said...

I am totally addicted to buying christmas decorations. Jason goes mad and has vetoed me having any this year due to lack of tree space. I envy your green fairy. She is delicious. I love the tomatoey ones too. They look suitably naughty and not cutesy at all.

Frances said...

It is so good of you to post these pictures and words, too, from Budapest. I may have mentioned that I do have a dear Hungarian friend, and I am looking forward to asking her about all these Christmas decorations.

Over here in New York, we are alarmed to see the shops jumping to Christmas so early. Usually we do wait until late November. Is this also a bit early for Hungary?

Yes, that green fairy should come home with you.

May I also send best wishes to your mom? Well, of course!