Walking Budapest in the rain

December 8, 2014

rainy bldg archWe arrived in Budapest on a dull grey, overcast day, a day that made it easy to remember that Hungary was once safely tucked behind the Iron Curtain. Does any generation besides ours know about the Iron Curtain? About the Cold War?

On our way in we saw some deteriorating, Cold War-era apartments ….and on the next block window washers dressed as Santa Claus hanging from the eighth floor. Times have changed.


Hotel lobby

When we arrived at the beautiful Kempinski Hotel Corvinus, our time travel was complete. Its luxury would have been unheard of in the old days of the Communist regime.

Our hotel lounge.

Our hotel lounge.

This is an inviting and beautiful lounge. Love love love it.

Some of our room.

Some of our room.


Our hotel restaurant.


On the staircase door outside our room.

maze from rm

View from our 7th floor window.

bulldog facing

This guest was so friendly to me!

He jumped up on my legs, very cute!


Seriously delicious on offer at breakfast

Breakfast. Where I had to defend our table from marauding Hungarians and in the process made friends with a Scottish couple who cheered me on.

paper flower

Made completely of paper and hanging in our hotel lobby. More intricate than this small photo shows.


Candy looks more interesting in a foreign language. in hotel gift shop.

I’m not sure any of this would’ve had a snowball in hell’s chance of existence in the Budapest of the 1950s and 1960s.


Doesn’t this remind you of t-shirts with English phrases but made in foreign lands? The ones that make no sense?

There is something a little off about this saying…perhaps it sounds better in Hungarian. It rhymes, so someone thinks they are a poet. Rose are red…

We found a display of these in our cab.

We found a display of these in our cab.

Oh, before I forget, let’s rewind a minute…our taxi cab had its own magazine rack with these glossy beauties.  A cool format smaller than 8.5 x 11 inches. The driver was solicitous and polite. So unheard of in the U.S. I can tell you for certain that our nasty Silicon Valley cab drivers wouldn’t have a chance here.

Elvis tributeAnd these promotional flyers for an Elvis tribute and other December activities  were tucked into the same display.

Sorry! Back to the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus.

A huge Christmas market was lit up in progress nearby, we could see it from our seventh-floor window. It looked so cool at night.

Mkt night from rm Exhaustion prevented us from exploring until the very next day.  When it was pouring rain for the first few hours of our exploration. So much for my winter wonderland fantasy of snow, red cheeks and sleigh rides. Walking Budapest in the rain was not part of it.

Budapest-sightseeingBut, we had to go sightseeing –even in the rain.

Oh, it was POURING.

Oh, it was POURING.

ornate darkWearing gloves, holding an umbrella and dodging others’ umbrellas and the Christmas market crowd, it was almost impossible to get photos of the beautiful buildings in the rain and grey.

.stripeBut the architecture was so interesting, I gave it a try.

statue on bldgSculpture is very big on buildings.

blg statuesSometimes it looks like it’s holding the building up.

old bldg budaOn this dreary day, many of the historical buildings looked like creepy asylums. But, here comes a world we know much better:

A restaurant that rivals any in San Francisco.

A restaurant that rivals any in San Francisco.

The modern world co-exists with history in Budapest.

smoking areaWell, sort of.

Eastern Europeans love to smoke.

Eastern Europeans love to smoke.

smoking in budaWe saw less of this in Budapest than we expected. Maybe because of the rain.

Bank of China going upLike anyplace else, change is afoot. Later, we walked by again and saw the finished product.

Bank of China doneOf course. Brand new.

A place Riley might have enjoyed.

A place Riley might have enjoyed.

natural stuff dm

Europeans have been decades ahead of us on natural stuff.

Drug stores are different from pharmacies. This is a drug store called dm.
Budap Xmas Fair sign
I was glad to get this photo of the Christmas market sign because when we came back by a few hours later, these were standing in front of it, blocking our view.

potties bu
These portable johns are a step up from our flimsy ones. America, take heed!

Buda fair goersNeither rain nor rain….throngs of people at the Christmas market.

Buda honey boothA Christmas market is like a fair, with merry-go-rounds, food booths and lots of little stalls offering goods like honey, Christmas ornaments and hand crafts that make wonderful gifts. It’s very festive. and for this post, I’ll just walk you through some of the booths we saw and goods on offer.

Buda candlesSome of the goods were hand-made, others not so much.

Buda booth 1Hungarian is so different from languages I’m used to.

Buda music boxOur gift to ourselves. This tiny wind-up music box plays Silent Night.

buda jnlsBeautiful blank journals.

I loved this.

I loved this.

hats budaHats were very big.

Buda wood toysOld-fashioned wooden toys.

cahnge pursesCute little change purses.

ornamentsThese stalls went on for blocks and blocks.

booth4Let’s not forget the merry-go-round.

buda merry goAnd of course, street performers were in evidence. The rain may have kept most away, but a few hardy souls gave us their best.

Have you ever seen a guy playing waterglasses? Watch this and you can say you have.

Walking Budapest in the rain turned out to be fun! We spent several hours out enjoying the festivities, and then walked back to our hotel, nearly getting run over by this pedicab:

Holy moley, there are children around!

Holy moley, there are children around!

26 comments on “Walking Budapest in the rain
  1. ryder ziebarth says:

    Beautiful! You are a good tourist to push on through the rain. I would like a bag of raspberry jelly beans to keep me going on such a cold day; and I loved how the water glass musician added a drop of water to one glass, to keep his instrument pitch-perfect. How was Nobu in such a far away city?

  2. Oh you just put ants in my pants for Budapest. Looks cozy and cool.

  3. Ellen Dolgen says:

    This was wonderful! David and I were supposed to go to Budapest this year. Our trip was all planned, but then his brother was being honored at UCLA Neurology for his courageous efforts after his stroke. His brother understood we had planned to go for 6 months, but frankly, I couldn’t go. There is only the two of them…I felt Budapest will always be there…so we cancelled our trip. Now you have me wanting to rebook for next year. It looks as fantastic as everyone says.They say it is the Paris of Eastern Europe.

  4. Carolann says:

    Wow it surely looks like you guys are having a blast. Love the photos! I’ve never thought to visit there until now! Continue your journey in safety and fun! Looking forward to more pics!

  5. Laura says:

    Oh those hats would have tempted me to bankruptcy! I know the cold rain was probably miserable but the light is perfect and shows off the beautiful buildings.

  6. Ellen Gray says:

    Loved this post – heading to Budapest and Prague in 2 weeks.
    Any other recommendations?

    Happy Holidays!

  7. Oh, I’ve always wanted to see Budapest and its markets. I’ve heard it is one of the most beautiful cities behind the old “iron curtain”. I doubt our kids would know what that was, the wall came down in what, 1990? The year my son was born.

  8. Haralee says:

    Great pictures. The gray day just makes it all look more dramatic. More please…

  9. Even in the rain it loves beautiful. One of the many places I hope to go someday. Looking forward to more!

  10. Ruth Curran says:

    I have been dreaming about going to the Christmas markets and you just fueled that desire to go even more! I so love the guy playing the water glasses. And I hope you left your case of emergency at home – that sign cracked me up! The yogurt, the hats, the sights and sounds…. Love, love, love this! Thank you!

  11. Thank you for the extensive sharing of your visit. So much to comment on!

    That gal in red in the market photo looks rather unhappy to be there.

    The architecture is AMAZING!

    Your room is lovely.

    Marauding Hungarians? I want to hear more.

    And… I’d love to know why Budapest was on your must-see list. It’s incredible, but what made you choose to visit?

    • I had heard Budapest was the “Paris of the east” and “one of the most beautiful cities in the world”. But I waa actually drawn to being at the Christmas markets, not Budapest itself. So that was a surprise.

  12. Lana says:

    Such a fun tour! Budapest is on my places to visit some day. Glad you trouped on through the rain!

  13. Ines Roe says:

    What a fascinating trip this must be. The photos are amazing showing the amazing contrast in the city between what was and what is. It is really fascinating to see the development of a country that was under communist control for so long – even if it is in the reain

  14. WendysHat says:

    What a wonderful trip! I’d love to go and visit there one day too. I love all those hats!

  15. Hey Carol! Looks like you are having fun in spite of the rain. The photos make it seem just like we are right there with you! Keep them coming! ~Kathy

  16. All places that you define in this it is so interesting like that all that give me ideas for the more places to visit. https://harrypottermusicbox.com

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