I know this blog is supposed to be about Denmark, but I am not quite done with Hungary yet so bear with me.
The place we stayed in Budapest deserves a mention for its self proclaimed ‘very special atmosphere’. If you ever want to live out some kind of Miss Havisham role play in once opulent but increasingly derelict surrounds then Budapest is the place for it. The inner city is dominated by very distinctive four to five storey apartment buildings with balconies wrapping around an internal courtyard. The details and fittings are incredible, although sadly you get the feeling they could do with more maintenance. It was also unclear how anyone ever changes a light bulb in them, because the ceilings must have been about five metres high…
Our place was in Erzsébetváros, or the seventh district of Budapest. The area is named after Sisi, aka Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who had a pretty fascinating and intense life. She is much beloved in Hungary, and now also by us.
It was previously the Jewish quarter, so has a pretty terrible recent history, but is now being redeveloped, partly as a result of the ruin pubs. It’s the focus of Budapest’s emerging street art scene – Bjela runs a tour around the area (again, highly recommended), so we learned a lot about the works.
I think my favourite was the one about Holló Jankó, maybe because it also has a suitably odd folk story behind it. As an interesting aside, in Hungary you say peoples’ surnames before their first names, so Holló Jankó in English translates to Janko Raven. Upon hearing this story, I think Ant was most impressed that Holló Jankó rejected the King’s daughter in favour of more gold… clazzic Ant.