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“It is a culinary desert. One Michelin star does not bring the spring!” That is a ridiculous opinion, in the light of the improvements of the last ten years. There are two dozen remarkable places worth visiting, in every price category. The problem is, rather, consistency: a serious one, no doubt. The gourmet public opinion especially singles out the following restaurants, any of which could earn a star or two in the coming years: Fausto’s, Csalogány26, Bock and Olimpia. “Corruption is up to our chin”. Unfortunately, this can’t be denied. Analysts say that it is a very serious problem that robs the Hungarian economy of some of its dynamism, and nurtures anti-democratic sentiments and extremism. They add that while there is corruption everywhere, here both the quantity and the quality is different. Particularly the latter is remarkably damaging: in most European countries the corruption serves to get the commission, but the companies do a complete job afterwards. The nastiest character of corruption in Hungary is that here the highest bidder can get the job, irrespective of capabilities, then the lousy work brings additional costs for the public purse. “There seems to be more homelessness in the centre of Budapest than in any major city of Europe”. It is difficult to deny that this phenomenon is relatively new and very annoying for residents and tourists alike. There are not just beggars, but a high number of homeless people sleeping in public spaces day and night. It is a kind of hypocrisy mixed with human rights extremism that prevents action. Maybe the extra support for specialised foundations and more shelters would be the first step. Legal barriers can only come afterwards. “Budapest is not on the cultural trail.” That is not true, not any more. For many years the Budapest Spring Festival was the period when world stars of higherend culture came to Budapest. But since 2004, when the Palace of Arts opened, there is a sort of continuous festival here. The appointment of the present directors at the Museum of Fine Arts, Kunsthalle/Műcsarnok and Ludwig Museum have also made a marked change.

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7 Places for an Affluent CanadaBased Uncle, Who Wants to Impress His Adolescent Sweetheart After 50 years, in One Single Day Hotel Gresham Palace Four Seasons – The Café In a building named after the founder of the London Exchange (see his portrait in gold on the middle of the façade), the café has a phenomenal riverfront view. It is possibly the glitziest hotel between Vienna and San Francisco. (V. Roosevelt tér 5., www.greshampalace.com) The Balcony of the József Pécsi Photography Library The fanciest building on the “Broadway of Pest” was built by a photographer in 1894. You can only enter the third floor balconies if you visit the library (closed weekends). Look for the fantastic paintings that represent the six fictitious Muses of Photography. (VI. Nagymező utca 20., www.mainamo.hu) Uránia Cinema This cinema is partly Venetian Gothic and partly Oriental Moorish, and it was most likely completed in 1894. (VIII. Rákóczi út 21., www.urania-nf.hu) The Tower of the Elephant House As part of an exotic diplomatic story, the tower of the Elephant House was pulled down in 1917 because Turkey saw it as a parody of a minaret and protested. In the late-1990s the Hungarian Landmark authority had it rebuilt. (XIV. Állatkerti körút 6., www.zoobudapest.com) Tom-George A trendy and expensive Italian place, to see and to be seen, it’s a perfect place for applied people watching. You will see early-career business people, and artsy folks with some of the most beautiful women in town. (V. Budapest, Október 6. utca 8., www.tomgeorge.hu) Box of the General Director, State Opera House His large box, for eight people, is to the right of the stage on the stage level. Opposite, there is a similar one, which is at the disposal of the Minister of Culture. This is one of the greatest opera houses in Europe. (VI. Andrássy út 22., www.opera.hu)

2011.04.20. 15:50:11

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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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