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A crash course in Budapest

Budapesters hardly ever use the big, coin-operated telephones and few use telephone cards any more. Everyone now uses cell phones. The card-operated phones speak in Hungarian and English and accept the phone cards that are sold at newsagents around town. The proper way to ask for one is “Kérek egy telefonkártyát” (Keeh-rek edy telefon-kaahr-tyaaht). Then comes the inevitable question about the type, since they come in different denominations. Find your way out of this by writing down the value of the type of card you want. GSM providers all have roaming partners abroad. If your phone does not automatically shift to your own provider, it is worth trying to adjust it manually to keep your bill down.

A crash course in Budapest

(V. Dorottya utca 9., T: 318-6441, open Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed noon to 12:30) You will notice that some addresses are given with the district number in Roman numerals first, and some with a fourdigit postcode in Arabic numerals. For speedier delivery, the latter should be used. The correct way to address an envelope in Hungary is:

Internet, WIFI If you don’t have a laptop or an Internet-ready phone, Café Vakvarjú (VI. Paulay Ede utca 7.) is a huge café and restaurant with some desktops for Internet access. (See Walk Four.) Another option is Café Gerlóczy (V. Gerlóczy utca 1.) or Farger (V. Zoltán utca 18., corner of Szabadság tér). In most of the Libri Bookshops there is Internet (not free), notably at I. Batthyány tér, on the upper level of the Market Hall. There are dozens of smaller places, and new ones are always appearing. WIFI is free in many places. Some nicer place include: A38 ship, Danube, Buda end of Petőfi híd Café Dumas, I. Fő utca 17. (Institut Francais) Café Eklektika, VI. Nagymező 30. California Coffee Company, VI. Teréz körút 38. Discover Hungary, VI. Lázár utca 16. Café Dunapark, XIII. Pozsonyi út 38. (See Walk Five) Spinoza Ház, VII. Dob utca 15. Café Stex Ház, VIII. József körút 55-57. (See Walk Five) Sark, VII. Klauzál tér 14.

Addresses & letters Everyone thinks that bigger post offices are quicker because they have more staff. They do, but they are also busier and queues are longer than at the smaller post offices. Since our walks begin at Vörösmarty tér, note the side street (Dorottya utca) at the northern end of the square where Post Office No. 51 is located.

PARK_Budapest_belivek_v065.indd 26-27


KOVÁCS JÁNOS BUDAPEST King Kong utca 6. 1054

The logic of the postcode is that “1” indicates that the address is in Budapest, the next two digits indicate the Budapest district, and the final digit indicates the sorting number. This address would translate as 6 King Kong street, in the fifth district.

Districts and neighbourhood names Budapest has 23 districts, which are traditionally signified using Roman numbers before the street name. On street signs you will also notice that neighbourhood names are written. Smaller districts have one or two neighbourhoods, while some bigger ones have dozens. Some are very poetic, especially in Buda. District II consists of 31 neighbourhoods, which include names like “Hermit Garden Town” (Remetekertváros) and Pashas’ Field (Pasarét). To use these neighbourhood names is increasingly fashionable among younger intellectuals. Some use them on their business cards in a hyphenated form: Budapest-Pasarét, or Budapest-Lipótváros.

Money The forint (Ft or HUF) became the Hungarian currency in August 1946 after a period of extremely high inflation was brought to an end. January 1997 was a historic date in the modernisation of Hungary: the forint became freely convertible, making life much easier for Hungarians going abroad and for everyone visiting us. Most Hungarian people seriously think that Hungarian paper

2011.04.20. 15:49:05

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András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

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