Pests in Buda

December 13, 2015 9:50pm Published by Jules Smith in The Art Philosopher 14 Comments

It was my best mates birthday and instead of going to the pub like we normally would’ve, we decided to go to Budapest.   Now, I’m not going to give you a history lesson on Hungary because if you want that you can go and look it up on Wikipedia. I’m going to give you my account of it over a 4 day period: the essence, the feel and the soulful experience, mostly by way of photography.  

Let’s start with my arrival.  Booked this holiday on a budget.  Flight from London and back including an 4* Boutique Hotel in the centre for just £136.00.  BARGAIN! 
IMG_0558The hotel was marvellous.  The bar was very easy to find and I made a point of making friends with the barman and getting myself a Vodka Martini.  Always make good friends with the staff – it makes for a better experience.  Thing is about Hungarians ( and can I just say that many of them are called Attila – not kidding) is that they are the nicest people I have met. They speak impeccable English and want you to be happy in their country.  Before this visit I always thought that Americans were the most friendly and accommodating to visitors but these folks are pipping you at the post guys!  You need to up your game.  Seriously, even when I was on the street in search of a monument or such and looking at my map in that “DUH” kind of way and giving up, it would go like this:

“Err…scuse me mate, can you tell me where vsxyhhessdtuu…vsxyhd…oh sod it, I’m lost.  How do I get here, to this street?”

“Oh lovely to meet you.  My name is Attila.  And yours?”

“Jules” (never fall for friendliness – it’s a psychopaths go to)

“Jules, welcome to Budapest!”


“Are you enjoying our country?”

“Spanking.  Are you on any medication?”

“Ha ha! I love English people (yeah right, not something you hear too often) have you tried our local delicacies?”

“Is that a euphemism?  Where’s the street, mate?”

“Have you tried Palinka?”

“Oh yes.  The barman went on a ‘let me give you several free samples’ tack and that’s why my dulcet tones have died and I now sound like an old biddy straining for her last breath on a life support machine.”

“Good, yes?”

“It’s grappa my friend and would make an excellent foot rub.”

However, I like to get into the culture and went head first into their local, 40% proof, fruit spirit.


Palinka poured – pests pissed.  That’s kinda how it went.

On the subject of local alcohol, allow me to continue…


“This is one of our fabulous wines!” said the local barman at the wine bar near the Basilica.

“What are you trying to say, mate?”


“I’ll take this, thank you. More my cup of tea,” I replied.


“What about this?”

Of course, me being me, I couldn’t leave that one alone.

“So…what is this exactly?”  I asked a young Hungarian girl nearby.  They don’t lie.

“Oh it is a herbal liquor. Very nice into your mouth and of beneficial medicinal purposes,”  she said, submissively.

Her male boss stood grinning from ear to ear in support.

“Really?  That old chestnut.  Listen, sweetheart,  I’ll be over there at the glühwein station so on your next break, pop over and come and have a chat with me and I’ll give you some worldly woman advice, yeah?”

…..I still bought some and had it with some coke last night.  She wasn’t far off point.

Anyway, my friend and I had heard of something in the vicinity called “Ruin Pubs” and well, since I’m constantly on the road to ruin….why not?

Let me tell you now these were the best thing since pour in the cup cappuccinos.  The first and most coolest Ruin Pub is called Szimpla Bar and the first one to up and at it and wow like Wonderland.  These are run down buildings in the Jewish quarter, an area that people never went to because it was heavily bombed in the war and turned into a bit of a dodgy dive. One day, a bright and entrepreneurial spark, decided to rent one of these vast buildings and turn it into a pub where creatives could meet.  It holds theatre, live music, artists, endless bars and funky rooms.  This place would never be allowed in my neck of the woods for health and safety reasons even though it’s normally the people that frequent the pubs where I live that are, in fact, the problem.  The place is decorated by the people who come here with art, graffiti, old computer monitors and furniture that people bring along.  There are even old cars outside to sit and have a cocktail in.  I bloody LOVED it.  Such a cool vibe and a real grown up Wonderland. The Jewish quarter is now the trendiest part of the city.  Let me show you:

IMG_0608The entrance…


Rules….blah, blah rules…nobody cares…


View from door…



Madness!  Let me in!



Live music kicking off..


I wanted to live here but that would not have been beneficial to my health.  One night proved such.

After ruin, a buffet breakfast and winter tea, we decided to get cultured.  A bit.


Great architecture.


Opera House.


Szechenyi Thermal Spa Baths in Budapest is one of the best and largest spa baths in Europe with its 15 indoor baths and 3 grand outdoor pools. From pool to pool to pool to…yeah you get the idea.  It was like Roman times.  Best one was outside and bubbling with people playing chess!  Awesome.


Buda and Pest are separated by the Blue Danube so off we went to the old town of Buda.


The castle.


Protective guards.  Of course I got a picture with them. Not as hard as the Buckingham Palace guards. Just sayin’.

Now some views from Buda to Pest..



20151201_141003Parliament Building.






And then off to Heroes’ Square:

The Millennium Monument in the middle of the square was erected to commemorate the 1000-year-old history of the Magyars. Archangel Gabriel stands on top of the centre pillar, holding the holy crown and the double cross of Christianity. The seven chieftains who led the Magyar tribes to Hungary can be seen on the stand below. Statues of kings and other important historical figures stand on top of the colonnades on either side of the centre pillar.

When the monument was originally constructed, Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and thus the last five spaces for statues on the left of the colonnade were reserved for members of the ruling Habsburg dynasty. The Habsburg emperors were replaced with Hungarian freedom fighters when the monument was rebuilt after World War II.







Time was spent at the many Christmas markets cos…well.  My favourite was at St Stephens Basilica – The way, the truth and the life. You can’t have bad wine here now, can you.




The Parliament Building is the second biggest in the world, outdone only by the biggest in Romania.  I waited until night time to get it in its full glory as it is lit up and incredibly magnificent…



As door lady of the world, I szimply had to take a few door shots..

20151203_140612 (1)




And wonderful moments and experiences fly into the sky of our memories.




Leave a reply

What a cultured place! Did they mention their great football team of 1953? I’ll make a note of the fact that you like ‘ard sex , Jules.

It is not wise to mention anyone thrashing England, Mr. Gorilla Bananas.

I’m not sure I follow…I simply took that to mean it was the stronger sex that could drink it, no? 🙂

Beautiful place Jules. Looks like it was a great visit. Great photos as always…and as always…Love the shots of the doors.

Thank you, Tracy. 🙂 Doors are my thing.

An exciting adventure, made more so by your vivid prose. And I think that it’s true – if you go to a bar replete with warnings of nuclear radiation when you go in, you are bound to have a very good time.

I’m glad that you gripped grappa and that grappa didn’t grip you.

Happy to bring you along for the ride, adventurous Sir.

It takes a lot to put me under, Larry. Maybe an tranquilliser dart. 🙂

Not tough at all to make you swoon…just drive a DB10 past. (Pavlovian response)

Haha! Touché my psychological playmate!
…you know two can play that game…right? 😉

Unicum the Transformer states that if you’re not part of the one, you’re part of the void. we better do what he says, he’s as big as a planet and a destroyer of realities. we should come together…*)

I think I might be part of the void and I’m happy to take on the destroyer of realities. Or drink it..*)

Wow. Not bad. Had you been before? That’s the beauty of living in England. You can pop off for just a few bob to a completely different culture. Different language, food, vibe. Here in the U.S. you can drive for four days, get out of the car and it looks exactly the same as when you started your journey. Nice pics. Especially the doors. I think you’re finally starting to catch on. Kind of hard to beat a week like that, innit? Subsequent weeks would seem ordinary or dull in comparison.

Nope, first time. I like first time adventures the bestest!

Yes, I’m incredibly fortunate to live in sunny England. As Ricky Gervais once said, “It’s like winning the lottery. Twice.” Great base to explore Europe, indeed. However, you can get to go to Hawaii or Bahamas etc and that takes me a lifetime to get to. Pros and cons. It’s high time they built a chunnel under the atlantic that goes at Mach1.

£136.00? Including a 4* Boutique Hotel, and not in the middle of nowhere? Way to go, Jules! Ha ha “My name is Attila.”Noooo kidding. Did you say, “spanking”? Yes, you did. Ha ha “Is that a euphemism?” This is not British humor. This is your special brand of Jules’s Wicked Smartness. That’s right. Now let me read on or this is gonna take forever.

So that Szimpla Bar is a pub where creatives meet, meaning you must’ve felt at home 100%, right? “It’s normally the people that frequent the pubs where I live that are, in fact, the problem.” I know what you mean. The same goes for movie theaters, restaurants and the office. There… is said it.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire… szimply sounds a bit like The Empire minus Jar Jar, which is good, unlike your shitty cold.

“I need a hug and yet would totally refuse one. Does anyone else get that?” Of course I do. I’m an empath. I care, Jules. You take good care of yourself, you hear.

I know! Bargain of the century goes to…drrrrrrrr. ME!
I say spanking a lot, I do. My wickedness knows no bounds.
I felt totally at home there it was magnificent in all it’s crazy splendour. I could have passed for live art. Szimpla Julesa!
Thank you my Blue empath and YOU too- you listening? Illegitimi non carborundum!

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