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Going Out Budapest as a Museum Much of Budapest is still like a big open-air museum. So going for a walk, in whatever direction, can be most enjoyable if you are open for adventure. There is a curious old-fashioned quality to most of the streets outside of the tourist areas. Budapest remains a largely un-segregated city, so you still can’t tell what kind of people live behind the façades. If you bought this book back home (in the Tattered Cover in Denver, or Powell’s in Portland, or Kramerbooks in Washington DC, or the Triangle Bookshop in London, or the Athenaeum Boekhandel in Amsterdam) and have read the “Crash Course” in your own armchair, then you will already have your pair of binoculars. If not, you can still buy a cheap pair at one of the flea markets. Then you can start your fieldwork in what I call “applied people watching”. Take a close look at Budapest’s balconies. Most people who store stuff there are oblivious of the fact that their stuff is not hidden. A family’s balcony is as much of a telltale sign of its values and tastes as its rubbish is, but the balcony is easier to see. The very rich have already left Budapest, but in the urban jungle of quickly gentrifying Pest there are tens of thousands of middle class people who like it here – especially since locals can park for free (thanks to the parking revolution). That is the situation in Pest, the big openair museum where I have lived all of my life. After all, “nothing ever happens in Buda”. That is to say, theatres, cafés and most of the cinemas are in Pest. Buda is mostly residential, except for the museums in the Castle.

The Small Museum Experience In all of Budapest’s museums, big and small, elderly ladies work as underpaid attendants. But in the small ones, one often finds a pleasantly peculiar small-town quality. Budapest’s small museums are characterized by their attendants who have a sort of personal pride and go out of their way to show visitors

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2011.04.20. 15:50:09

Profile for Andras Török

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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