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Published: April 22nd 2006
Friday morning was shopping morning, dedicated to picking up a few Hungarian essentials including paprika (the real stuff), Unicum, and some art work from the first half of the 20th century.
Of course any Hungarian items like these can be found at the Market Hall down by the Danube but we were keen to venture somewhere new and less touristy.
We checked out a few places - none of which were quite what we were after (or weren’t open at the time), but did discover an intriguing artistic part of the city.
If you are ever in the market for some antique furniture check out the incredible collection at Pinter (10 Falk Miska Utca, in the V district), and venture into any of the side streets around that area. As with Pinter, the modest exterior can belie a massive labyrinth of rooms full of treasure.
There are constant reminders of the communist uprising in the area, with many buildings still peppered with the holes from machine gun fire. There’s a great memorial to this across from the Parliament buildings, where the bullet holes have been replaced with brass balls the size of tennis balls, which the locals use
as handholds for climbing the stairs.
Dinner date was with the Rippel’s (www.rippelbrothers.com), Hungary’s famous (and slightly freakish) acrobatic family. Mum and dad married in the circus over 40 years ago when they were acrobats, and their two sons continue in the same vein performing quite extraordinary feats of strength and balance to audiences around the world. They are currently planning for their 6th world record, inspired by a trip on the flying fox at Gravity Canyon (www.gravitycanyon.co.nz) when they visited NZ in 2004. this next wrold record will cost E$1m and shut down some major streets either side of the Danube in Budapest. You’ll have to stay tuned to their website to find out more.
As usual the evening was filled with fine food and drink, and crappy old jokes that have been recycled for over 40 years, and strangely in Hungary an off bottle of sake, but not so strangely a bottle of wine from Lake Balaton.
Spending an evening with a Hungarian family like this, no matter how much time they may spend apart shows you just how important the family unit is in this part of the world…something that anyone could appreciate, and
hopefully even learn from.
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