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Monthly Archives: December 2014


There appears to be lots of statues in Budapest …

The bronze sculpture of a military man (or policeman ?) below is located two blocks behind our hotel – the first one we saw which sparked us looking at many more we encountered later throughout the city. Every tourist who passes cannot resist taking a picture standing next to this life-size statute.


Budapest seems to have a lot of sculptures on its streets. Or at least they are highly visible to pedestrians. Certainly more than New York or London.


Nor are they hidden in a park or placed on a pedestal (some are).
statues-3Many of them are mingling with pedestrians in the street and being lit up at night.


This lion is one of four which are placed at the ends of the famous chain bridge (Széchenyi lánchíd) spanning the Danube, two on each side.

statues-10Not sure who they are and what they did.

statues-11… but there must be a story behind them

statues-8Among those that we saw, some are very modern and effective.

statues-6All straight lines and right angles (above) versus all curves (below).

statues-4“Hey, come over !”


There are so many of them at different locations and they are of such diverse styles. It is a very rich source of photographic materials.  Someone must have made (if not, someone should make) a coffee-table book of all the urban sculptures in Budapest.

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Írók Boltja (Writers’ Bookshop) is located on the busy corner of Andrássy street No. 45 and Liszt Ferenc square. It is just down the street from the gigantic Alexandra (see later post).

The store is special because it has a history of more than a hundred years, always connected to writers and poets, and played a cultural role in the city.

irok-9 .


Originally a café (Café Japan), it functioned from the 1890s as a legendary gathering place for writers and intellectuals until it was transformed into a bookshop in the 1950s.


It now has a mezzanine floor where gatherings, book-signings, and talks can be held.


Literary figures are known to visit regularly, along with readers, authors, publishers, and occasionally Hungarian-challenged tourists like us drop in to look around.


The bookstore stocks mostly classical and contemporary Hungarian literary works, and some translations in English and other European languages.


Next door to it is a small shop that sells some touristy books and music, including sheet music. Here, we bought IT a small Christmas gift – which is a reprint of the first edition of the 1849 album-leaves by Ferenc Liszt for Princess Marie von Sayn-Wittgenstein (Emléklapok Marie von Sayn-Wittgenstein hercegkisasszony számára). It was auctioned in 1926, passed through the hands of several private collectors and published for the first time in 2000.


If you are curious about Hungarian books, their online store is here.

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We ate our first dinner here by ourselves after Chris’s conference ended. It was Halloween weekend.

The bistro is located at the corner of Nagymező Street and Király Street, a block or so from Andrássy út in the center of Budapest.


We avoided a whole line of clearly touristy establishments on Liszt Ferenc tér (friendly host offering English menu, similar dishes with similar prices) and quickly ran into this place.


It was rather early when we first arrived. But it quickly turned into a lively place full of people having a bite before going out on a Friday night.



The place is converted from a concrete printing house with an interesting multi-level layout.


On weekends, it hosts bands and DJs.


The printing house had a red floor, hence the name Bordó meaning claret.



Great ambiance but the food is not its forté. Nor did we expect it. It was priced fairly.

bordo-2Glad to have come across this place. We think someone should compile a short list of such non-touristy restaurants which are located in the touristy areas of major cities.



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After my (Chris) business meetings, we stayed behind and spent a weekend in Budapest.

We were strolling through downtown Budapest on Halloween Friday night and came across this high-end fashion department store  – il Bacio di Stile.


The store was throwing a Halloween party – Spooky Friday – and would open till 10pm. Not a word of Hungarian on this poster.


Perhaps we should not be so surprised by the global reach of American culture. After all, vampires and Count Dracula lived just next door in Transylvania – which was a part of Hungary, and is now in Romania.



On the sidewalk, … loungy-clubby music, flashing lights, and warm spiced wine served by costumed employees to passers-by…


il Bacio di Stile is located on the main shopping street – Andrássy út – which is the Champs-Élysées of Budapest – the city itself sometimes referred to as the Paris of the East – considering that in the pre-World War II era, Eastern European capitals are just as rich and glamorous.


This store is a clone of Barneys in NYC, a tad bigger than Louis in Boston but smaller than Harvey Nichols or Le Bon Marché.


The pale color of the atrium reminded me of Le Bon Marché (see our post here about Les Grands Magasins.)




Since it sells only designer clothes, adopting an Italian name meaning “Kiss of Style” definitely helps its image.



The night was young, although it was dark outside. The shop was practically empty – all the party-goers were still getting ready with their costume.



The DJ was working hard … trying to get our attention …


The walkways across the atrium make great people-watching spots.


A few tall skinny girls, probably models, were circling the entrance as we were leaving. It would have been interesting to see the people in costumes but by that time, we wanted dinner.


Happy Halloween !

The store’s web site is here:




In October, I(Chris) attended a business conference in Budapest at the Four Seasons Hotel. Sue joined me and we stayed for a couple of extra days to see the city. Neither one of us has been to Hungary before.



The meetings were held in this historical Art Nouveau building in the center of Budapest.  It is located along the River Danube, adjacent to Széchenyi Square and the eastern terminus of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.


According to the hotel’s web site:

In 2004, after a five-year $110-million restoration, the Hotel was unveiled. Some of the Hotel’s outstanding features are a two million-piece mosaic tile floor, a grand, sweeping staircase, stained-glass floors, and a wrought iron elevator that have each been lovingly restored or replicated when preservation wasn’t possible. In the process of reconstruction, the Hotel was also completely modernized, adding amenities like an indoor lap pool, spa, fitness facilities and all the latest internet and entertainment equipment.

gresham-13 .


One end of the “arcade”-like lobby area is used as a cafe.


The mosaic floor is beautiful and kept spotless. There is an art nouveau floral pattern that is used on all the floor coverings.



The stained glass ceiling, skylight and sculpture in the lobby was stunning at dusk – the cool residual winter sunligh mixing the warmer interior lights.



Our room was unremarkable compared to the lobby and the exterior.


The indoor lap pool and gym are located on the “attic” floor under a sloping roof, accessible via a set of glass stairs (à la Apple store).




This is indeed a beautifully renovated hotel with a central convenient location. One of the best places to stay while visiting Budapest.



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These are the photos I (Chris) took and posted on Facebook. The series was started in March of 2013. There is no theme – just something random and visually interesting. We gave each a title and noted where it was taken (to the extent we could remember the city).

random photo #126 – repossessed – Murten



random photo #127 – warmth – Amsterdam



random photo #128 – skeleton – Las Vegas



random photo #129 – pups – Lyon



random photo #130 – bells & chimneys – Murten


If you are interested to see other Random Photos, click on the random tag on the left.

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